Date: 14 Jan 2003

Emergence and Cognition: Towards a Synthetic Paradigm in AI and Cognitive Science

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Abstract

Will the “representational paradigm” - that characterised Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cognitive Science (CS) from their very birth - be eliminated in the 21st century? Will this paradigm be replaced by the new one based on dynamic systems, connectionism, situatedness, embodiedness, etc.? Will this be the end of the AI ambitious project? I do not think so. Challenges and attacks to AI and CS have been hard and radical in the last 15 years, however I believe that the next century will start with a renewed rush of AI and we will not assist to a paradigmatic revolution, with connectionism replacing cognitivism and symbolic models; emergentist, dynamic and evolutionary models eliminating reasoning on explicit representations and planning; neuroscience (plus phenomenology) eliminating cognitive processing; situatedness, reactivity, cultural constructivism eliminating general concepts, context independent abstractions, ideal-typical models. I claim that the major scientific challenge of the first part of the century will precisely be the construction of a new “synthetic” paradigm: a paradigm that puts together, in a principled and non-eclectic way, cognition and emergence, information processing and self-organisation, reactivity and intentionality, situatedness and planning, etc. [Cas98a].

This is a preliminary version. Some of the sub-sections (such as “How to (partially) reduce social power to individual power”, in section 4; “Delegation” and “Conflict”, in section 5) were omitted due to space limitations of the whole text.