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From Bricks to Brains: The Embodied Cognitive Science of LEGO Robots

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Abstract

From Bricks to Brains introduces embodied cognitive science, and illustrates its foundational ideas through the construction and observation of LEGO Mindstorms robots. Discussing the characteristics that distinguish embodied cognitive science from classical cognitive science, From Bricks to Brains places a renewed emphasis on sensing and acting, the importance of embodiment, the exploration of distributed notions of control, and the development of theories by synthesizing simple systems and exploring their behaviour. Numerous examples are used to illustrate a key theme: the importance of an agent’s environment. Even simple agents, such as LEGO robots, are capable of exhibiting complex behaviour when they can sense and affect the world around them
From Bricks to Brains:
The Embodied Cognitive Science of LEGO Robots
Michael Dawson, Brian Dupuis, and Michael Wilson
Athabasca University Press, Edmonton
May 2010
Fulltextavailablefrom:http://www.aupress.ca/index.php/books/120175
About the Book
From Bricks to Brains introduces embodied cognitive science, and illustrates its foundational ideas
through the construction and observation of LEGO Mindstorms robots.
Discussing the characteristics that distinguish embodied cognitive science from classical cognitive
science, From Bricks to Brains places a renewed emphasis on sensing and acting, the importance of
embodiment, the exploration of distributed notions of control, and the development of theories by
synthesizing simple systems and exploring their behaviour. Numerous examples are used to illustrate
a key theme: the importance of an agent’s environment. Even simple agents, such as LEGO robots,
are capable of exhibiting complex behaviour when they can sense and affect the world around them.
... La ciencia cognitiva corporizada o situada, plantea que esto es un grave error. Los científicos que han construido el edificio de este enfoque argumentan que una teoría cognitiva debe incluir tanto el entorno del agente, como la experiencia del agente en ese entorno (Agre 1997;Clancey 1997;Clark 1998;Pfeifer y Scheier 1999;Varela et al. 1991;Dawson, Dupuis y Wilson 2010). Reconocen que esa experiencia depende de cómo el entorno es percibido (situación), que la situación de un agente depende de su naturaleza física (corporización) y que un agente corporizado puede actuar sobre y cambiar su entorno (Webb y Consi 2001; Dawson, Dupuis y Wilson 2010). ...
... Benson destaca la idea de que la partitura escrita es análoga a la expresión lógica y que convertirla en el hecho musical del cual esa partitura trata -en el sentido de Brentano (2014)-no solo es deseable, sino que también es racional. Este logicismo de la música instrumental escrita es perfectamente asimilable al logicismo encontrado en la ciencia cognitiva clásica (Dawson 2010). ...
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En este artículo caracterizamos la música acusmática en tanto modo de producción y modalidad de representación acústica, en función de lo cual establecemos un conjunto de condiciones que definen su práctica y ethos particular desde un enfoque fundamentalmente pragmático y cognitivo. Damos cuenta de una de las críticas más relevantes a las músicas contemporáneas y analizamos el prejuicio intelectual que subyacería a esas críticas. Proponemos, hacia el final, una analogía entre la reacción de la ciencia cognitiva de tercera generación hacia las posturas dualistas clásicas, y aquella de las músicas contemporáneas de tradición académica, en particular la acusmática, en relación con el canon armónico tonal clásico, analogía que no solo da cuenta de coincidencias históricas y estructurales, sino que revela una convergencia epistemológica de profundos alcances entre ambas disciplinas. Palabras clave: música, acusmática, ciencias cognitivas, lingüística. Double articulation and third-generation cognitive sciences: defying traditional notions around the acousmatic musical experience Abstract In this article we characterize acousmatic music as a mode of production and as a modality of acoustic representation, based on which we establish a set of conditions that define their practice and particular ethos from a fundamentally pragmatic and cognitive approach. We also discuss one of the most relevant points of criticism to new music and we analyze the intellectual prejudices which underlie these approaches. We propose, towards the end, an analogy between the reaction of third generation cognitive science towards classical dualistic positions, and that of contemporary music, specially acousmatic music, in relation to the 1. El presente artículo corresponde a un avance parcial de investigación del Proyecto Fondecyt Regular N° 1130620. Título: " La construcción del contrato musical en la experiencia acusmática: desde las gramáticas de composición hacia la emergencia de una comunidad acusmática " , 2013-2015.
... There are many ways how to model robot behaviour whether from the top-down or bottom-up perspective or from the view of cognition like sense-act or sense-think-act [1]. If we look at the robot's behaviour from the perspective of sense-think-act, especially thinking should be solved. ...
Conference Paper
This paper proposes a model of a robot’s behaviour described by finite automata. We split robot’s knowledge into several knowledge bases which are used by the inference mechanism of the robot’s expert system to make a logic deduction. Each knowledgebase is dedicated to the particular behaviour domain and the finite automaton helps us switching among these knowledge bases with the respect of actual situation. Our goal is to simplify and reduce complexity of one big knowledgebase splitting it into several pieces. The advantage of this model is that we can easily add new behaviour by adding new knowledgebase and add this behaviour into the finite automaton and define necessary states and transitions.
... Investigations based on this wide approach stand to pay closer attention to the role of the environment, given their explicit focus on computational systems spreading out across the brain, body and world. Examples of the wide conception in action, for example, include agent-based models or swarm behaviour models (see Dawson, 2010). One way to view wide computationalism, then, is as an alternative conception of the underlying concept of computation that may be used within computational psychology. ...
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One particularly successful approach to modeling within cognitive science is computational psychology. Computational psychology explores psychological processes by building and testing computational models with human data. In this paper, it is argued that a specific approach to understanding computation, what is called the 'narrow conception', has problematically limited the kinds of models, theories, and explanations that are offered within computational psychology. After raising two problems for the narrow conception, an alternative, 'wide approach' to computational psychology is proposed.
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The assumption that psychological states and processes are computational in character pervades much of cognitive science, what many call the computational theory of mind. In addition to occupying a central place in cognitive science, the computational theory of mind has also had a second life supporting “individualism”, the view that psychological states should be taxonomized so as to supervene only on the intrinsic, physical properties of individuals. One response to individualism has been to raise the prospect of “wide computational systems”, in which some computational units are instantiated outside the individual. “Wide computationalism” attempts to sever the link between individualism and computational psychology by enlarging the concept of computation. However, in spite of its potential interest to cognitive science, wide computationalism has received little attention in philosophy of mind and cognitive science. This paper aims to revisit the prospect of wide computationalism. It is argued that by appropriating a mechanistic conception of computation wide computationalism can overcome several issues that plague initial formulations. The aim is to show that cognitive science has overlooked an important and viable option in computational psychology. The paper marshals empirical support and responds to possible objections.
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