VT
The Ecological Approach to
Mobile Communication
Barry Smith
Institute for Formal Ontology and Medical
Information Science
University of Leipzig
http://ifomis.de
2
Frank Zappa
everything in the world is resonating to
the One Big Note
Murray Schaefer Tuning of the World
Tony Schwarz Resonance theory of
communication
L (advertising follower of MacLuhan)
3
Institute for Formal Ontology
and Medical Information Science
4
Roman Ingarden
Material Ontology
Realism
Theory of Causality
Theory of Relatively
Isolated Systems
Modularity
5
Adolf Reinach
Ontology of Social Reality
6
Maurice Merleau-Ponty &
J. J. Gibson
Ontology of Cognitive Prosthetics
7
8
Part One: Ontology of Cognitive
Prosthetics
Part Two: Situated Computing and the
Intentionality of E. Coli
Part Three: How is Unified Cognition
Possible?
9
Technologies of Mobile
Communication
Global Positioning
Systems (GPS)
10
Technologies of Mobile
Communication
Digital cameras
11
Technologies of Mobile
Communication
Digital
video cameras
12
Technologies of Mobile
Communication
Microsensors
chemical
biological
… wearable computers
… brain-wave sensors to catch
cheaters
13
PalmPilot context aware
Display the wiring/plumbing behind this
wall
Display seismographic features of a terrain
a geologist is viewing
Display vital signs of a patient a doctor is
examining
14
European Media Lab,
Heidelberg
Tourism information services
Intelligent, speaking camera plus map
display
Display all non-smoking restaurants
within walking distance of the castle
Read out a history of the building my
camera is pointing to
15
Intelligent mobile phones
Inform a person walking past a bar
of his buddies in the bar
16
How to Understand
Mobile Information
Systems?
17
Traditional Syntactic/Semantic
Approach to Information
Systems
011011
101010
001000
100010
010010
010010 derived intentionality
010001
001111
001001
011011
110110
111011
18
Husserl’s Methodological Solipsism
noesis
noesis
noesis
noesis
noesis
noesis
noesis
noesis
noema
noema
noema
noema
noema
noema
noema
noema
19
Fodor’s Methodological Solipsism
011011
101010
001000
100010
010010
010010
010001
001111
001001
011011
110110
111011
20
Knowledge =
what can be transmitted down a wire
(effectively reducible to patterns of 1s
and 0s)
21
Humans, Machines, and the
Structure of Knowledge
Harry M. Collins
SEHR, 4: 2 (1995)
22
Knowledge-down-a-wire
Imagine a 5-stone weakling who has his brain
loaded with the knowledge of a champion
tennis player.
He goes to serve in his first match
-- Wham! –
his arm falls off.
He just doesn't have the bone structure or
muscular development to serve that hard.
23
Types of knowledge/ability/skill
1. those that can be transferred simply by
passing signals from one
brain/computer to another.
2. those that can’t:
24
Sometimes it is the body which
knows (the hardware)
25
I know where the book is
= I know how to find it
I know what the square root of 2489 is
= I know how to calculate it
26
Not all calculations are done
inside the head
Not all thinking is done inside the head
27
A. Clark, Being There
we rely on
external scaffolding = maps, models, tools,
language, culture
we act so as to simplify cognitive tasks by
"leaning on" the structures in our
environment.
28
Merlin Donald
Origins of the modern mind:
Three stages in the evolution of culture
and cognition
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
Press, 1991
29
Merlin Donald
radical transition in the emergence of
modern human culture when humans
began to construct elaborate symbolic
systems ranging from cuneiforms,
hieroglyphics, and ideograms to
alphabetic languages and mathematics
30
Merlin Donald
from this point human biological memory
becomes an inadequate vehicle for storing
and processing our collective knowledge.
from this point the modern mind is a hybrid
structure built from vestiges of earlier
biological stages together with new
external symbolic memory devices
31
Types of knowledge/ability/skill
1. those that can be transferred simply by
passing signals from one
brain/computer to another.
