Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology by Valentino BraitenbergVehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology by Valentino Braitenberg

Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology

byValentino Braitenberg

Paperback | February 7, 1986

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These imaginative thought experiments are the inventions of one of the world's eminent brain researchers.

These imaginative thought experiments are the inventions of one of the world's eminent brain researchers. They are "vehicles," a series of hypothetical, self-operating machines that exhibit increasingly intricate if not always successful or civilized "behavior." Each of the vehicles in the series incorporates the essential features of all the earlier models and along the way they come to embody aggression, love, logic, manifestations of foresight, concept formation, creative thinking, personality, and free will. In a section of extensive biological notes, Braitenberg locates many elements of his fantasy in current brain research.

Valentino Braitenberg is a director of the Max Planck Institute of Biological Cybernetics and Honorary Professor of Information Science at the University of Tübingen, West Germany.
Title:Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic PsychologyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:168 pages, 8 × 5.25 × 0.38 inPublished:February 7, 1986Publisher:The MIT Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262521121

ISBN - 13:9780262521123


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Small Book, Huge Ideas Figuring out how something works, from its behavior, is far more difficult than building it in the first place. This is the premise behind Braitenberg's "Law of Uphill Analysis and Downhill Invention". Based on a series of thought experiments, the author leads you from simple to complex scenarios, inviting you to imagine the results from the builder's perspective and then from that of an uninformed observer. The differences are startling! Using a hypothetical Vehicle, plausible results are described for combinations of sensors and connections between them. Initially, these are uncomplicated scenarios and the behaviors are easy to confirm in your imagination. Suspending your knowledge as the builder and becoming an observer, you can acknowledge that behaviors such as Fear, Aggression, Love, Curiosity and Decisiveness may be evident. These are for the simplest vehicles! More complicated constructions exhibit properties that could be acknowledged as Logic, Counting
Date published: 2000-06-29

Editorial Reviews

The small and cheerful book at hand, by a well-known researcher on the brain from Tübingen, has exploited the virtues of the style with unprecedented consistency, originality and aptness. His thought experiments are not analytic efforts to extract what principles lie behind an imagined observation but are instead synthetic constructions. They are little toys of the mind, devised out of simple if fictional components, entirely functionally described...[A] crisp, cogent book full of intellectual delights.-Philip Morrison, Scientific American