Cognition as Interaction. Autopoiesis, Media, NetworksUniversity of Messina
The idea that human cognition is not bound into the head but spreads out in the world is getting momentum nowadays. Many different fields in both humanities and science converge on this point. Such convergence is probably one of the reasons why the word “interaction” acquired a remarkable centrality in many debates. In this speech, I will crisscross cognitive sciences and media theory to show how interaction has to be conceived as the prototype of every kind of cognition (human and non-human). In particular, I will propose a comparison between the conception of cognition as intended in autopoietic systems (cognition of the living) and how it can be threatened by the disembodied functioning of Machine and Deep Learning. I will claim that, despite their differences, they are compatible because they don’t need to postulate a “centre” responsible for cognition (the head, the programmer), but obey the laws of interaction. Finally, I will use the metaphor representing the fungi mycelium like a “biological Internet” as an exemplum of a biological but not agent-based form of cognition.