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Consciousness as an engineering issue. Part 2

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This paper's first part (JCS, 1, pp. 182-95), reviewed attempts to model real-world problem solving as machine-executable logic. Part 2 considers an alternative model in which the solution of problems is primarily the work of visualization supported by automatized skills. Consciousness operates at the level of goal-setting and monitoring, and of the construction and communication of after-the-event commentaries, not as a problem solver. Engineering designs based on this model have proved convenient and effective. ‘Structured induction’ is now routinely used to recover and articulate expertise that in the human solver remains tacit. A seminal case of computer-mediated superarticulacy is described in which a human problem solver was enabled to transform an elaborate, but largely blind and unconscious, mental skill into a fully aware, communicable and machine-executable theory.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Edinburgh, UK.

Publication date: January 1, 1995


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