Mind and Machine


Course Objective

To introduce the students to the basic principles of brain modelling,
artificial intelligence, and brain computer interfacing, discussing the
practical applications as well as the ethical, moral, and philosophical

Specifically, at the end of the course the student should be able to:
1. explain the meaning of key concepts treated in the course and to give
examples of where key concepts are already applied (services or
2. describe most commonly used forms of, as well as recent trends in,
brain modeling, AI and BCI as discussed in the course.
3. reproduce the underlying principles of brain modelling, AI and BCI at
the level discussed in the course.
4. develop, present and defend a business proposal, i.e., an idea for a
product or service that exploits the technologies and concepts presented
in the course.
5. formulate a scientifically informed opinion about the ethical aspects
of AI and BCI.

Course Content

What is intelligence and what is unique about human intelligence? People
have always been fascinated with the idea to create intelligent
computers and robots and to integrate computers in the brain to enhance
its performance. In recent years these technologies have become so
advanced that they become more and more present in our daily live, from
the personal assistant in your smart phone, to smart software in
self-driving cars, to portable EEG headsets. Many see this as the start
of a new era where smart machines will be completely integrated in our
society, taking over many tasks and services now still done by humans.
More dystopian views on the integration of human and machine are shown
in science fiction films and series like Terminator 3 and Black Mirror.
This has led to the realization that intelligence is not unique to
humans but can exist in machines, and forces us to reflect on whether
computers could ever reach or surpass human level intelligence, or merge
with biological brains, and if the brain can be of inspiration to
improve Artificial Intelligence (AI).

In this course, the basic principles of brain inspired artificial
intelligence, realistic computer simulations of the brain, and
brain-computer interfacing will be discussed. To investigate one of
these topics in more detail students work in groups to start their own
virtual start-up company and prepare a business proposal in which they
describe a new commercial application of artificial intelligence or
brain computer interfacing. The business project is presented to peers
and a reviewer during a poster session at the end of the course. In
addition, students will gain hands-on experience in computer practicals
and an EEG-based neurofeedback competition, and discuss the ethical,
moral, and philosophical aspects of artificial intelligence and
brain-computer-interfacing. Disclamer: this course is aimed at students
without a background in computer science or AI and, thus, will merely
cover some principles of AI. It is not a course on AI.

Teaching Methods

Lectures 35 hrs
Practicals 8 hrs
Business project 60 hrs

Method of Assessment

Exam 50%
Business project 40%
Discussion 10%

Weighted average of exam and business project need to be 5.5 or higher
to pass the course and cannot be compensated by the Discussion grade.


To be decided

Target Audience

All students with an interest in the computational abilities of the
brain and brain-imspired technology

Additional Information

Part of minor Brain and Mind.
This minor course requires a minimum of 25 participants to take place.
Central Academic Skills:
Think out of the box: imagination may push basic science into
applications and create business opportunities.

Recommended background knowledge

Two years of study at bachelor’s level.

General Information

Course Code AB_1060
Credits 6 EC
Period P3
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. L.N. Cornelisse
Examiner dr. L.N. Cornelisse
Teaching Staff dr. L.N. Cornelisse
dr. K. Linkenkaer Hansen

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Computer lab, Study Group, Lecture, Excursion