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Meditation on a Mousetrap: On Consciousness and Cognition, Evolution, and Time

Stephen E. Robbins
The Journal of Mind and Behavior
Vol. 33, No. 1/2 (Winter and Spring 2012), pp. 69-95
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43854324
Page Count: 27
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Meditation on a Mousetrap: On Consciousness and Cognition, Evolution, and Time
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Abstract

Evolutionary theory has yet to offer a detailed model of the complex transitions from a living system of one design to another of more advanced, or simply different, design. Hidden within the writings of evolution's expositors is an implicit appeal to Al-like processes operating within the "cosmic machine" that has hitherto been evolving the plethora of functional living systems we observe. In these writings, there is disturbingly little understanding of the deep problems involved, resting as they do in the very heart of AI. The end-state requirements for a system, device, or "machine" with intelligence capable of design are examined. The representational power must be sufficient to support analogical thought, an operation demanding transformations of events in imagery, in turn a function of perception, both dependent on a non-differentiable flow of time. The operational dynamics of the device must inherit this fundamental property of the dynamically transforming matter-field. Whether the evolutionary mechanisms or algorithmics thus far envisioned by biology or AI are coordinate with such requirements is left seriously in doubt.

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