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Bruce Blumberg

My passion is to create creatures whose behavior, form and underlying architecture not only informs our understanding of the natural intelligence displayed by animals and ultimately ourselves, but that also touches a person interacting with them on a profound personal level. I am as concerned with the elegance, simplicity and beauty of the underlying ideas as I am with the observable form and behavior. Much as an artist does not simply record what is there, but rather shows what he or she sees there, so too, I view the creatures that we create as personal statements that ideally celebrate their subject but which also challenge us to ask important questions about the nature and meaning of intelligence as well as our relationship to, and with, animals.

At the heart of this work is the search for the “computational scaffolding” or alternatively “conceptual primitives” that form the basis of commonsensical behavior and learning. Rather than taking a top-down or bottom-up approach, we start in the middle, informed by nature, and ask “what does the observed behavior of animals such as dogs seem to imply about the underlying representations and processes that allow them to behave and learn in a commonsensical manner?” Our belief is the best way to gain insight into this question is to build synthetic characters that solve similar problems, and by doing so, the key insights will emerge. Our expectation is that through this work we will uncover “catalytic” representations and processes whose presence bootstraps more powerful ones. By doing so, the work will not only inform top-down and bottom-up approaches, but will also inform our understanding of the natural phenomena.


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