It has been some time now since we published this book. At the time I was too busy working at Barcelona City Council and could not publish a post on this blog. It is now time to do so.
Chapters 5 and 6 of the book are based on my PhD thesis and I am proud to see it published within the more ellaborate framework of this book.
From the official summary of the book: “Sensorimotor Life draws on current theoretical developments in the enactive approach to life and mind. It examines and expands the premises of the sciences of the human mind, while developing an alternative picture closer to people’s daily experiences. Enactive ideas are applied and extended, providing a theoretically rich, naturalistic account of meaning and agency. The book includes a dynamical systems description of different types of sensorimotor regularities or sensorimotor contingencies; a dynamical interpretation of Piaget’s theory of equilibration to ground the concept of sensorimotor mastery; and a theory of agency as organized networks of sensorimotor schemes, as well as its implications for embodied subjectivity.”
We present the first model of metabolism-based chemotaxis that accomplishes chemotaxis without transmembrane receptors or signal transduction proteins, through the direct modulation of flagellar rotation by metabolite concentrations. The minimal model recreates chemotactic patterns found in real bacteria, illuminating some previous work metabolism-dependent chemotaxis. A nice example of the inpiration taken from an autonomous perspective on agency, linking metabolism and behaviour.
The paper I wrote together with Matthew Egbert and Ezequiel Di Paolo got accepted and will be soon published at the Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Artificial Life. It is entitled Behavioral Metabolution: Metabolism Based Behavior Enables New Forms of Adaptation and Evolution and it addresses, the evolutionary scale interaction between metabolism and behavior, using a simulation of a bacteria-like moving protocell whose behavioral architecture is constituted by metabolism itself.
I am presenting this poster at the CogSys2010 Conference in Zurich. The poster shows some results of a simulation model I developed long ago (almost 5 years ago!) on a reinforcement learning task with evolutionary robotics, using homeostatic plasticity on the CTRNN controllers. I am currently writing a paper with Ezequiel Di Paolo on the details of the simulation model. The agents are capable to display a developmental process (connection weights are initialized at value 0), to solve an operant conditioning task and display the spontaneous formation of habits.
I joined Matthew Egbert and Ezequiel di Paolo on this paper exploring the emergence of viability boundaries on a simulated protocell and quantifying its behavioural adaptivity in relation to such boundaries. The paper addresses some key issues regarding the origins of norms and adaptive behaviour. It got published on the Tenth European Conference on Artificial Life, ECAL09, Budapest, September 13-16, 2009, Springer Verlag.
TheJournal of Adaptive Behaviorhas recently published a target article by Barbara Webb entitled “Animats vs. Animals”. I was invited to write a critical response to her paper and joined Anthony Chemero to defend a variety of models in science, ranging from the most concrete to the most abstract.