The relevance of Peircean semiotic to computational intelligence augmentation


Joseph Ransdell

Department of Philosophy
Texas Tech University

Box 43092, Lubbock, TX 79409-3092


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The aim of the present paper is, first, to describe the distinction of two types of computational intelligence research as Peter Skagestad has distinguished them: Artificial Intelligence or “AI” and Intelligence Augmentation or “IA”; then, second, to draw attention to a special sort of IA research, namely, computer programming which aims at supporting, augmenting, and perfecting the critical control of research communication and publication.  Skagestad has been especially concerned to position Peirce as providing a theoretical basis for IA comparable to the foundational position of Alan Turing in relation to AI, and he does this by explaining what is implicit in Peirce’s dictum that “all thought is in signs,“ which he construes as meaning that all thought is materially embodied, which he interprets as involving a recognition of the importance of exosomatic embodiments of mind.  In developing Skagestad’s conception of IA further in the direction indicated I also ground this in Peirce’s dictum, but I do so by making explicit a different (but complementary) implication of it, namely, that all thought is dialogical.  As an exemplary (but not prototypical) case of IA of this special sort, I use the automated archive and server system of primary publication created by the physicist Paul Ginsparg at Los Alamos National Laboratory some 12 years ago, which is presently in successful use in the fields of high energy theoretical physics and several closely associated fields in physics, astronomy, and mathematics.  I argue that a proper understanding of the success of this system, which can be regarded as an IA application, reveals it to be an ideal implementation of computationally assisted primary (i.e. formal) publication.  However, the interesting cases for development of IA in this area will be those that attempt to find out and design computational assistance for the many varieties of communicational practices involved in research activity that precede the stage of inquiry at which formal assertion of putative findings occurs.  Interest in these less formal and rigorous types of communicational practices has yet to develop because they must be understood in relationship to the formal publication practices, and these latter have been so poorly understood that there has been no conceptual framework available for investigating these other and equally important practices as regards their rationale and needs. 

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