The New Artificial Intelligence and Biological Plausibility
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Whether new AI is a significant departure from old AI turns on the issue of representation. Old AI crucially depended on the functionalist assumption that intelligent systems, brains or computers, carry out some Turing-equivalent serial symbol processing, and that the symbols processed are a representation of the field of action of that system. But, following the mutualist assumption of ecological psychology, it is clear that a great deal of natural intelligence proceeds without any form of representation in this functionalist sense. As critics of functionalism have noted, for an organism to act in an environment it does not need a theory of that environment.