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Meta-morphogenesis: Evolution of Mechanisms for Producing Minds

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Due to unfortunate medical problems Prof. Sloman is unavailable to give this talk. A new speaker, Nobel laureate Prof. Brian Josephson will be giving a replacement talk, details can be found here: http://talks.cam.ac.uk/talk/index/36113

Alan Turing’s work on morphogenesis explored how micro-interactions in physicochemical structures might account for global transformations from a fertilized egg to an animal or plant, within a single organism. I’ll outline a rudimentary theory of “meta-morphogenesis” that aims to show how, over generations, interactions between changing environments, changing animal morphology, and previously evolved information-processing capabilities might combine to produce increasingly complex forms of “informed control”, first of physical behaviour, then later also informed control of information-processing. This potentially explains philosophically puzzling features of animal (including human) minds, including the existence of “qualia”. This defines a research programme, that should help us understand how much more remains to be done if we wish to explain how human and animal minds work, or produce machines rivalling biological intelligence. It is not often noticed that in order to understand any kind of mind we need to explore the space of possible minds, and the multifarious requirements they need to satisfy.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Computing and Technology Society (CUCaTS) series.

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