Relevance, goal management and cognitive technology
An accumulating body of research suggests that it is profitable to treat human cognition as a system that is primarily concerned with goal management. More specifically, it appears that the symbolic representation of goals, the location of relevant objects and operations and the construction of plans to achieve them, using objects and operations as components, are processes which are central to human cognition. The aim of the present paper is to suggest that relevance-based goal management processes are consistent with recent neuropsychological evidence that the human cognitive apparatus is duplex in nature. Furthermore, relevance information can provide a much-needed bridge between connectionist networks and the symbolic planning modules that characterise mature human cognition. The paper explores some phenomena, such as ethical reasoning, that have not been explained within previous theoretical frameworks. Finally, it is argued that, in addition to offering new explanations of familiar phenomena, the theoretical analysis of cognitive processes developed in the early part of the paper also suggests a range of novel technological interventions.
Keywords: symbol-connection hybridism, motivation-action nexus, Artificial Intelligence, planning systems, relevance, Theory of Relevance, goals, goal management, cognitive technology, ethics, problem-solving
Published online: 16 May 2003