2. those that can’t:
-- here the "hardware" is important;
abilities/skills contained
(a) in the body
(b) in the natural world
(c) in the marked-up world
32
From
The Methodological Solipsist Approach
to Information Processing (Fodor,
Husserl)
To
The Ecological Approach to Information
Processing (Gibson, Merleau-Ponty)
33
Ecology
The digital streams connecting one
mobile phone to another are not so
important
What is important is the environment in
which both are embedded
34
Deliberative intellectual reasoning is not
so important
Hayek: General concepts are tools for
being lazy
35
Fodorian Psychology
To understand human cognition we
should study the mind/brain in
abstraction from its real-world
environment
(as if it were a hermetically sealed
Cartesian ego)
36
Gibsonian Ecological
Psychology
To understand human cognition we
should study the moving, acting human
person as it exists in its real-world
environment
and taking account how it has evolved
into this real-world environment
We are like tuning forks – tuned to the
environment which surrounds us
37
Fodorian View of Information
Systems
To understand information systems we
should study their manipulation of
syntactic strings
38
Gibsonian Ecological View of
Information Systems
To understand information systems we
should study the hardware as it exists
embedded in its real-world environment
and taking account the environment for
which it was designed and built
Information systems are like tuning forks
– they resonate in tune to their
surrounding environments
39
Merleau-Ponty
what we see, what we experience, what
the world in which we find ourselves is
like
depend upon our purposes of the
moment
40
The Basic Layer of Experience
When seeing an event, reading a page
we find, as a basic layer of experience, a
whole already pregnant with an irreducible
meaning: not sensations with gaps between
them, into which memories may be supposed
to slip, but the features, the layout of a
landscape or a word, in spontaneous accord
with the intentions of the moment ‘
(Phenomenology of Perception, 21f.)
41
Special Role of the Body
If my arm is resting on the table I
should never think of saying that it is
beside the ash-tray in the way in which
the ash-tray is beside the telephone.
The outline of my body is a frontier
which ordinary spatial relations do not
cross. This is because its parts are
inter-related in a peculiar way: they are
not spread out side by side, but
enveloped in each other. (PoP, p. 98)
42
Affordances
The bench, scissors, pieces of leather
offer themselves to the subject as
poles of action … they delimit a certain
situation … which calls for a certain
mode of resolution, a certain kind of
work. The body is no more than an
element in the system of the subject
and his world, and the task to be
performed elicits the necessary
movements from him by a sort of
remote attraction (PoP, p. 106)
43
Gibson: Environment as Array of
Affordances
“The affordances of the environment are
what it offers the animal, what it
provides or furnishes, either for good
or evil.”
James J. Gibson, The Ecological
Approach to Visual Perception
44
Gibson: We are tuned to our
environment
the phenomenal forces at work in my
visual field elicit from me, without any
calculation on my part, the motor
reactions which establish the most
effective balance between them,
the conventions of our social group, or
our set of listeners, immediately elicit
from us the words, attitudes and tone
which are fitting. (PoP, p. 106)
45
The Ecological Approach to
Human Communication
When I motion my friend to come
nearer, my intention is not a thought
prepared within me and I do not
perceive the signal in my body. I
beckon across the world, I beckon over
there, where my friend is; the distance
between us, his consent or refusal are
immediately read in my gesture; there
is not a perception followed by a
movement, for both form a system
which varies with the whole. (PoP, p.
46
111)
Embrangled Styles
When I chat with a friend whom I know
well, each of his remarks and each of
mine contains, in addition to the
meaning it carries for everybody else, a
host of references to the main
dimensions of his character and mine,
without our needing to recall previous
conversations with each other. These
acquired worlds … (PoP, p. 130)
47
Geometry in the Legs
the word ‘sediment’ should not lead us
astray: … acquired knowledge is not an inert
mass in the depths of our consciousness. My
flat is, for me, not a set of closely associated
images. It remains a familiar domain round
about me only as long as I still have ‘in my
hands’ or ‘in my legs’ the main distances and
directions involved, and as long as from my
body intentional threads run out towards it.
