Coordinating with the Future: the Anticipatory Nature of Representation

Humans and other animals are able not only to coordinate their actions
with their current sensorimotor state, but also to imagine, plan and act in view of the
future, and to realize distal goals. In this paper we discuss whether or not their
future-oriented conducts imply (future-oriented) representations. We illustrate the
role played by anticipatory mechanisms in natural and artificial agents, and we
propose a notion of representation that is grounded in the agent's predictive capabilities.
Therefore, we argue that the ability that characterizes and defines a true
cognitive mind, as opposed to a merely adaptive system, is that of building representations
of the non-existent, of what is not currently (yet) true or perceivable, of
what is desired. A real mental activity begins when the organism is able to
endogenously (i.e. not as the consequence of current perceptual stimuli) produce an
internal representation of the world in order to select and guide its conduct goal-directed:
the mind serves to coordinate with the future.

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Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston , Paesi Bassi
Minds and machines (Dordr.) 18 (2008): 179–225.
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Pezzulo, G./titolo:Coordinating with the Future: the Anticipatory Nature of Representation/doi:/rivista:Minds and machines (Dordr.)/anno:2008/pagina_da:179/pagina_a:225/intervallo_pagine:179–225/volume:18
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