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Information and Meaning in Life, Humans and Robots

By Christophe Menant


Information and meaning exist around us and within ourselves, and the same information can correspond to different meanings. This is true for humans and animals, and is becoming true for robots. We propose here an overview of this subject by using a systemic tool related to meaning generation that has already been published (C. Menant, Entropy 2003). The Meaning Generator System (MGS) is a system submitted to a constraint that generates a meaningful information when it receives an incident information that has a relation with the constraint. The content of the meaningful information is explicited, and its function is to trigger an action that will be used to satisfy the constraint of the system. The MGS has been introduced in the case of basic life submitted to a "stay alive" constraint. We propose here to see how the usage of the MGS can be extended to more complex living systems, to humans and to robots by introducing new types of constraints, and integrating the MGS into higher level systems. The application of the MGS to humans is partly based on a scenario relative to the evolution of body self-awareness toward self-consciousness that has already been presented (C. Menant, Biosemiotics 2003, and TSC 2004). The application of the MGS to robots is based on the definition of the MGS applied to robots functionality, taking into account the origins of the constraints. We conclude with a summary of this overview and with themes that can be linked to this systemic approach on meaning generation

Topics: Computational Neuroscience, Primatology, Evolution, Philosophy of Mind, Evolutionary Psychology, Robotics, Behavioral Analysis, Animal Cognition, Behavioral Biology, Cognitive Psychology, Artificial Intelligence, Epistemology
Year: 2005
OAI identifier:

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