How Philosophy of Mind Influences Artificial Intelligence

The latest episode of Talking Robots is an interview with Inman Harvey of the University of Sussex.  He observes that when researchers attempt to build autonomous robots, their approach is strongly influenced by their philosophy of mind, even if that philosophy is only implicit.  He also points out that what he calls "good old-fashioned AI" fails to represent how brains really work.

This is a point I have emphasized repeatedly.  Inman observes that approaches liked embodied artificial intelligence (which we discussed with Rolf Pfeifer in Episode 25) are really based on a different philosophy of mind that "good old-fashioned AI."

His paper, Philosophy of Mind Using a Screwdriver, is available as a PDF.

Latest Episode of Talking Robots Explores Mirror Neurons

talkingrobotpodcastlogo.jpg Michael Arbib of USC discusses (Talking Robots 10/12/07) how the discovery of mirror neurons is inspiring attempts to design robots that can emulate human emotions. This is part of a larger trend in robotics which is called biological robotics in which designs are inspired by biological systems. It is significant that what is learned by attempts to design robotic animals can in turn shed light on how biological systems work. This kind of interdisciplinary work is at the intersection of neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and computer engineering. Dr. Arbib also discusses the challenges of doing interdisciplinary work in an age of exploding knowledge. You can find more about his work including links to a few of his numerous publications on his website.
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Highlights from Other Science Podcasts

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I recently posted a list of some of my favorite science podcasts.  Today I want to mention a few recent episodes that I think are worth listening to.

First, on March 8th, the BBC 4 podcast, In Our Time, did an excellent review of the history of microbiology.  Host Melvyn Bragg is joined by John Dupré, Professor of Philosophy of Science and Director of Egenis, the ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society, at Exeter University, Anne Glover, Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland and Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at Aberdeen University, and Andrew Mendelsohn, Senior Lecturer in the History of Science and Medicine at Imperial College, University of London.

Jason Rennie ofThe Sci Phi Show has a reputation for getting interviews with many diverse people, usually on subjects related to philosophy.  This week he posted two episode on the philosophy of science.  Outcast #33 is an interview with Steve Fuller about Thomas Kuhn and Sir Karl Popper, who made important contributions to the philosophy of science during the 20th century.  Outcast #34 is a discussion with Dr. Del Ratzsch about the philosophy of science.  His viewpoint on the conflict between science and religion is different from mine, but it is still an interesting interview.