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Why Embodied Artificial Intelligence is not so Embodied?

Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy. Volume 45 (2018), Philosophy of Cognitive Sciences pp. 9 - 14. DOI: 10.5840/wcp23201845911

Alkis Gounaris[1] and Georgina Abou Elkheir

Abstract: In recent years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has concentrated its research interest in the philosophical theories of embodied cognition (EC). Seeking a way out of the GOFAI’s dead-end attempt to develop intelligent robots with the ability to perform complex tasks in unknown and changing environments, AI adopted basic principles of the EC, like the body's direct interactions with the world. This view inspired AI researchers to abort traditional "sense-plan-act" architectures in favor of bottom-up approaches that focused on the integration of action and perception. However, the embodied AI community, tried to integrate these concepts by encapsulating them into frameworks that relied heavily in fundamental assumptions and mechanisms, that violated core principles of EC, both ontologically and practically, as in the utilization of sensorimotor knowledge in the sense of information extraction -instead of using sensorimotor knowledge in the sense of a meaningful "know-how", the utilization of internal states and representations coupled with computational information processing based architectures, and the conceptualization of affordances grounded in categorization and internal representations. In this paper our objective is to identify and classify the fundamental principles and properties, by which embodied AI and EC differ, in a philosophical as well as in a technical context. In our view, grasping this fundamental ontological bounds, apart from being philosophically interesting, will contribute to the understanding of the limits of the capabilities of embodied AI, compared to the concept of embodied cognition.


Keywords: embodied cognition, embodied artificial intelligence, representations, affordances, meaning


[1] National and Kapodistrian University of Athens


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