Author & Research

 

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Lexx Lazerman

Short Bio . . .

Lexx Lazerman is an instructional systems designer consultant with a very eclectic background. He has degrees in Technical Drafting, Industrial Design, Film Animation, and an M.A. in Educational Technology. Lexx is media expert, with over 15 years of experience working with information technology. Screenwriting and storytelling are among is his numerous passions. His short films reflect his ability to integrate multiple forms of media and have been well received in film festivals.

Lexx Lazerman’s M.A. thesis, A Theoretical Cognitive Construct of a 3D Embodied Agent: VAL, the Virtual Autonomous Learner, lays out the vision for the future of artificial intelligence based on the new cognitive science, embodied cognition. Currently, his research interest focuses on designing and developing virtual embodied cognitive agents using neural networks.

Lexx is well traveled, working and living in North America, Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East. He recognizes the importance of understanding and respecting cultural differences in our brave new world of digital intimacy. His unique and diverse background affords him the ability to think outside the box and he prides himself with his facility to design and develop tools that are creative, efficient and effective. He currently resides in Philadelphia developing his virtual child (VAL), meditating, and contemplating the wonders of the mind. He can be contacted via lexx@lazerman.com

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More about me . . .

My primary research interest is embodied cognition. These days, I seek out all faculties of the mind, such as: perception, consciousness, language, memory, learning, and the element of the “self” that many researchers seem to neglect – emotions.

I, like some researchers in the social sciences, take an ecological and evolutionary perspective when investigating the aspects of the mind and body, ecology being systems and their relationship with their environment. The evolution aspect of my research investigates how – but more importantly why – these systems evolved. Of course, the quick and simple answer is because they had to – if the species wanted to survive (thank you Darwin and Wallace).

At this point, it may be clear to some readers, via my use of the word “system” to describe all living things and my praise for Darwin and Wallace, that I am a very proud atheist. With my posts here in this blog, I hope to illustrate why Atheism is important in science, education, and my research.

My MA thesis is centred around embodied cognition. I am building a prototype of a construct for my Virtual Autonomous Learner (VAL). I believe, in the likes of Varela and Maturana, “Living systems are cognitive systems”. It is this perspective on cognition that shines light on the title of this blog – Cognitive Designer. I believe we can simulate and build dynamic systems in the computer (similar to biological systems), and then shape their behavior by manipulating the stimulus they receive. Therefore, I am designing cognition.

Two elements of my formal education that helped shape my perspective on cognition are Industrial Design and Film Animation. Industrial design, the research and development of products, offered me a unique exposure to materials and manufacturing techniques. Film, being a metaphor for life, offered me insight into humanity. The animation aspect gave me hands-on experience with manipulation of media and an excellent understanding of 3D environments.

My research methodology stems from my eclectic design background. Therefore, some of the concepts that shape my work are the notion of “tools” and “prototyping”. From an evolutionary perspective, tool use and development helped shape our minds. Rapid-prototyping is the process of building something based on an idea, analyzing what you built, building another one that is better, and then reiterating the process.

Abstract concepts that I am integrating into my research and that I will discuss in this blog are: affordance, symbols (formation and manipulation), and the somewhat-related metaphors (also, formation and manipulation).

Disclaimer

There is one aspect of my mind that I would like to mention. I am severely dyslexic. What does this mean in terms of this blog? I have a hard time with spelling words. Also, my syntactic structure of sentences is somewhat off. So I ask you the reader to be kind in your judgment of my writing style. If you’re not sure of what I am communicating just ask me to elaborate and I will do so with a smile.

To end this page on a more light note I will share one of my beliefs by expressing myself via a movie quote.

Since one of my fundamental beliefs on cognition is that it (cognition) is a byproduct of the interaction of the mind, the body and the environment, I will leave you with a quote from one of my favorite sci-fi movies, The Matrix:

MORPHEUS

The body cannot live without the mind.

Morpheus & Neo

Morpheus & Neo