From computation to consciousness

Presentation at 31c3, Hamburg, December 2014

How to build a mind

Artificial Intelligence as a method for developing unified theories of cognition

Interview with Adam Ford during Conference on Artificial General Intelligence, Oxford (December 2012)

The MicroPsi Project – building cognitive agents

The MicroPsi agent architecture describes the interaction of emotion, motivation and cognition of situated agents, mainly based on the Psi theory of Dietrich Dörner. The Psi theory addresses emotion, perception, representation and bounded rationality, but being formulated within psychology, has had relatively little impact on the discussion of agents within computer science. MicroPsi is a formulation of the original theory in a more abstract and formal way, at the same time enhancing it with additional concepts for memory, building of ontological categories and attention.


MicroPsi is a small step towards understanding how the mind works. The agents are virtual creatures that act according to motives that stem from physiological and cognitive urges. They build representations of their environment based on interaction. Their cognition is modulated according to perceived situations and performance, and thus they undergo emotional states.
The agent framework uses semantic networks, called node nets, that are a unified representation for control structures, plans, sensory and action schemas, bayesian networks and neural nets. Thus it is possible to set up different kinds of agents on the same framework.
Have a look at the publications page or in the project section for further details.

The Book

The ideas and principles behind the cognitive architecture MicroPsi and the underlying theory have been laid out in the book "Principles of Synthetic Intelligence“ (Oxford University Press, 2009). You can order it from Amazon.