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in Animals and Machines


Speculations on Language and Intelligence - by Dr. D. Dennett

robot.gif (13224 bytes)Visit the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and investigate the different behaviors of their small mobile robots. These simple systems are capable of seemingly very "complex" actions. How much cognitive equipment is really necessary for the animal behavior we observe?



Animated vehicles. In his wonderful little book Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology, V. Braitenberg describes a series of thought experiments in which ``vehicles'' with very simple internal structures behave in unexpectedly complex ways. He describes simple control mechanisms that generate behaviors that, if we did not already know the principles behind the vehicles' operation, we might call aggression, love, foresight and even optimism. Braitenberg gives this as evidence for the `law of uphill analysis and downhill invention,'' meaning that it is much more difficult to try to guess internal structure just from the observation of behavior than it is to create the structure that gives the behavior.


redcube.gif (235 bytes)Learn more about working humanoid robots. What does it take to model a complex animal like human being? More downhill invention.




redcube.gif (235 bytes)Semi-Intelligent Life on other planets - Rovers explore Mars on their own. The practical application of recent animal and machine intelligence research.