January 21, 2011 Leave a comment
Neosentience, a potentially new branch of scientific and poetic inquiry related to Artificial Intelligence, was first suggested in a paper by Bill Seaman as part of a new embodied robotic paradigm, arising out of ongoing theoretical research with Otto E. Rossler. Seaman, artist-researcher and Rossler, theoretical biologist and physicist, have been examining the potential of generating an intelligent, embodied, multimodal sensing and computational robotic system. Although related to artificial intelligence the goal of this system is the creation of an entity exhibiting a new form of sentience. Its unique qualities will be discussed. ‘Sentience’ is not yet used in the formal languages of either cognitive science or artificial intelligence. Two related approaches are (1) the generation of artificial minds via parallel processing, in a robotic system; (2) an alternative approach is the generation of an electrochemical computer as a robotic system. Biomimetics, along with state-of-the-art computer visualization is employed. The electrochemical paradigm has a complexity that exceed standard computational means. The scientific and the poetic elements of the project are motivated by human sentience. This transdisciplinary approach necessitates different forms of inquiry to inform this project such as cognitive science including psychology, education/learning, neuroscience, linguistics,philosophy, anthropology, biology and the arts.
The notion of building a model for a Neosentient computer and related robotic system is both an exciting and daunting task. In order to model and ultimately build such a device one seeks to borrow important operative concepts and processes from the body and re-understand them in the context of a mechanism that is not human in nature. We have articulated the following ‘Operative Definition’ of Neosentience – We consider a neosentient robotic entity to be a system that could exhibit well defined functionalities: It learns; It intelligently navigates; It interacts via natural language; It generates simulations of behavior (it ‘thinks’ about potential behaviors) before acting in physical space; It is creative in some manner; It comes to have a deep situated knowledge of context through multi-modal sensing; It displays mirror competence. We have entitled this entity The Benevolence Engine. The interfunctionality is complex enough to operationally mimic human sentience. Benevolence can in principle arise in the interaction of two such systems.