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The role of the predicted present in artificial and natural cognitive systems

posted on 2023-06-07, 19:40 authored by Alan Diamond, Owen Holland, Hugo Margues
In previous work, we have argued that a sophisticated cognitive system with a complex body must possess configurable models of itself (or at least its body) and the world, along with the necessary infrastructure to use the modelled interactions between these two components to select relatively advantageous actions. These models may be used to generate representations of the future (imagination) and the past (episodic memory). In this paper we will explore some problems surrounding the representation of the present arising from the use of such models in the artificial cognitive system under development within the ECCEROBOT project. There are two aspects to consider: the representation of the state of the robot's body within the self model, and the representation of the state of the external world within the world model. In both natural and robotic systems, the processing of the sensory data carrying state information takes a considerable time, and so any estimates of the present states of both the agent and the world would have to be obtained by using predictive models. However, it appears that there is no need for any such representations to be generated in the course of selecting a course of action using self and world models, since representations are only of the future or the past. This may call into question the utility and timing of the apparent perception of the present in humans.


Publication status

  • Published


IOS Press



Presentation Type

  • paper

Event name

Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures 2011 - Proceedings of the Second Annual Meeting of the BICA Society

Event location

Arlington, VA

Event type




Department affiliated with

  • Informatics Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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