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Intelligence, control and the artificial mind Print E-mail
Sunday, 14 February 2010

Artificial intelligence (AI) seems to be at an impasse. The old vision of AI which started as the search for a computer-based approximation of the human mind is not delivering. The initial hype opened the door to ample criticism following failures to fulfill some bold predictions. Cognitive systems research (CSR) has replaced AI at the forefront of this research programme. But CSR is really just a new name for the same set of objectives, designed to elude the tag of failure. The problem with this programme may not be in the methods but in the naïve conceptualizations that have driven and are still driving the research.

Full reference: PerAda Magazine (2010) 938–946
Link: Web Article
A PDF version can be downloaded here.

Last Updated ( Friday, 19 February 2010 )
Consciousness, Meaning and the Future Phenomenology Print E-mail
Sunday, 14 February 2010

Phenomenological states are generally considered sources of intrinsic motivation for autonomous biological agents. In this paper we will address the issue of exploiting these states for robust goal-directed systems. We will provide an analysis of consciousness in terms of a precise definition of how an agent “understands” the informational flows entering the agent. This model of consciousness and understanding is based in the analysis and evaluation of phenomenological states along potential trajectories in the phase space of the agents. This implies that a possible strategy to follow in order to build autonomous but useful systems is to embed them with the particular, ad-hoc phenomenology that captures the requirements that define the system usefulness from a requirements-strict engineering viewpoint.

Event: Machine Consciousness 2011
Link: MC 2011
A PDF version can be downloaded here.

Last Updated ( Friday, 08 April 2011 )
Some Questions on Mind Theory Print E-mail
Saturday, 28 February 2009
Jaime Gomez
Ricardo Sanz

In the past formal and abstract models have attempted to shed light on the topics of the Mind and Brain, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. This has created a vast proliferation of information, which is currently lacking any one dominant model for understanding the mental processes. The Journal of Mind Theory we are trying to create is an attempt to tackle these problems.

The journal’s aim is to consolidate and explore these formal and abstract tools for modeling cognitive phenomena, creating a more cohesive and concrete formal approach to understanding the mind/brain, striving for precision and creating clarity in this topic of interest.

What follows is a list of questions by Jaime Gomez (JG) and answers from Ricardo Sanz (RS) on these issues.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 28 February 2009 )
Rethinking Education Print E-mail
Tuesday, 24 February 2009
We -my university, my school, my department- are now immersed in the storm of the redefinition of grades, titles and other heterogeneous papers concerning education in the European Education Bologna's landscape.

In a sense, waves of change are opportunities to clean, redefine and make target in new educational objectives, getting rid of bad habits and arthritic practices from the past. However, in the Spanish context, this is happening without any renovation on the human teams that are going to perform this change.

The question simply is:

Who can expect that content change will happen in the hands of professors that have been teaching the same post-WWII doctrine during the last 30 years ?

Who can really expect that the focus on new educational practices -e.g. project-based leaning- can be driven by professors that stopped doing any real work 20 years ago ?

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 February 2009 )
Explaining Religion Print E-mail
Tuesday, 24 February 2009
I have recently received from a friend and believer an excerpt of one of his favorite documents from the early catholic church: A Letter to Diognetus.

This is an anonymous letter written about 150 A.D. The author is describing early Christians to a distinguished and noble pagan gentleman (in some places it is said that the author is not anonymous but Mathetes).

The author of the letter writes,

“The Christians are distinguished from others neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe, for they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a particular form of speech. They follow the customs of the citizens of whatever country they inhabit in regard to clothes, or food, or the rest of their ordinary conduct."

Indeed I received the text of this Letter to Diognetus from my friend in an attempt to explain me what makes a believer different from a person that practices an ethics that is externally indistinguishable from that of the believer.

However, Diognetus's letter, considered just beautiful in some aesthetical scales, is pretty clear in this particular point: "you must not hope to learn the mystery of their peculiar mode of worshipping God from any mortal".

In a word, do not expect that they will be able to explain themselves.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 February 2009 )
On Women and Ghosts Print E-mail
Monday, 23 February 2009
I have recently been talking with some of my colleagues that are catholic believers in a desire to clarify some of the issues that they claim to believe. Unfortunately, I have failed in making them understand the absurdity of their beliefs and they have failed in making me believe in this stuff.

So I think it is the time for increasing boldness and give a stronger, more open word on the very nature of their beliefs.

Let's start today with a quote of the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

485 The mission of the Holy Spirit is always conjoined and ordered to that of the Son. The Holy Spirit, "the Lord, the giver of Life", is sent to sanctify the womb of the Virgin Mary and divinely fecundate it, causing her to conceive the eternal Son of the Father in a humanity drawn from her own.
and a brief comment on this.

Catholics believe that ghosts -however holy- can make women pregnant.

Incredible :-O

Women .... Shiver!

Last Updated ( Monday, 23 February 2009 )
Professing the Professor Print E-mail
Wednesday, 19 November 2008

My students, as most sane people do, enjoy reading comics that make jokes from their very own activity. Laughing at oneself helps keep the feet on the ground.

A very interesting place is PhDComics where PhD students can see themselves as-of-the-real-thing-is.

A recent comic analyses the very role of the professor: to profess.

I have been pondering around for some time, the nature of knowledge and in particular the nature of scientific knowledge. In the desire for a scientific approach to our dwelling in the world, I usually criticise religious positions as lacking any hint of reasonableness. Some of my believing colleagues tried to make a remark on this position: science is another form of religion.

Obviously it is not for any sensible definition or "religion" and "science"; but in any case, a question remains: is it necessary to have a minimal dose of unjustified belief to build a mind upon?

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 November 2008 )
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