What makes representations “useful”?Download PDF

Jun 28, 2021CCN 2021 Workshop GAC SubmissionReaders: Everyone
  • TL;DR: Scientific question(s): 1. What makes representations “useful,” both in terms of their content and their form? 2. How does the use or downstream causal effect of a representation contribute to its meaning?
  • Abstract: Scientific question: Internal representations play a central role in the study of both biological and artificial intelligence, as well as in philosophy of mind, but what precisely defines a representation is challenging to pin down. Across disciplines, one common thread is that representations are typically “useful” in some sense. Centering around this concept of usefulness, we propose a cross-disciplinary GAC to share ideas and develop more precise answers to the following questions: 1. What makes representations “useful,” both in terms of their content and their form? 2. How does the use or downstream causal effect of a representation contribute to its meaning? We will simplify the scope by primarily discussing these questions in the context of visual perception.
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