I’m a Berkeleyan: Nedu Anigbogu

Nedu Anigbogu sitting in a chair smiling

Nedu Anigbogu, a second-year undergraduate student, plans to major in cognitive science. (UC Berkeley photo by Brittany Hosea-Small)

“I was always a ‘why why why’ kid. It was cool to be like that, but it can get exasperating to people. I started using the internet when I was 7 or 8. Honestly, the internet was the best thing to come out for me because instead of bothering people with my questions, I could Google it and learn about things on my own.

As a thinker, I’ve always leaned toward using technology to find a simple solution to a problem. When I started as a student at UC Berkeley in 2017, everybody was telling me that I should get a computer science degree. But I realized that a lot of computer science is very rigid, and I’ve always been more interested in finding a compromise between rigidity and creativity.

That’s why I’ve decided to major in cognitive science. The thing about cog sci is it’s interdisciplinary, so in addition to computer science classes, you get to take classes in other departments, like linguistics and psychology. And I will have the ability to work in more interdisciplinary fields, such as artificial intelligence or machine learning. I want our machines to be more predictable, to be more human-like, so they can help us by understanding what we want. But I think that if we reach a place of maximum comfort, we might become like the people in the movie Wall-E. If we reach a point where we don’t have to do anything for ourselves anymore, that’s a very scary prospect.

There are healthy sides and bad sides to everything. I don’t think any invention in the 21st century is going to be 100 percent good. That’s a balance that I think we need to figure out — between comfort and still making a life and being a human being in the world.”

This is part of a series of thumbnail sketches of people in the UC Berkeley community who exemplify Berkeley, in all its creative, scrappy, world-changing, quirky glory. Are you a Berkeleyan? Know one? Let us know. We’ll add your name to a drawing for an I’m a Berkeleyan T-shirt.