(PoP, p. 130)
48
the unity of the body is not
simple coordination
I desire a certain result and the relevant
tasks are spontaneously distributed
amongst the appropriate segments ..I
can continue leaning back in my chair
provided that I stretch my arm forward
…. All these movements are available
to us in virtue of their common
meaning. (PoP, 149)
49
Language
The speaking subject does not think of
the sense of what he is saying, nor
does he visualize the words which he is
using. To know a word or a language is
… not to be able to bring into play any
pre-established nervous network. But
neither is it to retain some ‘pure
recollection’ of the word … (PoP, p. 180)
50
Speaking as: Being Faithful to
One’s Self
I do not need to visualize the word in
order to know and pronounce it. It is
enough that I possess its articulatory
and acoustic style as one of the
modulations, one of the possible uses
of my body. (PoP, p. 180)
51
Language
one particular cultural object [plays] a crucial
role in the perception of other people:
language. In the experience of dialogue,
there is constituted between the other
person and myself a common ground; my
thought and his are interwoven into a single
fabric, my words and those of my
interlocutor are called forth by the state of
the discussion, and they are inserted into a
shared operation of which neither of us is the
creator. (PoP, p. 354)
52
A miniature civil society
We have a dual being, where the other
is for me no longer a mere bit of
behaviour in my transcendental field,
nor I in his; we are collaborators for
each other in consummate reciprocity.
Our perspectives merge into each other
and we co-exist through a common
world. (PoP, p. 354)
53
Spontaneous unification
Consider how the human mind copes with
complex phenomena in the social realm, e.g.
a promise, which involves (REINACH):
experiences (speaking, perceiving),
intentions,
language,
action,
deontic powers,
background habits,
mental competences,
records and representations
54
Prosthetic Cognition
When a typist performs the necessary
movements on the typewriter, these
movements are governed by an
intention, but the intention does not
posit the keys as objective locations. It
is literally true that the subject who
learns to type incorporates the key-
bank space into his bodily space.
(PoP, p. 145)
55
The Organist
Between the musical essence of the piece as
it is shown in the score and the notes which
actually sound round the organ, so direct a
relation is established that the organist’s
body and his instrument are merely the
medium of this relationship. Henceforth the
music exists by itself and through it all the
rest exists. There is here no place for any
‘memory’ of the position of the stops, and it
is not in objective space that the organist in
fact is playing. (PoP, p. 145)
56
The Organist
In reality his movements during
rehearsal are consecratory gestures:
they draw affective vectors, discover
emotional sources, and create a space
of expressiveness as the movements of
the augur delimit the templum.
57
TEMPLUM
from the Greek „terminus“: to cut off
templum = any place which was
circumscribed and separated by the
augurs from the rest of the land by a
certain solemn formula
58
59
Part One: Ontology of Cognitive
Prosthetics
Part Two: Situated Computing and the
Intentionality of E. Coli
Part Three: How is Unified Cognition
Possible?
60
Computerized Agents
computer systems
situated in an environment
capable of flexible, autonomous action in
that environment
interacting with other agents, including:
communicating, negotiating,
coordinating actions
often within some organizational context
61
Rodney Brooks
62
Orthodox methodology
described by Brooks
as the SMPA view
63
SMPA
Sense Model Plan Act
the agent first senses its environment
through sensors
then uses this data to build a model of
the world
then produces a plan to achieve goals
then acts on this plan
64
SMPA
belongs to the same methodological universe
as Fodorian cognitive science (solipsism)
If we want to build an intelligent agent, there
need to be representations (‘models’) inside
the agent of the domain within which the
agent acts
The agent’s reasoning processes act not on
the real-world environment but on these
models
65
Brooks’ Engineering Approach
takes its inspiration from evolutionary
biology
lends very little weight to the role of
representations or models
AI should use the world in all its
complexity in producing systems that
react directly to the world
66
The starting-point for our
understanding of intentionality
should be the insect’s
relations to its
surrounding physical
environment
67
68
Intentionality tactile and
chemical
69
The movement of E. coli as a
biased random walk
In the absence of a stimulus, E. coli simply wanders
around, smoothly swimming by rotating its flagella
counterclockwise.
