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The Role of AI in the Paradigm Shift towards Enaction

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Title: The Role of AI in the Paradigm Shift towards Enaction


1
The Role of AI in the Paradigm Shift towards
Enaction
  • Life and Mind seminar 2
  • Tom Froese

2
Overview
  • Cognitivism
  • Embodied-Embedded Cognitive Science
  • Enactivism
  • Beyond?

3
The major transitions of cognitive science
Varela (1999)
4
Cognitivism
  • Cognition is taken to be essentially a form of
    centralized problem solving in the form of
    logical inference through abstract symbol
    manipulation.
  • Mind and world are conceived of as fundamentally
    distinct. Hence, the need for representations.
  • The body is conceptualized as an input/output
    device, the environment as a domain for problem
    solving.
  • Connectionism cognition as less centralized.

5
Symbolic AI
  • The commonsense knowledge problem
  • The move beyond toy worlds leads to a
    combinatorial explosion of representations and
    rules needed for cognitive behavior.
  • The frame problem
  • How does an abstract symbol processor determine
    what is relevant to its current situation?
    Infinite regress of symbol structures.
  • The cognitivist mainstream (and its Cartesian
    assumptions) have been put to the test.

6
Nouvelle AI
  • Following Brooks, the field looked for new
    directions
  • Situatedness a robot does not deal with abstract
    descriptions but with the world directly.
  • Embodiment a robot has a body in such a way that
    its actions form a dynamic with the world and
    have immediate feedback on its sensations.
  • Emergence the behavior of a robot emerges from
    its interactions with the world. It cannot be
    reduced to a particular part of the systemic
    whole.

7
Embodied-Embedded Cognitive Science
  1. Cognition is essentially fluid, flexible,
    real-time, context-sensitive, skillful, and
    adaptive coping.
  2. Cognition is a dynamical process which spans an
    extended brain-body-system.
  3. Cognition is a process which is embodied in an
    organism and embedded within a world.
  4. A cognitive agent is best understood and analyzed
    as a dynamical system.

8
A first paradigm shift
The Cartesian tradition
Cognitivism
Failure of symbolic AI / emergence of nouvelle AI
Embodied-Embedded Cognitive Science
9
The role of AI and robotics
  • It has provided the foundation for a lot of the
    conceptual developments.
  • In its role as a subversive science it was able
    to question and undermine the constitutive
    assumptions underlying cognitivism.
  • Philosophical stalemates could be resolved in the
    empirical domain of the cognitive sciences.

10
Towards a new dialectic
rational
empirical
rational
empirical
11
The Enactive Approach
  • More recently the paradigm shift has been moving
    towards an enactive perspective
  • Organisms are autonomous agents that actively
    generate and maintain their identities, and
    thereby enact or bring forth their own cognitive
    domains.
  • The nervous system is autonomous it actively
    generates and maintains its own coherent and
    meaningful patterns of activity according to its
    operation as an operationally closed system.

12
Organization of the living body Autopoiesis
13
Operational closure
Rudrauf, et al. (2003)
14
The Enactive Approach
  • Cognition, conceived fundamentally as
    meaning-generation, arises from the sensorimotor
    coupling between organism and environment.
    Cognition is a form of embodied action.
  • The organisms world is not a pre-specified,
    external realm somehow represented internally,
    but a relational domain enacted or brought forth
    by its autonomous agency and mode of coupling
    with the environment.
  • The organisms experiential awareness is a
    central feature of its lived embodiment in the
    world.

15
The problem of subjectivity
  • A central concern of enactivism is an improved
    understanding of subjectivity. It does this from
    2 complementary perspectives
  • Biological agency an autonomous system that
    produces and maintains its own identity.
  • Phenomenal agency non-intentional and
    pre-reflective, lived bodily self-awareness.
  • The explanatory gap is no longer absolute as
    both aspects of subjectivity make common
    reference to living being
  • The living body as object
  • The living body as subject

16
Towards a new dialectic?
rational
empirical
experiential
rational
empirical
17
The role of AI and robotics
  • Can we still say that this shift towards
    enactivism is driven by developments in AI and
    robotics?
  • How can its experimental results inform the
    experiential (phenomenological) component?
  • How can insights gained from the principled use
    of 1st person methodologies inform AI research?
  • Momentarily at least it appears that AI and
    robotics is trailing behind the shift towards
    enactivism.

18
A second paradigm shift?
The Cartesian tradition
Cognitivism
Failure of symbolic AI / emergence of nouvelle AI.
?
Embodied-Embedded Cognitive Science
Enactivism
19
The nature of the second shift
  • Just like the cognitivism, the enactivist
    paradigm necessarily has its own set of metaphors
    (e.g. dynamics) and constitutive assumptions
    (e.g. embodiment).
  • Both paradigms are based on distinct premises
    which therefore entail non-overlapping rational
    domains. Because of this there is a fundamental
    stalemate in the philosophical domain.
  • Since the stalemate cannot be resolved
    rationally, a paradigm shift cannot be induced by
    means of argument alone. In the end the stalemate
    has to be resolved in the empirical domain of the
    cognitive sciences.
  • But even empirical data has to be interpreted
    from a point of view. What determines which one
    we adopt for ourselves?

20
Two explanatory paths
Maturanas (1988) ontological diagram
21
The role of experience
Being-in-the-world
experiential
rational
empirical
All 3 domains do not only presuppose a background
of non-thematic skillful coping, but also one of
pre-reflective lived experience our way of
living/being.
22
The role of experience
Philosophical
Cognitivism
Empirical
Embodied-Embedded Cognitive Science
Experiential
Enactivism
23
Concluding remarks
  • It is clear that AI and robotics has contributed
    immensely to the shift towards embodied-embedded
    cognitive science.
  • It has done so by shifting the disputes from the
    philosophical domain to the empirical domain.
  • The next challenge for this field is to improve
    our understanding of agency. Is it possible to
    synthesize autonomous agents?
  • Nevertheless, a shift towards an enactive
    cognitive science appears to require shifting the
    dispute from the philosophical and empirical
    domains to the experiential domain.
  • Open question What are the consequences?
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