The role of regulation in the origin and synthetic modelling of minimal cognition

Biosystems 148:12-21 (2016)
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Abstract

In this paper we address the question of minimal cognition by investigating the origin of some crucial cognitive properties from the very basic organisation of biological systems. More specifically, we propose a theoretical model of how a system can distinguish between specific features of its interaction with the environment, which is a fundamental requirement for the emergence of minimal forms of cognition. We argue that the appearance of this capacity is grounded in the molecular domain, and originates from basic mechanisms of biological regulation. In doing so, our aim is to provide a theoretical account that can also work as a possible conceptual bridge between Synthetic Biology and Artificial Intelligence. In fact, we argue, Synthetic Biology can contribute to the study of minimal cognition, by providing a privileged approach to the study of these mechanisms by means of artificial systems.

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Leonardo Bich
University of the Basque Country