These runs are terminated by chaotic events, called
tumbles, when flagella rotate clockwise.
Following a tumble, the cell runs again, picking a
new direction, more or less at random.
When the cells swim in a spatial gradient of a
chemical attractant, runs that happen to carry it up
the gradient are extended, whereas those that
happen to carry it down the gradient are not.
Thus, the cell drifts in a favourable direction …
70
The life of E. coli
is a life of falling
down
sugar
wells
71
the bacterium is a single cell,
Thus it does not have a multicelled nervous
system
But it has receptor molecules acting as
sensors, it has a signal transduction system,
and a highly complex machinery of movable
flagella.
Different receptors react to different stimuli,
including single oxygen molecules as well as
bigger carbohydrate molecules.
See Bruce Alberts et al.: The molecular biology of the
cell
72
E. coli bacteria
react to differences in concentrations
of sugar molecules with a behavior
shift (as a dog reacts to a smelt trace of
another animal)
73
Attribution of intentionality
does not depend upon the existence of a
nervous system
we can ascribe simple biological intentionality
to single, movable cells;
intentionality is dependent only upon the
existence of sensors, information mediation
(automatic interpretation, if you like)
and motor responses resulting in adaptable
behavior.
74
Frederik Stjernfelt, “Biosemiotics and
Formal Ontology", Semiotica 127 - 1/4
1999, 537-66
75
E coli bacteria
are attracted by peaks of sugar density
– but they can be fooled
76
Brooks’ Engineering Approach
An intelligent system embodies a number of
distinct layers of activity (compare: subpersonal layers of human cognition)
These layers operate independently and
connect directly to the environment outside
the system
Each layer operates as a complete system that
copes in real time with a changing
environment
Layers evolve through interaction with the
environment (artificial
insects/vehicles/teenagers SMS-module…)
77
Brooks: An intelligent system
must be situated
it is situatedness which gives the
processes within each layer meaning
because
the world serves to unify the different
layers together and to make them
compatible/mutually adjusting
78
Organisms, especially humans,
fix their beliefs not only in their heads but in their
worlds, as they attune themselves differently to
different parts of the world as a result of their
experience.
And they pull the same trick with their memories,
not only by rearranging their parsing of the world
(their understanding of what they see), but by
marking it.
They place traces out there [and this] changes what
they will be confronted with the next time it comes
around. Thus they don't have to carry their
memories with them.
“Intelligence without Representation”
79
J. J. Gibson The Ecological
Approach to Visual Perception
we are like (multi-layered) tuning forks
– tuned to the environment which
surrounds us
(we have evolved in such a way as to
be attuned to our environment;
in part because we ourselves have
created it via what Lewontin calls
‘ecosystem engineering’)
80
Organisms are tuning forks
They have evolved to resonate automatically
and directly to those quality regions in their
niche which are relevant for survival
– perception is a form of automatic resonation
– when the insect stumbles through uneven
terrain the insect’s motor system is
resonating to the reality beyond
81
Merlin Donald
the modern mind is a hybrid structure built
from vestiges of earlier biological stages
together with new
external symbolic memory devices
together with cognitive prosthetic
devices
(keyboards, touch-screens,
mobile phones, … )
82
A New Biological Theory of
Intentionality
– cognitive beings like ourselves
resonate to speech acts and to
linguistic records
– cognitive beings like ourselves
resonate deontically
– mathematicians resonate to the
structures of mathematical reality
83
Gibson’s Ecological Approach
To understand cognition we should study the
moving, acting organism as it exists in its
real-world environment
and for human organisms this is a social
environment which includes records and
traces of prior actions in the form of
communication systems (languages),
storage systems (libraries), transport
systems (roads), legal systems
84
Humans
resonate on many levels to patterns
and to patterns of those patterns
Humans differ from animals in that they
can train themselves to resonate to
new sorts of patterns
(… nursing expertise …)
85
Gibson: Environment as Array of
Affordances
“The affordances of the environment are
what it offers the animal, what it
provides or furnishes, either for good
or evil.”
