The present paper criticizes Chalmers’s discussion of the Singularity, viewed as the emergence of a superhuman intelligence via the self-amplifying development of artificial intelligence. The situated and embodied view of cognition rejects the notion that intelligence could arise in a closed ‘brain-in-a-vat’ system, because intelligence is rooted in a high-bandwidth, sensory-motor interaction with the outside world. Instead, it is proposed that superhuman intelligence can emerge only in a distributed fashion, in the form of a self-organizing network of humans, computers, and other technologies: the ‘Global Brain’.
Check out this essay forthcoming from the power team of Clark, Kilverstein and Farina.
Sensory substitution devices are a type of sensory prosthesis that (typically) convert visual stimuli transduced by a camera into tactile or auditory stimulation. They are designed to be used by people with impaired vision so that they can recover some of the functions normally subserved by vision. In this chapter we will consider what philosophers might learn about the nature of the senses from the neuroscience of sensory substitution. We will show how sensory substitution devices work by exploiting the cross-modal plasticity of sensory cortex: the ability of sensory cortex to pick up some types of information about the external environment irrespective of the nature of the sensory inputs it is processing. We explore the implications of cross-modal plasticity for theories of the senses that attempt to make distinctions between the senses on the basis of neurobiology.
Rob’s contribution to the Extended Mind special issue of CSR:
This essay begins by addressing the role of the so-called Parity Principle in arguments for extended cognition. It is concluded that the Parity Principle does not, by itself, demarcate cognition and that another mark of the cognitive must be sought. The second section of the paper advances two arguments against the extended view of cognition, one of which – the conservatism-or-simplicity argument – appeals to principles of theory selection, and the other of which – the argument from demarcation – draws on a systems-based theory of cognition. The final section contests the claim, made by Andy Clark, that empirical work done by Wayne Gray and colleagues supports the extended view.
Here is Fred’s contribution to the Extended Mind CSR special issue:
What makes a process a cognitive process? I’m not just asking for a list of cognitive processes, but for what makes an item on that list a cognitive process. Why should it be on the list? This is a question that has been ignored far too long in the domain of research calling itself cognitive science. It is time to give an answer and that is what I propose in this paper. I contrast my answer with others that have been given and defend the need against some claims in the literature that a mark of the cognitive is not needed.
Since I’m about to submit another themed issue of Cognitive Systems Research I thought I’d give a plug to the papers from the last CSR “Extended Mind” issue I edited some two months ago. First up is Dan Weiskopf’s paper:
According to the hypothesis of extended cognition (HEC), parts of the extrabodily world can constitute cognitive operations. I argue that the debate over HEC should be framed as a debate over the location and bounds of cognitive systems. The “Goldilocks problem” is how to demarcate these systems in a way that is neither too restrictive nor too permissive. I lay out a view of systems demarcation on which cognitive systems are sets of mechanisms for producing cognitive processes that are bounded by transducers and effectors: structures that turn physical stimuli into representations, and representations into physical effects. I show how the transducer–effector view can stop the problem of uncontrolled cognitive spreading that faces HEC, and illustrate its advantages relative to other views of system individuation. Finally, I argue that demarcating systems by transducers and effectors is not question-begging in the context of a debate over HEC.