Paper: From Artificial Life to Artificial Embodiment

The collaboration with my new colleagues in Japan has resulted in a first publication. It is a conference proceedings paper which will be presented at the upcoming convention of the UK Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour (AISB), held at the University of York, 4-7 April 2011.

The presentation is part of the 3rd AISB Symposium on Computing and Philosophy. It is about a potential methodological shift: Many people working in the field of artificial life have become interested in applying their systemic insights to the study of human consciousness by involving actual participants.

From Artificial Life to Artificial Embodiment: Using human-computer interfaces to investigate the embodied mind ‘as-it-could-be’ from the first-person perspective

Tom Froese, Keisuke Suzuki, Sohei Wakisaka, Yuta Ogai and Takashi Ikegami

There is a growing community of cognitive scientists who are interested in developing a systematic understanding of the experiential or ‘lived’ aspects of the mind. We argue that this shift from cognitive science to consciousness science presents a novel challenge to the fields of AI, robotics and related synthetic approaches. AI has traditionally formed the central foundation of cognitive science, and progress in artificial life has helped to pioneer a new understanding of cognition as embodied, situated and dynamical. However, in the current experiential turn toward the phenomenological aspects of mind, the role of these fields still remains uncertain. We propose that one way of dealing with the challenge of phenomenology is to make use of artificial life principles in the design of systems that include human observers inside the technologically mediated sensorimotor loops. Human-computer interfaces enable us to artificially vary the embodiment of the participants, and can therefore be used as novel tools to systematically investigate the embodied mind ‘as-it-could-be’ from the first-person perspective. We illustrate this methodology of artificial embodiment by drawing on our research in sensory substitution, virtual reality, and interactive installation.

Download the full paper here: PDF.


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