From Neosentience to Recombinant Informatics, A Research Overview

Journal Article

An overview of Seaman’s research relevant to new forms of Computer Science, Technology and Application covers a number of different theoretical research areas and approaches including the examination of new (and historical) studies that seek to look holistically at particular relations at operation in the mind/brain/body/environment, functioning across different scales. Seaman is interested in what he calls a multi-perspective approach to knowledge production. He is deeply interested in the trajectory of research started in Cybernetics at the Biological Research Lab headed by Heinz von Foerster [1][2][3][4][5][6], yet points to work by Rashevsky [7] as an important precursor, along with McCulloch and Pitts[8]. Cyberneticist Gordon Pask is of particular interest because he also explored a range of pursuits form the sciences[9][10][11][12] to the arts [13] to architecture [14] and learning systems/conversation theory, and ‘teaching machines’[15]. Pask, like von Foerster was also interested in new forms of computation and dynamic interactivity. We can trace a lineage from studies in Cybernetics to the study of contemporary complex systems. From this broad research agenda Seaman seeks to work toward the creation of new computational systems and in particular, new approaches to transdisciplinary research that point at forms of computation in the body, and explore these through biomimetics and bio-abstraction. As a media researcher, Seaman seeks to bring his knowledge of computational media, and broad historical research drawn from multiple disciplinary fields, into dynamic relationality. Central to this broad set of studies has been the articulation with scientist Otto Rössler, of a series of disparate research areas that might be enfolded in the creation of a new form of robotic leaning system, that again draws from biomimetics and bio-abstraction, discussed in their book – Neosentience | The Benevolence Engine.[16] This book provides a series of micro-chapters that let researchers explore a set of disparate foci in a non-linear manner. Seaman describes this approach as “Recombinant Informatics”[17] — the juxtaposition, combination and recombination of differing informational contexts in the service of insight production. Seaman’s broad theoretical research agenda focuses in part on entailment structures [18] and the deep study of multiple physical processes as they contribute to “computation” in the body[19]; the long-term expansion of computational forms relevant to Neuroscience—exploring the notion of creating an electrochemical computer inspired by biomimetics and bio-abstraction[20][21]; the development of a network of computers inspired by computation in the body— The Engine of Engines; the bringing to light of relevant biologically related historical research that to some degree has been left out of the central discourses in multiple scientific disciplines and in computer science— in particular work done at the Biological Computer Lab headed by Heintz von Foerster [22]. In order to deal with the complexity of these issues in a pragmatic manner Seaman along with Todd Berreth and Olivier Perriquet are working on the creation of a computational system to help facilitate this research and other disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary research relevant to Computer Science, Technology and Application, entitled the Insight Engine.[23] [24]

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Seaman, W

Published Date

  • 2013

Published In

  • Computer Science, Technology, and Application