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Situating machine intelligence within the cognitive ecology of the Internet

Smart, Paul R. (2017) Situating machine intelligence within the cognitive ecology of the Internet Minds and Machines, 27, (2), pp. 357-380. (doi:10.1007/s11023-016-9416-z).

Record type: Article


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 (on occasion) 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 (machine-based) 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.

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Accepted/In Press date: 1 January 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 3 January 2017
Published date: June 2017
Keywords: machine intelligence, machine learning, artificial intelligence, internet, situated cognition, world wide web
Organisations: Web & Internet Science


Local EPrints ID: 404283
PURE UUID: d0976c55-0f4e-432b-8d8c-815b1e58cec0
ORCID for Paul R. Smart: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 03 Jan 2017 18:41
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 17:34

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Author: Paul R. Smart ORCID iD

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