"To Grow An Ear"
Sensory Evolution in Artificial Devices
Speaker: Peter Cariani, Research Associate
Eaton Peabody Laboratory
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Wednesday 13 December 95
@Cybersmith in Harvard Square
42 Church Street, Cambridge MA
4 - 5 pm
Information about Cybersmith:
Dr. Cariani will present the general problem of linking artificial
devices to their environments via sensors and effectors, and
how sensing and effecting operations differ from pure computation.
He will outline how artificial devices can adaptively construct
their own sensors in order to better perform classifications.
As an example, he will describe an electrochemical device that
was built in the 1950's by Gordon Pask which evolved de novo
the ability to detect and discriminate sounds (hence the title
of the talk). He will discuss how such devices could act as adaptive
"front-ends" for trainable classifiers that would automatically
find primitive features appropriate for a particular real-world
Issues that arise include:
- How is a robot qualitatively different from a computer?
- How can we get real-world semantics into artificial devices?
- What are the general capabilities and limitations of trainable
machines, such as neural nets?
- How can qualitatively new functions emerge in artificial
- What does it take to make a device "epistemically autonomous"?
The speaker, Peter Cariani, did his doctoral work with theoretical
biologist Howard Pattee on problems of functional emergence in
organisms and devices. He is currently a Research Associate at
the Eaton Peabody Laboratory of Auditory Physiology, Massachusetts
Eye and Ear Infirmary, where he is investigating temporal pattern
codes for pitch and speech in the brain.