Understanding Intelligence

MIT Press
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The book includes all the background material required to understand the principles underlying intelligence, as well as enough detailed information on intelligent robotics and simulated agents so readers can begin experiments and projects on their own.

By the mid-1980s researchers from artificial intelligence, computer science, brain and cognitive science, and psychology realized that the idea of computers as intelligent machines was inappropriate. The brain does not run "programs"; it does something entirely different. But what? Evolutionary theory says that the brain has evolved not to do mathematical proofs but to control our behavior, to ensure our survival. Researchers now agree that intelligence always manifests itself in behavior—thus it is behavior that we must understand. An exciting new field has grown around the study of behavior-based intelligence, also known as embodied cognitive science, "new AI," and "behavior-based AI."

This book provides a systematic introduction to this new way of thinking. After discussing concepts and approaches such as subsumption architecture, Braitenberg vehicles, evolutionary robotics, artificial life, self-organization, and learning, the authors derive a set of principles and a coherent framework for the study of naturally and artificially intelligent systems, or autonomous agents. This framework is based on a synthetic methodology whose goal is understanding by designing and building.

The book includes all the background material required to understand the principles underlying intelligence, as well as enough detailed information on intelligent robotics and simulated agents so readers can begin experiments and projects on their own. The reader is guided through a series of case studies that illustrate the design principles of embodied cognitive science.

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About the author

Rolf Pfeifer is Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in the Department of Informatics at the University of Zurich. He is the author of Understanding Intelligence (MIT Press, 1999).

Christian Scheier is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California.

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Additional Information

Publisher
MIT Press
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Published on
Jul 27, 2001
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Pages
700
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ISBN
9780262250795
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Computers / Intelligence (AI) & Semantics
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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An exploration of embodied intelligence and its implications points toward a theory of intelligence in general; with case studies of intelligent systems in ubiquitous computing, business and management, human memory, and robotics.

How could the body influence our thinking when it seems obvious that the brain controls the body? In How the Body Shapes the Way We Think, Rolf Pfeifer and Josh Bongard demonstrate that thought is not independent of the body but is tightly constrained, and at the same time enabled, by it. They argue that the kinds of thoughts we are capable of have their foundation in our embodiment—in our morphology and the material properties of our bodies.

This crucial notion of embodiment underlies fundamental changes in the field of artificial intelligence over the past two decades, and Pfeifer and Bongard use the basic methodology of artificial intelligence—"understanding by building"—to describe their insights. If we understand how to design and build intelligent systems, they reason, we will better understand intelligence in general. In accessible, nontechnical language, and using many examples, they introduce the basic concepts by building on recent developments in robotics, biology, neuroscience, and psychology to outline a possible theory of intelligence. They illustrate applications of such a theory in ubiquitous computing, business and management, and the psychology of human memory. Embodied intelligence, as described by Pfeifer and Bongard, has important implications for our understanding of both natural and artificial intelligence.

The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. Other animals have stronger muscles or sharper claws, but we have cleverer brains. If machine brains one day come to surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become very powerful. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on us humans than on the gorillas themselves, so the fate of our species then would come to depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence. But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed AI or otherwise to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation? To get closer to an answer to this question, we must make our way through a fascinating landscape of topics and considerations. Read the book and learn about oracles, genies, singletons; about boxing methods, tripwires, and mind crime; about humanity's cosmic endowment and differential technological development; indirect normativity, instrumental convergence, whole brain emulation and technology couplings; Malthusian economics and dystopian evolution; artificial intelligence, and biological cognitive enhancement, and collective intelligence. This profoundly ambitious and original book picks its way carefully through a vast tract of forbiddingly difficult intellectual terrain. Yet the writing is so lucid that it somehow makes it all seem easy. After an utterly engrossing journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life, we find in Nick Bostrom's work nothing less than a reconceptualization of the essential task of our time.
A new edition of a classic work that originated the “embodied cognition” movement and was one of the first to link science and Buddhist practices.

This classic book, first published in 1991, was one of the first to propose the “embodied cognition” approach in cognitive science. It pioneered the connections between phenomenology and science and between Buddhist practices and science—claims that have since become highly influential. Through this cross-fertilization of disparate fields of study, The Embodied Mind introduced a new form of cognitive science called “enaction,” in which both the environment and first person experience are aspects of embodiment. However, enactive embodiment is not the grasping of an independent, outside world by a brain, a mind, or a self; rather it is the bringing forth of an interdependent world in and through embodied action. Although enacted cognition lacks an absolute foundation, the book shows how that does not lead to either experiential or philosophical nihilism. Above all, the book's arguments were powered by the conviction that the sciences of mind must encompass lived human experience and the possibilities for transformation inherent in human experience.

This revised edition includes substantive introductions by Evan Thompson and Eleanor Rosch that clarify central arguments of the work and discuss and evaluate subsequent research that has expanded on the themes of the book, including the renewed theoretical and practical interest in Buddhism and mindfulness. A preface by Jon Kabat-Zinn, the originator of the mindfulness-based stress reduction program, contextualizes the book and describes its influence on his life and work.

Anthology from the year 2011 in the subject Sociology - Knowledge and Information, , language: English, abstract: This is a book about embodiment -- the idea that intelligence requires a body -- and how having a body shapes the way we think. The idea that the body is required for intelligence has been around since nearly three decades ago, but an awful lot has changed since then. Research labs and leading technology companies around the world have produced a host of sometimes science fiction-like creations: unbelievably realistic humanoids, robot musicians, wearable technology, robots controlled by biological brains, robots that can walk without a brain, real-life cyborgs, robots in homes for the elderly, robots that literally put themselves together, and artificial cells grown automatically. This new breed of technology is the direct result of the embodied approach to intelligence. Along the way, many of the initially vague ideas have been elaborated and the arguments sharpened, and are beginning to form into a coherent structure. This popular science book, aimed at a broad audience, provides a clear and up to date overview of the progress being made. At the heart of the book are a set of abstract design principles that can be applied in designing intelligent systems of any kind: in short, a theory of intelligence. But science and technology are no longer isolated fields: they closely interact with the corporate, political, and social aspects of our society -- so this book not only provides a novel perspective on artificial intelligence, but also aims to change how we view ourselves and the world around us. Credits: Front Cover Design by Hakam El Essawy Featuring the humanoid robot ‘EDS’ Photo: Patrick Knab Robot construction: The Robot Studio (TRS) ECCE Robot project: EU's 7th Framework Programme, ICT Challenge2, 'Cognitive Systems and Robotics' Motors: maxon motor, Switzerland Know-How Partner: Starmind.com
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