GSO-2010: Daniel Polani
On Informational Principles of Embodied Cognition
To understand the cognitive requirements to achieve "intelligent" and structured behaviour of agents, it is useful to identify principles by which one could underpin these requirements. In the last decade, a clear picture emerged that information theory is a powerful tool to formulate such principles for cognition. It thereby goes far beyond its original inception as theory of communication or its occasional use as passive "look but don't touch" correlative measure during the "dark night" of the post-cybernetic period; this, notwithstanding promising initial successes (cf. Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety) which, however, for a long time remained little more than a discarded memento. Eventually, close to the turn of the millenium, these ideas were revived by Touchette and Lloyd (among others) and brought back from their sleep.
The talk will discuss quantitative informational principles and invariants for cognitive decisions carried out by agents. A particular attention will be devoted to the role of embodiment which tightly intertwines the structure and dynamics of the environment with the cognitive process of the agent. It will show how the informational picture sheds light on the - long postulated - importance of embodiment for cognition. In particular, the talk will discuss how the informational perspective identifies how the environment can help agents to structure, organize and drive their behaviour.