School of Computer Science THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM CoSy project CogX project

Genomes for self-constructing, self-modifying
information-processing architectures

Draft Abstract for talk at SGAI-2010 Workshop
on Bio-inspired and Bio-Plausible Cognitive Robotics

Aaron Sloman
Work with J.M.Chappell

Last updated: 17 Nov 2010
Installed: 17 Nov 2010


Between the earliest proto-organisms and modern complex animals,
evolution has produced hugely varied physical forms, physical
behaviours, life-cycles, and modes of reproduction.
All use information of various kinds (along with matter and energy).
Information contents control internal and external processes:
including changes through learning and development of individuals,
and in genome development by evolution. Information contents are
also involved in social and cultural changes.

I conjecture that animal intelligence involves far more diversity in
forms of information-processing than we have dreamed of so far, and
that major sources of that diversity lie in various layers of
complexity in the physical, biological, and social environments in
which evolution and individual development occur.
Contrary to assumptions of many researchers interested in
embodiment, some of the more abstract features of the environment
(e.g. rigidity and diversity of 3-D terrain structures) can have a
common influence on evolution of information-processing in animals
with very different neural mechanisms, sensory and motor systems and
morphology, though implementations of common functionality can
differ enormously.
The ontologies currently used for observation and
theory-construction by most neuroscientists, psychologists,
biologists, and AI/Robotics researchers cannot accommodate all of
those features, seriously restricting the explanatory power of
theories using current ontologies.

I shall address some ways of overcoming those limitations, in part
by illustrating environmental features that have received little
attention, and in part by decomposing some of the functions of a

The talk will build on ideas in

    Jackie Chappell  and Aaron Sloman,
    Natural and artificial meta-configured altricial
    information-processing systems, in
    Int. J. of Unconventional Computing. vol 3, No 3, 2007 pp. 211--239,

    Aaron Sloman,
    What's information, for an organism or intelligent machine?
        How can a machine or organism mean?,
    In Information and Computation, Eds. G. Dodig-Crnkovic and M. Burgin,
    World Scientific, 2010,

Maintained by Aaron Sloman
School of Computer Science
The University of Birmingham