Five Pioneers Talk about Learning, AI, and Education

Collection Abstract:
These independent talks were the core of a series Lawler organized in 1988-89: Cognitive Science and Education: the future within our reach.
They remain among the best and best captured expressions of these creative scholars from the days when they were in full flower.
Here they are presented in their logical order – from the AI focus on Learning to White’s implicit warning that “outsiders,”
(psychologists, engineers) need to make sure they ask the right questions in trying to aid the functions of education in our society.
The actual presentation dates were determined by when these extremely busy scholars could visit Purdue University. The visits
were generous gifts from colleagues who paid their own way (with one exception). We remain forever in their debt.

For the relevance of these videos to the current analytical work on LC3, the Infant Peggy Study, I suggest viewing the videos in this sequence:
Selfridge, Minsky, (Yazdani,) Papert, White. The relations are spelled out following the panes below:

(Links to video panels of colleagues’ talks are via their names in the panes below.)

Selfridge On Learning: the challenge of AI, 29mb


Minsky a useful response: 300 mini-theories, 20mb


Yazdani, AI & Education both ITS and ILE, 14mb


Papert Concrete Knowledge: our common ground, 30mb


White Education: helpful outsiders & recent research, 19mb

The specific relation of the thought of these four mentors are as follows:
1. Selfridge: focuses the historical challenge: How can we represent the world so learning is easy?
2. Minsky: describes his Society of Mind as a brain-plausible suite of 300 representations and mini-theories making bridges to descriptions of the development and function of mind.
3. White: discusses (in current issues) the fruitfulness of looking at humans as constructing their minds through interactions with human-designed environments, in the artifacts of which intelligence is embedded.
4. Papert: notes the importance of the concreteness of human thought, which I first emphasized with him in the mid-seventies; of course, Seymour is at his best here, elegant and lucid, a joy to listen to. (“Concrete” as I used the term means intimately rooted in personal experience and NOT a simple “mirror of objects.”)

If you take the points of the four videos, you will see their influence in my agenda which is:
1. the interpretations of ecologically rich case studies of learning (cognitive anthropology)
2. focused by Selfridge’s question: how can we represent the world so learning is easy?
3. using Minsky’s 300 representations and mini-theories (plus later work) as tools,
4. in the framework White proposes (interaction of the learner with intelligence designed
into or found in the environment) to address in concrete detail the issue that began my quest:

from the original (“literary”) proposal for my PhD thesis: LC2cA1 A Research Proposal for The Intimate Study
“In conclusion these few words: men have long argued over the relative import of intrinsic and
extrinsic factors in development. With the newly specific ideas of artificial intelligence, I hope
to trace the interaction of psyche and settings to see how of the concrete world we encounter:

“Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange” —
the human mind.

This remains my objective. The locus of current work in progress is: LC3c Analysis

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