Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology

Front Cover
MIT Press, 1986 - Psychology - 152 pages
13 Reviews
This volume describes Braitenberg vehicles. Braitenberg vehicles are conceived in a thought experiment by the author of this book to illustrate in an evolutive way the abilities of simple agents. The vehicles represent the simplest form of behavior based artificial intelligence or embodied cognition, (i.e. intelligent behavior) that emerges from sensorimotor interaction between the agent and its environment, without any need for an internal memory, representation of the environment, or inference. There are 14 vehicles in all -- a series of hypothetical, self-operating mobile machines that exhibit increasingly sophisticated behavior similar to that in the real biological or neuroscientific world. One might assemble Braitenberg's vehicles like cunning table-top toys that might look like the fantastic Albrecht drawings. Whatever their guise, they behave like living creatures, ranging from simple light-seeking automata to vehicles that an observing psychologist or philosopher might conclude were operated by concealed human beings. Each of the vehicles in the series incorporates the essential features of all the earlier models but represents an evolutionary advance to a higher plateau of complexity. Along the way, they come to embody the instincts of fight or flight, the characteristic behaviors impelled by love and by logic, manifestations of foresight, concept formation, creative thinking, personality, and free will. The author shows that these attributes and patterns of behavior can be internalized into machines using the simplest parts -- a collection of environmental sensors, some wheel-driving motors, various threshold devices, a few fictional (but logically and technologically plausible) components with special properties. The author locates many elements of his fantasy in current brain research in a concluding section of extensive biological notes.
  

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Review: Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology

User Review  - Bill - Goodreads

Just finished re-reading (after about 30 years) this delightful classic on the intersections of biology and engineering (cybernetics) and, occasionally, philosophy. Highly recommended. Read full review

Review: Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology

User Review  - Adrian Herbez - Goodreads

This book had a very large impact for such a slim volume. Reading it gave me a much better appreciation of how intellect can arise out of matter. Highly recommended. Read full review

Contents

Let the Problem of the Mind Dissolve in Your Mind
1
Getting Around
3
Fear and Aggression
6
Love
10
Values and Special Tastes
15
Logic
20
Selection the Impersonal Engineer 2 6
26
Concepts
29
Getting Ideas
50
Vehicle n Rules and Regularities
55
1 Trains of Thought
61
Foresight
70
Egotism and Optimism
80
Biological Notes on the Vehicles
95
McCullochPitts neurons and real neurons
108
Shapes The morphemes of visual perception
123

Space Things and Movements
33
Shapes
43
embodiments of ideas
140
Copyright

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Page 147 - Uttley, AM 1956. Conditional probability machines and conditioned reflexes. In: Automata studies, edited by CE Shannon and J. McCarthy. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Page 147 - Automata studies. Edited by CE Shannon and J. McCarthy, Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 1956, viii + 285 pp. $4.00. This collection of essays is divided into three sections: "Finite Automata," "Turing Machines,
Page 151 - Frequency arrangement in anterior ectosylvian auditory cortex of dog,

About the author (1986)

Valentino Braitenberg is a director of the Max Planck Institute of Biological Cybernetics and Honorary Professor of Information Science at the University of Tübingen, West Germany.

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