About

Dr Ryan Burnell is a Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge, working in the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence. He is also serving as the Student Caucus President for the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition.

Ryan’s research sits at the intersection of cognitive psychology and artificial intelligence, where he is working to apply our understanding of human cognition to the design and evaluation of AI systems.

AI systems are being deployed in increasingly important and complex contexts, from autonomous driving to the detection of medical conditions. The potentially devastating consequences of system failures in these contexts highlight the importance of developing robust methods for evaluating AI capabilities.

Therefore, Ryan is working to develop a comprehensive framework for evaluating the cognitive capabilities of AI systems, drawing on theories and paradigms from cognitive, developmental, and comparative psychology. This framework will help researchers, governments, and organisations monitor and regulate the progress of AI. More information about this work can be found here.

Ryan completed his PhD in cognitive psychology in 2021 at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. His PhD work focused on understanding the adaptive and maladaptive effects people’s memories have on their thinking and behaviour. His work has been featured in popular outlets such as The Atlantic, the Telegraph, and the BBC.