Recently a lot of people from the Life and Mind group got together during the PHITECHO 2013 seminar in Compiegne, France. The theme was “From perceptual interaction to extended cognition”.
You find videos of the talks on this website:
Below are videos of the talk and the subsequent discussion. If you watch the video of the talk, you may want to refer to this pdf of my slides as they are not always easily read in the video.
If you want to discuss or comment on the talk, this page of the Life and Mind Blog would be a good place to do so.
I will present a (very) new computational model of a cognitive system.
At the heart of the model is the notion that we (cognitive systems) tend to do what we did before, when we were in a similar situation in the past.
When this property is included in a dynamical model of an embedded cognitive system, self-maintaining patterns of behaviour emerge that involve (and depend upon) a wide variety of complicated interactions with environmental features. This occurs in the absence of any system of reward or punishment.
The control system in my model is based on the idea of an “Imprintable Dynamical System”, a new dynamical construct that is a little bit like “hebbian learning in state space”, but different. I will explain this construct in the talk.
The research is inspired by Gordon Pask’s “Ear”, the notion of autonomy as discussed by Varela and Maturana, and work on habits undertaken by Barandiaran, Di Paolo and others. It takes the idea of autonomy discussed in the biochemical domain (autopoiesis) and demonstrates how these ideas can be applied in the cognitive domain, showing how a robot doesn’t need to be autopoietic to be autonomous.
The model outlines a way of thinking about cognition that may help us to better understand forms of mental illness, addiction, repetitive behaviour, adaptive behaviour, autonomy and cognition.
Discussion after the presentation
Video of Victor Loughlin’s seminar on ‘The Extended Mind and Consciousness’
Title: The Extended Mind and Consciousness
Speaker: Victor Loughlin
Abstract: Where does my mind stop and the rest of the world begin? Can my conscious experience involve the environment around me? Exponents of the Extended Mind Thesis (EMT) argue that the mind can extend outside the body. One such exponent of EMT is Andy Clark. Clark argues that the machinery responsible for cognition can include objects in the environment but the machinery responsible for consciousness must, as a matter of empirical fact, remain brain bound. I will argue that Clark is correct to think that cognition can extend but wrong to deny extension for consciousness. By looking at two examples of EMT, I intend to show that one of these examples supports claims for consciousness extension. I will then examine some of Clark’s objections to consciousness extension and argue that these objections are not persuasive. I conclude that, in the example outlined, the machinery responsible for cognition and for conscious experience can extend outside the body.
To discuss or comment on this seminar, click here.
The Future of the Embodied Mind Summer School in San Sebastián was quite a success. For those who couldn’t attend, the school website provides videos of all talks, plus a video of short interviews to speakers, photos, summary of discussions and other information. Thanks to all participants for making this such a great event.
Next Monday we will have Nick Hockings present a Life and Mind seminar on:
Histology for Robot Engineers
Mon. 19th, Sept. 2010
Fulton Bldg. 109
An analysis of why robots constructed of rigid materials fail as biomimetic systems and as embodiment for lifelike intelligence.
This seminar: Examines histology as materials science underpinning biomechanics. Introduces the concept of ‘material embodiment’. Demonstrates that the body is not an assembly of parts, but a single fibro-elastic continuum, that uses hyper-elastic fiber-gels to achieve low friction dynamics and energy conservation. Presents a series of engineering proposals for how to build soft bodied robots with near human tactile sensation and dynamics.
Nick will be presenting this seminar at the Italian Institute of Technology, Genova on Wednesday, so all critique and feedback will be greatly appreciated.
Video and slides of the presentation are now on the Audio/Video page