Tuesday, 3 February 2009

busy day or not busy day; that is the question

So today I:
  • taught for an hour;
  • did some non-phd related work (prep and rc) (yes I know that means nothing to anyone except me);
  • faffed for a bit and procrastinated; tried and failed to understand what conceptual blending is (although Sandra might yet again be able to come to my aid with some slides she's done to help her understand it herself);
  • swopped my conceptual blending book for a much lighter and easier-to-read introduction to cognitive linguistics (although I haven't opened it yet)
  • went to a COGS seminar given by Owen Holland (Essex) about conscious robots with internal models that are behaviour-based (not convinced, despite Owen Holland's very entertaining presentation style - seems like he and his team have pretty much just managed to match what he was criticising - a lot of cognising for very little actual result. But I'm quite sympathetic to the concept of using abstractions as he was talking about - I don't _need_to see robots knocking over barriers and he did come up with some fascinating ideas about different levels of abstraction working together and that being some indicator of consciousness)
  • printed out (but didn't read) one of the sound synthesis articles
I do seem to have this real problem of either procrastinating, or getting diverted from the real work in hand by some little side idea of mine. Even though I've got two serious programs I'm working on, all I managed to do on those today was to open the Lisp IDE that I use to write one of the programs in. That's fairly pathetic!

As an example, the cognitive linguistics reading I was doing today was following up on a vague theory I've got: taking principles used in cognitive linguistics and making them more abstract so they apply to music, and in theory, a more general level of human creativity (given my very limited knowledge of cognitive linguistics and an interest in the shared processes between language and music creation).

Really I'm stumbling around in the dark a little with this. Instead I should be concentrating on the programs I've been looking forward to writing, or reading some of the more relevant literature surrounding the work that I'm supposed to be focussing on. But I can't let this little niggling interest go just yet.

What I am going to do though, is to skim read the intro-to-cognitive-linguistics book as quickly as I can (literally I don't want to take more than a few hours), then I plan to go to the lectures given on Cognitive Linguistics, so that I can get my overview from there rather than struggling through all the reading in something that might just be a wild goose chase.

There, so at least I'm being honest with what I'm doing in a day and facing up to what I need to do differently... this blog is turning out to be pretty useful for me in getting me more focussed and efficient in my work. Pretty tedious as blogs go, but I don't care - it's my blog and I'll use it best as I can.

But now my head hurts from thinking about robots that are conscious, modelling the world at multiple levels, ignoring the 'binding problem' (how do we go from the eye receiving lightwaves to seeing objects, with properties, that match concepts in our head), acknowledging ambiguity in human systems as we try to model them... enough for one day. Hopefully my brain cells will be more productively engaged tomorrow.

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