The 15th Annual Meeting of the ASSC
Sunday, 13 June 2010

The ASSC Conference Scientific Study of Consciousness took place at Kyoto, Japan on 9-12 June 2011.

We presented there the poster titled Ten Design Rules for Conscious Systems that was well received but somehow perceived as very distant from the mainstreams of the conference, more focused on humanly endeavours.

In this poster we describe the approach taken by the UPM Autonomous Systems Laboratory for the provision of a theoretical and architectural model of consciousness for the development of technology of full, bounded autonomy.


Control systems theory and architecture can provide valuable insights into the architecture of consciousness and cognition. The quest for the universal controller technology -a technology for building machine minds for any purpose- has advanced by small, both practical and theoretical steps but without a clear convergence into a unified view. However, recent developments in search of improvements in open-environment robustness for autonomous systems –fundamentally in robotics but also in other domains of automatic control- have produced a reactivation of the quest for the very essence of the mental -from a systemic/cybernetic perspective. This talk will present an architecture-centric proposal for a fundamental, model-based control structure that fulfills a basic set of requirements for being an explanation of a functional mind from an access-consciousness and self-consciousness perspective (including associated concepts such as perception, knowledge, thinking, action, etc.). This structure is grounded on systemic, embodied control systems concepts beyond computationalism so as to be realizable in machines and serve as explanation of natural consciousness. This proposal goes from the elementary aspects of sensing and perception to the higher aspects of knowledge, meaning and consciousness. This general approach is captured in the form of general design rules for cognitive architectures. The proposed ten design rules will provide a basic stance for understanding access consciousness and self-consciousness and a catalogue of design features needed both for the engineering of a conscious system of technological and economical value and for the explanation of natural consciousness.

Get more info at the conference website.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 13 November 2011 )
From Brains to Systems
Monday, 18 April 2011
The book From Brains to Systems (Hernández, Sanz, Gómez et al.) has been published.

An excerpt from the introduction:

"Science moves in little steps, but also makes its progress with revolutionary discov- eries and concepts that sweep away whole and entire edifices of thinking and replace them with new theories that explain more with less. However, there is a constant in this march, the strive for mathematisation and unification.

The extent to which reverse-engineering of brains will help with technological advance in the engineering of more robust autonomous systems is yet to be clear. Nevertheless, the different approaches offered in this book show a steady progress toward more rigorous methods of analysis and synthesis. This rigour implies that they may eventually converge into a single, unified theory of cognition: the very holy grail of cognitive science and engineering."

From Brains to Systems: Brain-Inspired Cognitive Systems 2010. ISBN 978-1-4614-0163-6. Springer New York, 2011. Series Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, Volume 718.


More details from publisher

Last Updated ( Saturday, 19 November 2011 )
Consciousness, Meaning and the Future Phenomenology
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 )
Robots with guns
Monday, 09 August 2004

Source: USA Today, April 14, 2006

Talon with M-240 machine gun
Although the USA militars initially focused just on unmanned aircraft, e.g. the Predator, now new ground- and sea-based robots are being developed and tested not only for demining and convoy driving but also to carry ground-level weapons. As the new Talon robot carrying a M-240 machine gun (they claim just to be used remotely!).

Much larger and more ambitious robot weapons are in testing, including a tank-like, 1,600-pound vehicle called the Gladiator, which can fire a variety of guns, or can even "shout" instructions, such as those to calm a mob or request surrendering.

Scott Myers, president of General Dynamics Robotic Systems claims that a robot can find a human with its sensors and kill the person, but "we don't want to shoot our own people or children".

Obviously they plan to kill other's.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 18 November 2007 )
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