Akira is the result of 10 years work on a new Cognitive Theory of Mind that
is still in progress. In the last 2 years the Theory was considered enough
strong and complete to begin implementing it. The choice of technical
frameworks and instruments took a lot of time (6 months) and it is discussed
in detail in the related Thesis.
As in Minsky's society of mind, cognition derives from the joint activity of
many non intelligent micro-agents/functions (called Daemons) that run in
parallel and compete for resources. This general (Pandemonium-like)
framework is extended to all the cognitive tasks: from perception to
reasoning, to action selection, to meta-consciousness.
Some highlights from the theory:
Anticipation at the basis of cognition. The Agent present is not the same of
present of the world, but it exists a continuous interaction between concept
(pre-existing data and categorical structures) and percept (input data); in
a simpler terms, a Goal Oriented System needs structures that puts it a step
further in time in order to be synchronized with its world. Having a
function, in facts, means implementing a mechanism that responds to a
potential stimulus in the future. So we need a system that manages
anticipation, guess and surprise as the very basic epistemological modality.
Such a system does not react to the ambient as is, but it reacts to its
surprise resulting from the divergence from previsions and observations.
Constructive Perception. The aim of the Perceptive Apparatus is not to build
a mirror representation of the reality; instead it works like a
constructive, simulation apparatus that imposes its structure to the
stimuli. Perception means organizing for future use: a pre-existing
structure attracts from the future even perception, and prefigure the use;
this is why functions and anticipatory power are related. Perception is a
constructive process that tries to attract the input stimuli into its
structures (carried by Daemons), that compete for explanation.
To reach these goals we merged togheter a lot of different tecnologies into
an homogeneus framework that implements such mechanisms in a natural way at
the lower level.Multithreading is the answer to parallelism needings while
Fuzzy Logic and Fuzzy Cognitive Maps are the couple of instruments used to
model the components (Daemons) behaviour gaining advantage by their
expressivity and combined abstraction power.