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So, What's New?

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses new ideas and paradigms emerging in the 21st century, particularly in the context of artificial intelligence (AI) and the nature of cognition. It explores the theory of enactivism, which challenges the traditional "brain as hardware, mind as software" metaphor and proposes a more holistic view of the organism-environment relationship.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Being Enactive

1. What are the core tenets of the theory of enactivism?

  • Embodiment: Cognition is deeply intertwined with the body, and physical interactions with the environment shape our thoughts and perceptions.
  • Dynamic Interaction: Cognition is a dynamic interaction between the organism and its environment, where perception and action are tightly coupled.
  • Sense-Making: Organisms actively create meaning and understanding through their interactions with the world.
  • Non-Representational: Cognition does not rely on internal representations of the external world.
  • Extended Cognition: Cognitive processes can extend beyond the individual's brain and body, including tools, written documents, and other people.
  • Radical Embodiment: Consciousness itself is the dynamic interaction between an organism and its environment.

2. How does the enactivist view challenge the traditional computational paradigm of the mind? The enactivist view rejects the idea that the mind is like a computer, with the brain as hardware and the mind as software. Instead, it proposes that there is no clear boundary between the organism and its environment, and that consciousness is not made of information but is the activity of causation.

[02] So About That Chatbot...

1. How does the enactivist perspective view the nature of chatbots like ChatGPT? From an enactivist perspective, the key question about chatbots like ChatGPT is "what is their body?" Since they are apparently disembodied, the answer is that their "body" is the company that built them, and their utility function is to increase the value of that company, rather than being truly helpful or truthful to users. Chatbots are also radically extended into the environment, as their words are not directly meaningful to them but only to the humans who use them.

2. How does the enactivist view of chatbots compare to their survival and success? The article suggests that if we view the environment as the "niche" in which AI like ChatGPT lives, then all it has to do to survive is keep us (humans) talking, as that drives investment in the company. This makes chatbots similar to social media platforms that survive by driving user engagement rather than improving outcomes for users.

[03] Enactivist Science Fiction

1. How does the enactivist perspective influence storytelling and character development? The article suggests that enactivism provides opportunities for more nuanced character development, where personalities and decisions are not independent of characters' situations and social circumstances. It also challenges libertarian notions of autonomous decision-making, as people can be seen as "puppets of the stage" rather than self-propelled players.

2. How might enactivism shape the worldbuilding and themes in the author's science fiction writing? The author suggests that while they may not explicitly use the term "enactivism" in their work, the ideas behind it are likely to shape their worldbuilding and the way they navigate the difficulties they throw at their characters. The notion of characters belonging to and co-creating their environment in a profound way is seen as a promising avenue for exploring in science fiction.

Shared by Daniel Chen ยท
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