How many features does it take to change a lightbulb?

Abstract

In the 1970s and 80s Cognitive Science and Cognitive Linguistics and Computational Psycholinguistics emerged as the boxes around our disciplines started to become straight-jackets, and research out of one discipline would start to make waves in others. The toy systems of Artificial Intelligence were reaching limits, and introspection by programmers and engineers was reinventing square wheels without any biological plausibility and in ignorance of relevant work across the cognitive sciences, while conversely, work in other fields often lacked the understanding of computability and complexity necessary to ensure that models were realistic and computationally plausible. This is the starting point for the research program I have been undertaking for the last 35 years, seeking to build intelligent computer systems and computational cognitive models. The idea has been to try to build an intelligent system modelled on the way a baby learns about the world, culture, society and language. Conversely, the idea has been to explore theories from psychology, linguistics and neuroscience through the medium of computational models.


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