Augustus Bacigalupi: Synthetic Cognition

Augustus Bacigalupi will introduce his project of Synthetic Cognition. This project will create a self-adaptive system capable of assimilating and integrating complex patterns in order to perform increasingly useful work in a dynamic environment. Effectively, the creative powers of navigation and problem solving that have evolved over billions of years among countless animal species will be incorporated into a synthetic system that can be customized for innumerable human applications such as advanced robotics, prosthetics, gaming AIs, complex systems analysis, etc.

The draft Research Proposal linked below describes both the theory and design of synthetic cognition. This Proposal articulates a schematic design that can be built and tested for self-adaptive behavior, which is rigorously defined by the theory. This talk will discuss why we have not explained cognition to date and how the theory and design process described by this project will significantly contribute to the cognitive sciences and AI.


Augustus Bacigalupi has studied environmental sciences, physical chemistry, architectural, circuit, and software design. His design practice has cross fertilized with his science education to manifest a new approach to cognition and AI. This inter-disciplinary approach has produced a draft Research Proposal. Through his research institute, IforAMtm, he has begun building and testing a prototype. As successive prototypes are refined they will be integrated into many practical applications.


For more information, please explore the links below:

Research Proposal:
Summary of Proposal:

Initial development:


The meetup will be video recorded but NOT webcast (note change).

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  • Joshua A.

    Here is a more direct link to the video:­

    It can also be viewed via Monica's Vimeo account:­

    I gave a related talk at the American Cybernetic Society conference at Asilomar:­

    It is shorter and focuses on the theory. It will be published next year.

    Thanks, again, Monica for organizing and the fantastic audio/visual work!

    October 16, 2012

  • Joshua A.

    Thanks, Richard for the links. And, thanks to everyone for coming!


    March 30, 2012

  • Diana M

    Josh’s interdisciplinary perspective / approach provided us with an engaging and well-organized presentation.

    March 27, 2012

  • Richard K.

    And the PLoS link is much more detailed and quite relevant:­

    March 26, 2012

  • Richard K.

    The speaker and others might be interested in a finding of rapid change of information flow in the brain in flipping perception of the vase/face illusion:­

    March 26, 2012

  • Rafael O.

    Excellent! Some concepts were from far-reaching disciplines that I'm not very familiar with, but that just made it more fascinating.

    March 26, 2012

  • Pete D.

    Excellent presentation.

    March 26, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Outstanding presenter on an especially interesting topic.

    March 26, 2012

  • Aimee Bolter C.

    Bacigalupi gave a very accessible and comprehensive presentation of his concept; he was very even handed handling questions. Lots of vigorous exchanges of information and insights.

    March 26, 2012

  • Mountain


    March 26, 2012

  • Joshua A.

    Once I've done the post production the video will be on one or both of these websites:­

    I'll post direct links via the AI-meetup mailing list once completed.

    Thanks for you interest.

    March 17, 2012

  • Monica

    Don't know. The presenter wants to do the postproduction (this i time consuming/expensive) so you might ask him.

    March 16, 2012

  • Michael P.

    Where will we be able to see the video of the seminar?

    March 16, 2012

  • Monica

    No. I wanted to but changed my mind about it. It is a lot of work to set up. I am working on making this all much easier so we'll see more streaming later but not this MeetUp.

    March 15, 2012

  • Joshua A.

    Hi everybody,

    I'm looking forward to introducing this project. If you have a chance to review some of the linked material above, please feel free to post questions and comments below. I'll try to address them in the talk.

    Thanks for a great venue, Monica!


    March 15, 2012

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