Archive for February, 2008


Posted in Uncategorized on February 28, 2008 by mpcarino

I would like to expand on the topic of representation, discussing it in more depth. I would address the questions of whether computers and machines can represent objects in a meaningful way and if so how they might be able to do it. I would also like to compare these methods with how we as human beings represent the world.

(So apparently I never posted this even though I had written it over 2 weeks ago. I was searching through the page looking to see what Peter might have commented, about my idea and maybe give me an idea to narrow it a bit and I realized that it doesn’t exist. I don’t know if I deleted it or just never posted it… All I know is it was still saved to my drafts and I might as well post it now.)



Posted in Uncategorized on February 28, 2008 by derekeganonanderson

I regularly relegate the responsibility of remembering all the facts that I learn in school to my notebooks.  These artifacts are made of paper, and when ink is applied to the paper in a particular fashion, the notebooks encode information for my use at a later time.  This allows me to remember a greater number of facts than I could otherwise, and remember them in significantly greater detail.

The notebook is a cognitive artifact because it embodies the process of memory storage in a location outside of my brain.  This function, memory, is most certainly (and usually) internalized.  The addition of the cognitive artifact, however, allows greater precision and provides a memory that is less subject to losing information.  This is a great benifit in the endeavor to learn a large amount of new material over a long period of time, allowing the user of the notebook to recall a degree of information which would be all but impossible without the notebook.  If there is a drawback to using such a cognitive artifact, it is that one who records facts in a notebook may be less inclined to actually internalise those facts.  Such a person is then rendered dependent on actually physically looking at the notebook in order to access the information recorded there.

Midterm Proposal

Posted in Uncategorized on February 28, 2008 by derekeganonanderson

This post was made in the wrong section last week (but was made on time!):

For my midterm project, I intend to write a paper about intention in physical objects, or systems of physical objects.  This paper will raise the question of what  sorts of things can have intentionality, and following from Searle’s chinese room argument, I expect that my inquiry will lead to the mind-body problem.  I will then discuss the different positions that one might take on this problem, and flesh out the implications of each stance for intentionality in A.I.

Introducing the iCog

Posted in Weekly Assignments on February 26, 2008 by crodan2

The cognitive artifact I’ve chosen to discuss is the one that currently affects my life the most – the touch ipod. In fact, I’ve been changed by it, not because this one object by itself is the key to happiness but because it is a mechanism for maintaining information and having it displayed in a logical fashion upon recall.

Essentially, the itouch has allowed me to remember all of the small ideas and thoughts that always flow in and out of my mind when I’m going about other activities (work, school) which require their own amount of my brain’s processing power. This way the “back burner” is never turned to “LOW” because the mini-computer I hold in my plam to write this very post allows me to systematically maintain complex thoughts and recall them instantly.

I look at this machine as an extension of my memory, and confidence in it subconsciously allows me to maintain many layes of thought automatically. For instance, whenever I’m walking and I get a business idea, I whip out the touch and rapidly fire off commands that are interpreted and edited by the computer. Providing you can type as fast as you can think, there is the possibility of maintaining a select group of thoughts (categories).

Also, the phone has an increasing number of applications (such as weather widget, as discussed in a previous post), and a calendar, which reminds me to go to class. It provides cues for the user and is able to adapt and supprt the lifestyle of anyone, provided they can learn how to provide input through the small keyboard!

The Diary

Posted in Uncategorized on February 26, 2008 by davindo
Since last summer I have been writing in a diary almost every day.  The diary is a piece of me.  It has memories and thoughts that even I wouldn’t now think about.  If someone were to pick it up (which they wouldn’t be able to, since it is set to explode with another person’s touch), they would have a piece of me in their hand.

Of all the entries I have written, I almost never actually read them again.  I intend to use the information later, when I have changed, physically and mentally.  The diary is almost its own entity, another person’s ideas and experiences which I can imagine very well.  I can’t know though everything that the diary represents, even though its my own stories.  The state of mind and my emotions as I was writing, are not always clear, even to me.

