[iDC] Embodiment is about action in context

mafox mafox at foxlin.com
Fri Sep 29 23:58:08 EDT 2006

Usman/ very well put as usual. 

Do you think you could clarify with a real example or two in architecture -
say a real life example - in a home or in a work environment? 
I also wonder where you think "adaptive control" would fit into "ill-defined
goals" I tend to appreciate adaptive systems (predictive as they may be in
their sensing) for their ability to learn from a persons particular
behaviors - or, I suppose general behaviors. Would such behaviors be a layer
controlling the direction of the "conversations".   It would me help if you
could give your definition of "productive"

PS.   I think we should not also completely dismiss today's "so-called
interactive systems".   While they certainly are circular pre-defined
reactions, they are sometimes very valuable from a pragmatic standpoint
especially if they are mediating numerous data sets that are just too
difficult or impossible for us to control on our own. Sometimes with other
living things I do not want a conversation - I simply want to be in control.
Sometimes I want to play unpredictably with my dog, and sometimes I just
want him to sit in a particular place in the corner and shut-up. 


-----Original Message-----
From: idc-bounces at bbs.thing.net [mailto:idc-bounces at bbs.thing.net] On Behalf
Of Usman Haque
Sent: Friday, September 29, 2006 1:24 PM
To: idc at bbs.thing.net
Subject: Re: [iDC] Embodiment is about action in context

>I would love to learn more about Pask's "machines with underspecified

on pask and "ill-defined goals" the best i have read is peter 
cariani's paper on attempts to rebuild a paskian electrochemical 


the reasoning behind 'ill-defined goals' is that if a designer 
specifies all parts of a design and specifies all behaviours that the 
constituents can have, then the embodiment will be limited by what 
the designer can predict - it is closed to novelty and can only 
respond to observables that were explicitly built into it.

if, on the other hand, an embodiment can "choose" what it senses 
(i.e. either by having "ill-defined" sensors or by determining its 
own "perceptual categories") then it moves a step closer to true 
autonomy, which would be required in an *authentically* interactive 
system. the human component of interaction then becomes crucial in 
such environments by *productively* engaging in "conversations" with 
the environment. if such an embodiment has 'ill-defined' goals then 
we humans are more able to collaborate and converge on shared goals.

this is a completely different notion of 'interaction' from that used 
in most of today's so-called interactive systems, which are premised 
on unproductive and pre-specified circular reactions.

btw, cariani's paper and several other fantastic explorations of 
pask's work can be found in his festschrift, which is unfortunately 
very difficult to find these days; if you come across a copy, grab it 
and guard it with your life...


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