Consciousness, Action Selection, Meaning And Phenomenic Anticipation
Friday, 19 February 2010
Ricardo Sanz, Carlos Hernández, And M. G. Sánchez-Escribano
International Journal of Machine Consciousness

Phenomenal states are generally considered the ultimate sources of intrinsic motivation for autonomous biological agents. In this article, we will address the issue of the necessity of exploiting these states for the design and implementation of robust goal-directed artificial 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 and its very own action possibilities. This abstract model of consciousness and understanding will be based in the analysis and evaluation of phenomenal states along potential future trajectories in the state space of the agents. This implies that a potential strategy to follow in order to build autonomous but still customer-useful systems is to embed them with the particular, ad hoc phenomenality that captures the system-external requirements that define the system usefulness from a customer-based, requirements-strict engineering viewpoint.


RICARDO SANZ, CARLOS HERNÁNDEZ, and M. G. SÁNCHEZ-ESCRIBANO, Int. J. Mach. Conscious. 04, 383 (2012).
DOI: 10.1142/S1793843012400227

Article @ IJMC

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 16 January 2013 )
Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures 2012
Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures 2012 Conference took place at Palermo, Italy on October 31-November 2 2012.


We presented a Keynote titled Towards Architectural Foundations for Cognitive Self-aware Systems.


The BICA 2012 conference main purpose is to take a significant step forward towards the BICA Challenge -creating a real-life computational equivalent of the human mind. This challenge apparently calls for a global, multidisciplinary joint effort to develop biologically-inspired dependable agents that perform well enough as to to be fully accepted as autonomous agents by the human society. We say "apparently" because we think that "biologically-inspired" needs to be re-thought due to the mismatch between natural and artificial agent organization and their construction methods: the natural and artificial construction processes. Due to this constructive mismatch and the complexity of the operational requirements of world-deployable machines, the question of dependability becomes a guiding light in the search of the proper architectures of cognitive agents. Models of perception, cognition and action that render self-aware machines will become a critical asset that marks a concrete roadmap to the BICA challenge.

In this talk we will address a proposal concerning a methodology for extracting universal, domain neutral, architectural design patterns from the analysis of biological cognition. This will render a set of design principles and design patterns oriented towards the construction of better machines. Bio-inspiration cannot be a one step process if we we are going to to build robust, dependable autonomous agents; we must build solid theories first, departing from natural systems, and supporting our designs of artificial ones.

Get the slides of the talk.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 03 November 2012 )
Architectures of Mind
Sunday, 26 February 2012
The investigation about what are the best architectures for mind construction has too many intervening threads and interferences. Sometimes heterogeneous people of different domains get together to try to clarify some of the issues concerning mind architecture. In many of these gatherings, people from science and technology try to devise strategies for building computational models or system archures to create artificial minds.


One of these efforts was the EU Funded ICEA Project. The IST 027819 ICEA Integrating Cognition, Emotion and Autonomy was a four-year project, funded by IST Cognitive Systems Unit. The Project was focused on brain-inspired cognitive architectures, robotics and embodied cognition, bringing together cognitive scientists, neuroscientists, psychologists, computational modelers, roboticists and control engineers. The primary aim of the project is to develop a novel cognitive systems architecture integrating cognitive, emotional and bioregulatory (self-maintenance) processes, based on the architecture and physiology of the mammalian brain.

The works but extremely interesting and the teams involved were mostly very active and dedicated to the work. However, the results obtained -basically more elaborated scientific ideas- didn't have a translation in a concrete architectural implementation of a system that could prove the insights. Different systems wer implemented -real, simulated- but the overall picture was a bit lost.

We need stronger tema integration and specially more convergent objectives to get these types of activities produce the expected and potential results. This is not an easy taks however, as the goal of a cognitive psychologist of an industrial control engineer seem so far a part that convergence sounds more lie a myth than a real, strategical possibility.

All this said, something in fully basic: technology departs from science. Mind engineering must depart from mind since and hence, convergence is necessary. This will only happen if we broaden the tagets and pursue a General Theory of Mind not trapped in the details of rat brains or humanoid robot computer-laden hearths.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 26 February 2012 )
Mentes y metáforas
Thursday, 16 February 2012
Recientemente planteé a mis alumnos la realización de un ejercicio complementario a la docencia en una asignatura de programción de computadores dentro del ámbito de la ingeniería de control.

El propósito del ejercicio era leer un artículo clásico del ámbito de la inteligencia artificial y realizar un breve comentario personal sobre él (Turing - Computing Machinery and Intelligence). Yo esperaba que hubiera alguien que lo leyera con interés y que escribiera un ensayo personal entre un mar de ensayos con comentarios rutinarios sobre el articulo.

Mi sorpresa ha sido lo contrario: los ensayos rutinarios son los menos; estando rodeados de un mar de opiniones, impresiones, juicios, esperanzas y miedos que me han hecho disfrutar de ver tantas mentes jóvenes, tan vivas y tan capaces de pensar por sí mismas. Ha sido sorprendente descubrir, en esta generación acusada de pasividad y desapego- chispas de alegría intelectual.

Mónica, una de mis alumnas, dice,

"Me gustaría ver como un computador puede sorprendernos. No me refiero con ello a los posibles fallos físicos o de software. Hablo de ser capaz de utilizar una metáfora o decirnos que le gustaría poseer la Luna. Y un ordenador no hará eso nunca a no ser que el programador quiera. Un niño querrá cogerla sólo con mirarla. Le parecerá bonita de manera innata, y querrá poseerla." -- Mónica Romero

En estos tiempos de crisis de la ciencia y la tecnología, me han devuelto una cierta esperanza. Estoy seguro de que alguno de ellos construirá El robot que poseyó la Luna. Un gran proyecto y un gran título para una novela de Lem o Heinlein.

Last Updated ( Friday, 17 February 2012 )
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