Abstract for AISB 2000: How to Design a Functioning Mind

Abstract for the
Symposium on How to Design a Functioning Mind
17-18th April 2000
At the AISB'00 Convention

AUTHOR William Clocksin,
    Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge

Title: A Narrative Architecture for Functioning Minds: A Social
Constructionist Approach

We aim to build a conceptual framework for artificial
intelligence (AI) that gives priority to social relationships as
the key component of intelligent behaviour. It starts from the
premise that intelligence manifests itself only relative to
specific social and cultural contexts. This is in contrast to one
prevailing view, which sees intelligence as an abstract
capability of the individual based on a capacity for rational
thought. The new approach is not based on the idea that the mind
is a rational processor of symbolic information, nor does it
require the idea that thought is a kind of abstract
problem-solving with a semantics that can be understood
independently of its embodiment. Instead, priority is given to
emotional and mimetic responses that serve to engage the whole
organism in the life of the communities in which it participates.
Intelligence is seen not as the deployment of capabilities for
problem-solving, but as the continual, ever-changing and
unfinished engagement with the environment in terms of
narratives. The construction of the identity of the intelligent
individual involves the appropriation or taking up of positions
within the narratives in which it participates. Thus, the new
approach argues that an individual's intelligent behaviour is
shaped by the meaning ascribed to experience, by its situation in
the social matrix, and by practices of self and of relationship
into which its life is recruited. Classic AI models such as
goal-directed behaviour then can be seen as special cases of
narrative practices instead of ontological foundations. There are
implications for representation and performativity that have
given us new confidence in the form of a "strong AI" attitude.



Recent publications on the topic of the enclosed paper include:

W.F. Clocksin, 1998.  Artificial Intelligence and Human Identity.
 Chapter 6 of Consciousness and Human Identity (J. Cornwell, ed.)
Oxford University Press.

W.F. Clocksin, 1995.  Knowledge Representation and Myth.  Chapter
12 of Nature's Imagination: The Frontiers of Scientific Vision
(J. Cornwell, ed). Oxford University Press.

Keynote speaker on this topic for conferences at Windsor Castle
(1995, 1997), High Leigh (1998) and for the Cambridge Science
Society (1999).

Other recent publications include:

B. Lerner, W.F. Clocksin and C.M. Bishop, 1999. Feature
representation and signal classification in the automatic
analysis of fluorescence in-situ hybridisation images.  The
International Conference on Neural Computation in Science and
Technology, Ma'ale Hachamisha, Israel.

M. Khorsheed and W.F. Clocksin, 1999. Off-line Arabic word
recognition using a hidden markov model.  Statistical Methods for
Image Processing (Satellite Conference of the 52nd ISI Session).
Uppsala, Sweden.

M. Khorsheed and W.F. Clocksin, 1999. Structural features of
cursive Arabic script.  Proc. 10th British Machine Vision
Conference. Nottingham, England, 422-431.