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Robot Brains: Circuits and Systems for Conscious Machines by Pentti O. Haikonen

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7

Machine cognition

7.1 PERCEPTION, COGNITION, UNDERSTANDING AND MODELS

A robot that operates with reactive actions only does not have to know what it is doing; it just executes its actions as soon as the environment triggers them. Eventually this is not enough. Robots are needed that know what they are doing; cognitive robots are needed.

The term ‘cognition’ derives from the Latin word cognoscere, which means ‘to know’. In cognitive psychology and neuroscience the term ‘cognition’ is usually used to refer to the processes of the mind, such as perception (which is discussed in Chapter 5, ‘Machine Perception’), attention, reasoning, planning, imagination and memory. This kind of division is artificial, for in the brain these operations are not independent of each other and utilize the same processes and locations. Nevertheless, this division gives a general idea of the topic. Cognition may also be seen as a system's process of making sense: What is this all about and what should be done about it? Without renewing this implicit question continuously a cognitive being would not survive. This view of cognition links it with understanding and the mental means of achieving understanding, including reasoning and imagination.

Obviously answering the question ‘What is this all about and what should be done about it?’ begins with the determination of the meaning of the percepts of the situation. In the cognitive machine the direct meanings of percept signal vectors are hardwired to the point-of-origin ...

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