Situating Machine Intelligence Within the Cognitive Ecology of the Internet

Minds and Machines 27 (2):357-380 (2017)

Paul Smart
University of Southampton
The Internet is an important focus of attention for the philosophy of mind and cognitive science communities. This is partly because the Internet serves as an important part of the material environment in which a broad array of human cognitive and epistemic activities are situated. The Internet can thus be seen as an important part of the ‘cognitive ecology’ that helps to shape, support and realize aspects of human cognizing. Much of the previous philosophical work in this area has sought to analyze the cognitive significance of the Internet from the perspective of human cognition. There has, as such, been little effort to assess the cognitive significance of the Internet from the perspective of ‘machine cognition’. This is unfortunate, because the Internet is likely to exert a significant influence on the shape of machine intelligence. The present paper attempts to evaluate the extent to which the Internet serves as a form of cognitive ecology for synthetic forms of intelligence. In particular, the phenomenon of Internet-situated machine intelligence is analyzed from the perspective of a number of approaches that are typically subsumed under the heading of situated cognition. These include extended, embedded, scaffolded and embodied approaches to cognition. For each of these approaches, the Internet is shown to be of potential relevance to the development and operation of machine-based cognitive capabilities. Such insights help us to appreciate the role of the Internet in advancing the current state-of-the-art in machine intelligence.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11023-016-9416-z
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 43,780
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Extended Mind.Andy Clark & David J. Chalmers - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):7-19.

View all 57 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Immaterial Engagement: Human Agency and the Cognitive Ecology of the Internet.Robert W. Clowes - 2019 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18 (1):259-279.
Where the Smart Things Are: Social Machines and the Internet of Things.Paul Smart, Aastha Madaan & Wendy Hall - 2019 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18 (3):551-575.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Web-Extended Mind.Paul R. Smart - 2012 - Metaphilosophy 43 (4):446-463.
Machine Consciousness.Owen Holland (ed.) - 2003 - Imprint Academic.
Cognitive Ecology.Edwin Hutchins - 2010 - Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (4):705-715.
Emotion, Cognition and Artificial Intelligence.Jason Megill - 2014 - Minds and Machines 24 (2):189-199.
Extended Cognition and the Explosion of Knowledge.David Ludwig - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology (3):1-14.


Added to PP index

Total views
12 ( #648,260 of 2,265,042 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #449,910 of 2,265,042 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature