Thursday, August 02, 2007

The importance of Cognitive Science

I bought a couple of books on Cognitive Science from Amazon. It's an increasing field of science and it is very interestingly right in the middle of a couple of fields of research: Psychology, Linguistics, Sociology, Neuroscience, Artificial Intelligence, Anthropology and a couple more.

The importance and application of cogsci is here now and in its fullest, to develop new applications for computers that go beyond the general click-and-do and replication of human action. Cogsci is an adventure into the (partial) replication of human will and need with the objective to filter information, entities or people on our behalf.

Think about social websites that are popping up everywhere. Why do I have to go online? Do I have the time and do I want to browse through paaaaages of irrelevant nonsense just to find something I find remotely interesting? And even if I resolve one particular need at that time, what about all the other stuff that comes next?

So, why consider social networking as the action of going online in the first place? Shouldn't we think of social networking as an ambient network that is all around us, all the time? Going online is a bit boring and limiting, but the alternative of being constantly notified of new events is pretty boring too.

The resolution is that a computer therefore must find out information that is meaningful to us at the time. For this, it needs to find out interests (beyond keyword-matching), find out how we feel, find out where we want to go, find out what we (would like) to buy, find out what is going around us and with us basically. More sensors in our environment are likely to produce that kind of information. Some smarter ways of interaction remotely (through phones) are also going to help. Some smarter ways of data mining and finding relevant resolutions are key to the resolution of this problem.

The problem is always that a computer has very limited sensors of its environment and cannot infer or create a meaningful representation (of meaning) in the first place. It doesn't have emotional sensors to find out our mood (unless we instruct some nonsense ambient ball for example to choose it). This makes the computer quite a limited and hopeless item in our battle for filtering information, yet!

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