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Reality Construction in Cognitive Agents through Processes of Info-Computation

Authors:

Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic, Rickard von Hautwitz

Research group:


Publication Type:

Book chapter

Venue:

REPRESENTATION AND REALITY IN HUMANS, OTHER LIVING ORGANISMS AND INTELLIGENT MACHINES

Publisher:

SPRINGER

DOI:

10.1007/978-3-319-43784-2


Abstract

What is reality for an agent? What is minimal cognition? How does morphology of a cognitive agent affect cognition? Those are still open questions among scientists and philosophers. In this article we propose the idea of info-computational nature as a framework for answering those questions. Within infocomputational framework information is defined as a structure (for an agent), and computation as the dynamics of information (information processing). To an agent nature therefore appears as an informational structure with computational dynamics. Both information and computation in this context have broader meaning than in everyday use, and both are necessarily grounded in physical implementation. Evolution of increasingly complex living agents is understood as a process of morphological (physical, embodied) computation driven by agents’ interactions with the environment. It is a process much more complex than random variation; instead the mechanisms of change are morphological computational processes of self-organisation (and re-organisation). Reality for an agent emerges as a result of interactions with the environment together with internal information processing. Following Maturana and Varela, we take cognition to be the process of living of an organism, and thus it appears on different levels of complexity, from cellular via organismic to social. The simpler the agent, the simpler its “reality” defined by the network of networks of info-computational processes, which constitute its cognition. The debated topic of consciousness gets its natural place in this framework, as a process of information integration that we suggest naturally evolved in organisms with nervous system. Computing nature/pancomputationalism is sometimes confused with panpsychism or claimed to necessarily imply panpsychism, which we show is not the case. Even though we focus on natural systems in this article, infocomputational approach is general and can be used to model both biological and artifactual cognitive agents.

Bibtex

@incollection{Dodig-Crnkovic4953,
author = {Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic and Rickard von Hautwitz},
title = {Reality Construction in Cognitive Agents through Processes of Info-Computation},
isbn = {3319437828},
editor = {Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic and Raffaela Giovagnoli},
volume = {28},
month = {August},
year = {2017},
booktitle = { REPRESENTATION AND REALITY IN HUMANS, OTHER LIVING ORGANISMS AND INTELLIGENT MACHINES },
publisher = {SPRINGER},
url = {http://www.es.mdh.se/publications/4953-}
}