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Symbolic Models and Emergent Models: A Review

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1 Author(s)
Juyang Weng ; Dept. of Comput. Sci. & Eng., Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI, USA

There exists a large conceptual gap between symbolic models and emergent models for the mind. Many emergent models work on low-level sensory data, while many symbolic models deal with high-level abstract (i.e., action) symbols. There has been relatively little study on intermediate representations, mainly because of a lack of knowledge about how representations fully autonomously emerge inside the closed brain skull, using information from the exposed two ends (the sensory end and the motor end). As reviewed here, this situation is changing. A fundamental challenge for emergent models is abstraction, which symbolic models enjoy through human handcrafting. The term abstract refers to properties disassociated with any particular form. Emergent abstraction seems possible, although the brain appears to never receive a computer symbol (e.g., ASCII code) or produce such a symbol. This paper reviews major agent models with an emphasis on representation. It suggests two different ways to relate symbolic representations with emergent representations: One is based on their categorical definitions. The other considers that a symbolic representation corresponds to a brain's outside behaviors observed and handcrafted by other outside human observers; but an emergent representation is inside the brain.

Published in:

Autonomous Mental Development, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 1 )