Lately I have been lazy and have not been writing in it.  It might be because it feels like a chore.  Whenever I write down something that happened, I usually am reliving it as I write it, and right now school is not that exciting, so I have to live a boring day twice.  This artifact though is definitely a powerful one that I want to have later in my life.  It is a guide for success as well a reminder of mistakes.

The sound recorder as a cognitive artifact.

Posted in Weekly Assignments on February 26, 2008 by wazdingo

The sound recorder is a powerful cognitive artifact today, used in hundreds of applications for varying reasons. It is powerful for many reasons, mainly that it replaces several cognitive faculties including memory, listening, absorbing, and recording information. Unlike the phone in which one must still respond and understand the voice coming from the other side, and which only remembers phone numbers and other small pieces of information a sound recorder can cover a whole semester’s worth of information when paired with a computer. It replaces the memory simply because whatever you were supposed to remember from a lecture meetings or any other form of listening event you can later have repeated back to you as many times as you like. Because often paper and pens aren’t available at certain kinds of meetings it goes further than that because of its small size, discrete method and its less likelihood to be a distraction. It replaces the need to listen clearly during any form of meeting because whatever information you were meant to retain has now been stored on this device can be listened to multiple times until either the information is absorbed or re-recorded in another form. If just used to absorb information by listening to it in repetition then it has effectively removed recording information and the primary way of absorbing knowledge by recording and studying it. In the past before the sound recorder lectures and meetings were a very different style format. All information had to be instantly heard recorded and then later absorbed through rigorous study. If any information was missed in the meeting or class the only way to get it again was either to ask the teacher or to cooperate with another student or employee. This meant more time consumed from your what you have to complete your task and often too much information. With a sound recorder it is easy to fast forward, ignore or all together skip information you will not need in the future. The video recorder is an even more powerful tool to accomplish these goals but is not as versatile nor as available for use because of size and legal restrictions. It would be very awkward for someone to walk into a lecture and sit in the back of class listening to the lecture with a video camera on his shoulder. In recent times especially on news media the sound and video recorder has been abused to misinform and misrepresent information. If one were to attend the press conferences, the events, and the other things reported on by the news they would know the truth but because we rely on what we hear from them we can only believe what they show until given a reason not to. In a recent interview with a professional wrestler John Cena posted on several video sites including youtube and ebaumsworld, the media skewered what Mr. Cena actually said by cutting out keys parts of the interview. From what the media presented as the whole interview it seemed that Mr. Cena was admitting to using steroids and angered by the question, but when the full video is played following the released video you see that he in fact said that he had never once used steroids and he thought that steroids were destroying all kinds of sports. This counter point shows that not all cognitive artifacts are always useful to us and can lead to many problems.

Dream Journal

Posted in Uncategorized on February 26, 2008 by wkoller

A cognitive artifact that I frequently used in high school (not as much in college) is a dream journal. Most people I talk to say they rarely remember their dreams, and if they do remember them it is typically only right after they wake up and then they tend to gradually forget them throughout the day. By waking up and writing down my dreams immediately after they happen it has actually improved the overall memory I have of my dreams. Even if I don’t write a dream down I tend to remember them very vividly and I notice the frequency in dreams that I have has increased (people dream every night, but I’m referencing the frequency in which I remember them here). I had more vivid dreams and remembered them more often in high school when I used the dream journal more often, now they have declined a bit but it is still a cognitive artifact I have used. In addition to improving the memory I have of my dreams, I it is a good example of a cognitive artifact also in the way that it increased my perception in my dreams in a way. I have been able to have lucid dreams where I could change the dream without waking up. The advantages of using it is simply having more intense dreams and overall a better memory of them (although I believe it helped my memory of everything throughout my day overall), while the only disadvantage I could think of is remembering particularly bad dreams very well.