At MIT, students are able to declare their major starting sometime during the spring term of their freshman year. I’m a fairly decisive person when it come to what I want to do, so I was dead confident that nothing was going to keep me from declaring Computation and Cognition. MIT
As human brains increasingly interact with technology that mimics their own capabilities, the need for students to understand both the science and engineering of intelligence continues to grow as well. Addressing these challenges will require a deeper understanding of how the brain produces intelligent behavior and how we may be able to replicate intelligence in machines.
6-9 is an interdisciplinary major between the Course 6 (Electrical Engineering + Computer Science) and Course 9 (Brain + Cognitive Sciences) departments. I think artificial intelligence is cool, and I think brains are cool. Declaring 6-9 would be ✨perfect✨ for what I wanted.
When my student advisor suggested taking 9.00—Introduction to Psychological Science—to figure out whether I wanted to do 6-9 or Computer Science and Engineering I thought I didn’t even need to consider the chance that I would ever stray away from 6-9. But I also wanted take a class on psychological science, so I registered for it as my Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. All MIT undergraduates need to complete the HASS requirement, which is made up of eight subjects of at least nine units each. class this spring semester.
I like 9.00 a lot! It’s no surprise, since I like learning about ~brain things~ and there was a time when I thought that I was going to go into neuroscience. But I was becoming a little more unsure about majoring in 6-9. Wasn’t really sure why I was feeling that way, since the obvious option is to major in something I liked to learn about.
It wasn’t until I came across this article by The Tech that my feelings made more sense:
Possible answer: At some point, I found the intricacies of machines more interesting than humans, and the same goes for machine intelligence and human intelligence. Not that I hate humans or anything.
Even though there doesn’t seem to be a big difference between 6-9 and the proposed Artificial Intelligence + Decision-making curriculum, the quote below addresses a subtle one, and that was creating the ambivalent feelings I had.
Though 6-4 may seem similar to 6-9, Kaelbling noted that their fundamental difference is that 6-4 is related to AI, whereas 6-9 is related to humans.
As of now, 6-4 isn’t officially listed as a major. It’s still going through the approval process, so it wasn’t included in the Choice of Major form that my advisors sent me a few days ago. Fingers crossed that it gets approved.
In the meantime, I officially declared 6-3 so I could get a Course 6 advisor. Even though I could’ve also declared 6-9 and then switch my major later, I think my interests overall have drifted away from 6-9 and closer to 6-3 if I had to choose between those two majors alone. I think both majors are really neat, I'm not considering being a double major at the moment, but that's also an option. It’s just that my preferences and interests have changed, and that happens a lot at MIT and college in general.
Maybe I’ll stick with 6-4 if it becomes approved. Or, I might look back on this post someday and be like, “HAHAHA you fool. You seriously thought that you were going to stick with that forever?” And if that happens, then that’s okay, too. But I’m glad that I listened to my student advisor’s advice and took a class to explore possible choices for my major.
Also, why am I interested in AI? Because stuff like this can happen.
- Computation and Cognition. MIT back to text ↑
- Computer Science and Engineering back to text ↑
- Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. All MIT undergraduates need to complete the HASS requirement, which is made up of eight subjects of at least nine units each. back to text ↑
- I'm not considering being a double major at the moment, but that's also an option. back to text ↑