Zygmunt Vetulani

Polish computational linguist

Zygmunt Władysław Vetulani (born September 12, 1950) is a Polish mathematician and computer scientist, professor of technical sciences, professor at Adam Mickiewicz University.


  • A man who crosses the street must be careful not to be hit by a car, even if the car is an automatic vehicle without a driver, because the car is stronger than a man. We should be afraid of devices that function in a dangerous way for us. The robot will become such a device if we manage to equip it not so much in intelligence as in mechanisms imitating the effects of a certain human functionality. I mean equipping robots with mechanisms that function in a similar way to consciousness of existence and the instinct of self-preservation of a human being. I do not mean to say that the device will be conscious, but that its behavior will be similar to the behavior of a rational unit, such as a man aware of his existence. The machine will not receive consciousness, but it will behave as if it did.
    • Tumiłowicz, Bronisław (February 2018): Zrób sobie mózg. Przegląd (6/2018): pp. 58–59.
  • The fact that a computer player wins a game of chess or bridge with a human does not necessarily mean that the device is intelligent. The victory results from the fact that in the final analysis the device has been applied appropriate algorithms developed by man, e.g. using the properties of artificial neural networks. It is not the device that wins with a man, e.g. a chess player, but a man – the designer of the device. It is simply the rivalry of one intellect with another through the medium of computer science.
    • Tumiłowicz, Bronisław (February 2018): Zrób sobie mózg. Przegląd (6/2018): pp. 58–59.
  • How does artificial intelligence refer to social relationships – for example, the functioning of one or another political system? Well, the evolution of the world is not a closed and completed process. For sure, we are awaiting a change in social relations due to moving of the labor market, especially as a result of transferring the burden of performing various activities on the devices. The invention of machines during the English Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries resulted in mass strikes and revolts, because many workers were afraid that they would be replaced by the machines. The societies has somehow coped with it. Will they defend themselves in the situation of the next step towards the automation of everything? It's an open matter.
  • Various threats come along with the development of information technologies. Connecting people with machines, such a cyborgization of societies, creates a new type of threats – such threats that bring us back a little bit to the Orwellian universe of Nineteen Eighty-Four, in which someone gets very strong tools to control everything. If every human being will be appropriately chipped and our nervous systems, or even our minds, will be incorporated into a global network – one can imagine that sooner or later someone would like to take these technological possibilities in order to get some unprecedented concentration of power and domination. The possibilities of direct physical control may be created, especially if we are connected to a network in a way that interferes with the structure of our nervous system – then we can imagine different possibilities of exerting direct influence. For now, this is the field of speculation.
  • In some individual actions a very high level of simulation was achieved, e.g. in chess or Go. However, we are still very far from being able to model all human behaviors, even very primitive ones. The number of decisions made every day turns out to be so huge that it will take a long time until a device capable of dealing with all the problems, a device of which actions would be indistinguishable from human ones, will be created. We cannot predict if and when this will happen, because from previous experience it appears that no forecast in this area managed to meet the reality.
    • Tumiłowicz, Bronisław (February 2018): Zrób sobie mózg. Przegląd (6/2018): pp. 58–59.

About Zygmunt VetulaniEdit

  • My cousin Zygmunt found a distant relative in Italy, Professor Vettolani, who works as an astrophysicist in Bologna. When we contacted him, it turned out that our family traditions are quite compatible. So I think we are really connected by Etruscan blood. Although Zygmunt, who is a tireless researcher of family history, has several other theories about our origins. It turns out that in Italy there were two, no longer existing, settlements called Vetulani: one in Lazio, and the other in Tuscany, near Pisa.

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