Both computers and minds are systems, artificial and natural, respectively, that use symbols to represent information. My studies have brought together various aspects of the human-computer relationship, particularly the study of cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and human-computer interaction. I've finished my academic work, and have refocused upon my career in technology.
My interest in cognitive science has been primarily in understanding and studying selective attention, and how we measure consciousness in others and ourselves. I am also interested in natural language processing, and the difficulties that existing computer technologies have in understanding human colloquial speech.
In addition, the study of the brain as a computational process intrigues me, which is why I am interested in studying computational neurology and psychology. Some believe that if one can understand the 'software' of our human brains it will be easier to make an artificial brain that works similarly.
Symbolic Systems, particularly the disciplines of cognitive science and computer science, view the brain as a machine that processes information from sensory neurons and delivers this information to motor neurons. However, if the brain is a machine, what is the origin of our free will, and how can it coexist in our thinking if our machine-brain is bound by determinism by its very nature?
Are we actually free to think, or is thinking merely a result of our brain-machinery? The study of the Philosophy of Mind has been ruminating on this question for nearly 500 years.
Telecommunications networks, military vehicle design, and the study of the flow of neurons in the brain have all utilised Swarm Intelligence techniques. The most interesting thing about swarms, however, is the implication that all systems characterised by self-organising criticality have the functional equivalent of memory.
The temporality of these systems is not, however, limited to the interrelation of past and present; for systems to be adaptive, they must anticipate the future as well as learn from the past. Here, as elsewhere, the use of terms like experience, memory, anticipation, and learning does not imply self-consciousness or consciousness, but it does disclose similarities between nonhuman and ostensibly human information processes.
In order for effective human-computer interaction to occur, the effective design of computer software and interfaces that work well with human users will need to occur. This will require a through understanding of programming, interface design, and knowledge of human behaviours and expectations.
Is intelligence more than information processing? Does intelligence require a mind? For that matter, what is a mind? How are minds related to brains? Does intelligence require a somewhat biologically based brain?
Alternatively, is it possible to create artefacts that process information in a way that we can call them intelligent? What is the relation of mind to the external world? Is the world a creation of mind?
On the other hand, does the mind explore and discover facts about an independently existing world? Or is the relation more subtle than either of these suggest? What is consciousness? Does intelligence require consciousness?
Moreover, how does language and meaning fit into the picture? Does thought require language or some other form of representation, or vice versa? What is it that makes language meaningful? And what is the meaning that language is so full of?
The sidebar engravings are by (from top) Khunrath, Herschvogel, Mylius, and Fludd