Does cognition predate life? A philosophy-inspired engineering approach to defining and testing proto-cognitive processes in inert matter

Project Details


Herein we will define and operationalise proto-cognition processes, and we will develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) models informed by this definition to explore proto-cognition in inert matter. There is no consensus on the boundary between cognitive and non-cognitive systems. The terms proto-cognition and basal cognition are generating controversy. Neuron-based cognition is different from anything possible in single-celled organisms, but is dependent on these basic processes. If elementary forms of information processing are a kind of cognition, can they also occur in non-living chemical systems? This project will answer this question using Generative AI, a technique utilised to describe how a dataset is generated, in terms of a probabilistic model, and by sampling from this model generate new data. Paired with deep learning, it has been used to teach machines how to paint or compose music. We propose to use AI to model systems at the threshold towards proto-cognitive abilities with the objectiv
Short titlePhilosophy-inspired engineering
Effective start/end date18/01/2418/07/25

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure


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