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ICEA Project Print E-mail
Written by Ricardo Sanz   
Thursday, 17 November 2005

Integrating Cognition, Emotion and Autonomy

The ICEA project will develop the first cognitive system architecture integrating cognition and emotion to provide autonomy (at a first stage only bioregulation and self-maintainance), based on the architecture and physiology of the mammalian brain.

A key hypothesis guiding the project is that emotional and autonomic mechanisms play a critical role in structuring the high-level thought processes of living cognitive systems like ourselves.

Image The robots that will be developed will perceive and act in the real world, learn from that interaction developing situated knowledge (representations of their environments in spatial, emotional and behavioural terms), and use this knowledge in anticipation, planning and decision-making.

These autonomous machines will be able to operate alongside humans, sharing with us the capacity to respond emotionally to their surroundings, and a similar grounding in the need to organise behaviour in accordance with energy and self-preservation requirements.

The brain and behaviour of the rat will be an important starting point because of the large scientific literature available for this species. Rat cognition will be studied and emulated both through an ambitious program of empirical studies in real animals and through computational modeling on several, real and simulated, robot platforms.

The project will develop two central, integrated platforms, rat-like in appearance, perceptual, and behavioural capacities:

  • First, a robot, ICEAbot, equipped with multimodal sensory systems will serve as a real-world testbed and demonstrator of the cognitive capacities derived from models of rat biology.
  • Second, a 3-D robot simulator, ICEAsim, based on the physical ICEAbot, but also offering richer opportunities for experimentation, will demonstrate the potential of the ICEA architecture to go beyond the rat model and support human cognitive capacities, such as feelings, imagination, and self-referential thought.

This second platform will be made freely available to the research community as a standard research tool.

Our team at ASLab is investigating three basics aspects of ICEA:

  • The possibility of elaborating an unified, general perspective about the integration of autonomic, emotional and cognitive aspects, i.e. the ultimate theory of mind integration.
  • The extent to which the reverse-engineered mental structures of the mammal brain can be of any use to embedded systems construction (e.g. in cars, electrical networks or mobile phones).
  • The role that cognitive self-reflection and emotional evaluation of real-time performance can give rise to an architecture for consciousness. We call this SOUL.

For more information about SOUL visit the SOUL Project Website.

For more information about the whole ICEA project visit the ICEA Project Website.

You can also This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it to join us in this work.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 05 February 2008 )
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