The environment of a commercial
organism includes affordances such as
prices.
86
The world of affordances
includes not merely walls, doors, furniture,
temperature gradients, patterns of movement
of air and water
but also: traffic signs, instructions posted on
notice boards or displayed on computer
screens – whole strata of what is marked by
signs
87
Roger G. Barker’s EcoBehavioral Science
Gibson: Ecological Psychology of Perception
Barker: Ecological Psychology of Social Action
P. Schoggen, Behavior Settings: A Review and
Extension of Roger G. Barker’s Ecological
Psychology. Stanford, CA: Stanford
University Press, 1989.
88
Roger Barker:
Niche as Behavioral Setting
Niches are recurrent settings which
serve as the environments for our
everyday activities:
a newspaper kiosk in the morning rushhour,
your table in the cafeteria,
the 5pm train to Long Island.
89
Behavior Settings
Each behavior setting is associated
with certain standing patterns of
behavior.
We are tuned to an environment of
behavior settings
90
The Systematic Mutual Fittingness
of Behaviour and Setting
The behaviour and the physical
objects … are intertwined in such a way
as to form a pattern that is by no means
random: there is a relation of
harmonious fit between the standard
patterns of behaviour occurring within
the unit and the pattern of its physical
components.
91
Settings, for Barker,
are natural units in no way imposed by
an investigator.
To laymen they are as objective as
rivers and forests
— they are parts of the objective
environment that are experienced as
directly as rain and sandy beaches are
experienced. (Barker 1968, p. 11)
92
Barker on Unity of Social
Reality
“The conceptual incommensurability of
phenomena which is such an obstacle
to the unification of the sciences does
not appear to trouble nature’s units.
Within the larger units, things and
events from conceptually more and
more alien sciences are incorporated
and regulated.”
93
Barker on Unity of Social
Reality
“As far as our behaviour is
concerned, … even the most radical
diversity of kinds and categories need
not prevent integration”
Because we have been tuned both
phylogenetically and ontogenetically to
resonate to environments like this
94
Lacan
The style is the man
to whom one is speaking
95
The life of a human being
is a life of falling
down
style
wells
96
97
Part One: Ontology of Cognitive
Prosthetics
Part Two: Situated Computing and the
Intentionality of E. Coli
Part Three: How is Unified Cognition
Possible?
98
How does a Global Positioning
System work?
Your GPS device knows its
location because at any
given moment it is receiving
quite specific signals from
satellites
and because these signals
contain information to which
it is sensitive in virtue of its
precise location in any given
moment.
99
Organisms are tuning forks
Homing pigeons are sensitive to highly nuanced
features of the earth’s magnetic field.
Human beings are sensitive to the information
contained in other human beings’ faces.
Human beings who can drive are sensitive to
traffic signs, to small variations in movement of
the vehicles around them.
Human beings who can read are sensitive to the
astonishingly variable types of information
contained in printed texts.
100
Recall how the human mind
copes with complex phenomena in the
social realm, involving
utterances,
intentions,
action,
deontic powers,
background habits, style, mental
competences of the speaker,
records and representations
101
How do we, directly and
spontaneously, bring about the
integration of such transcategorial
phenomena?
ANSWER: We do not
It is the world which is responsible for
unification
102
A theory of intentionality
must be a (biologically based) theory of
the sorts of environments, on different
levels of granularity, into which human
beings have evolved and are still
prosthetically evolving
our patterns of behavior and cognition
on different levels are unified together
not via some central monad but by the
world itself
(our environments fit together physically)
103
The riddle of representation
two humans, a monkey, and a robot
are looking at a piece of cheese;
what is common to the
representational processes in their
visual systems?
104
Answer:
The cheese, of course
105
END
106
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