Research & Blog Update

January 19th, 2011

Graph
I have taken a slight change in direction with regards to the form of my MA thesis. Before, pretty much all of last year, I was being pressured to develop an empirical research project. Now, due to events I will not discuss here, I am happy to announce I will be writing a theoretical thesis! I am thrilled about this and found new inspiration and motivation.

I created this blog as a means to motivate myself and as a means to document and share my research. I am trying hard not to lose focus of this fact. My last post, An Education Transformation: How technology transformed a bedwetter into a superhero, received many comments and I thank all of you who took the time and energy to comment. In the future I will try to incorporate more of the same elements, intimacy and humour, into my more technical posts.

In this post I will outline things to come, basically the topics I plan to cover and the direction I plan to take within the next few months. First, there are two topics that have been brewing in my mind, and I’m eager to get those thoughts out of my head and onto this blog: education & consciousness. Here is a quick preview… Read the rest of this entry »

An Education Transformation: How technology transformed a bedwetter into a superhero

November 23rd, 2010

I’ve wanted to tell this story for a very long time – a small chapter of a larger story of what motivates and drives me as an educator and a researcher. It starts with small intimate details of my childhood and ends with a somewhat grand inspirational note.

Intimate Details

From the beginning I knew something was very wrong with my understanding of language. At an early age, like most toddlers, I recognized that one plus one does in fact equal two. My physical world made sense. It was logical. I loved taking things apart and putting them back together. I truly enjoyed figuring out how things worked. I was very good at understanding the physical world – understanding the mechanics of things. But when it came to language, more specifically written language, something was very wrong, something was off. I didn’t know it then, but I had a learning disability. That is, groups of neurons did not make particular connections – also – environmental factors intensified and compounded the problem. Because of this I had a hard time relating to people. So, I withdrew.

When I emerged I was a delinquent – lost – but most disturbingly, I was virtually illiterate. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments on Ben Goertzel’s post: vision vs. touch / kinesthetics

November 4th, 2010

visionRecently I came across a blurb by Ben Goertzel1 titled, vision vs. touch/kinesthetics.

This short blog post questions the importance of vision in AI research.

I had an urge to comment on his post, and these are my comments:

Touch and kinesthesis2 are important elements for all animal intelligence – not just human intelligence. However, if we rely just on our bodies to perceive our environment then our perceived world would be very small. Vision, as well as the sense of smell and the sense of hearing, gives us a means to perceive the world at a safe distance. That is, vision allows us to extend our perception of the world beyond our physical bodies.

Read the rest of this entry »

  1. Ben Goertzel is a researcher with similar research interests
  2. kinesthesis – the ability to feel movements of the limbs and body.

The Virtual Autonomous Learner: An Introduction

October 26th, 2010

virtual autonomous learner

This post, an introduction to my thesis topic, a virtual autonomous learner or VAL for short, is aimed at a general audience. Though, I am sure anyone with research interest in: evolution, ecology, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, artificial neural networks, education, virtual simulation, computation, and all things related to the body and the mind, especially embodied cognition, would find this post interesting.

For those of you with short attention spans like myself, I offer you this quick and simple explanation of what VAL is:

virtual autonomous learner = artificial intelligence.

Simple, right? However, if you stick around I will explain why this equation is not really true. And, in fact, VAL is not AI – it’s something new.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Cognitive Architecture Primer

October 9th, 2010

Cognitive ArchitectureThe expression cognitive architecture, like the name implies, is an architecture of cognition. Cognition, in this context, refers to any thought process (i.e., perception, memory, learning or language). Architecture, also in this context, can be seen as a computational blueprint or computation model, the blueprint being a diagram which lays out the framework of computational construction (set of rules to follow). Basically, a blueprint gives all the information one needs in order to build the structure, in this case a cognitive task. In this sense, a cognitive architecture is a metaphorical blueprint that illustrates the essential structures and relationships of different components that make up how we think. Hence, for the purpose of this post, a cognitive architecture is any theoretical or practical system that attempts to explain or simulate the broad range of human thought processes.

Read the rest of this entry »

iPad vs The Slate

October 3rd, 2010

You know you’re getting older when you start sentences with, “I remember when…”, more on this later.

I have been wanting to talk about the iPad & the slate for a long time, mostly because of the profound educational potential of mobile computing, but also from a historic and design aspect. Two events pushed me over the “passive/active” writing threshold, one Old & one New. Now I will share both of them with you.

First, let’s briefly go over some important concepts.

Read the rest of this entry »