Le savoir et l'ordinateur
(Knowledge and the Computer - in French)
L'Harmattan Publisher, November 2002
16 rue des Ecoles, 75005 Paris, France
38 euros (450 pages,16x24 cm)
ISBN : 2-7475-3350-6
As the computerized knowledge technologies are re-taking off it seems that the stuff our computers grind - "information" - is undergoing a deep mutation in its nature. It appears to be conquering a new and much more specific status, that of knowledge - simultaneously conferring on computers an appearance of intelligence and a relative autonomy in their behaviour. Although we have not yet a clear idea of the cultural and societal consequences such a mutation can have, we do observe that, concerning the elaboration of knowledge and the access to it, a large scale retroaction mechanism is setting itself up between man and the computer; and we feel that it could entail a revolution both in the principles that will guide the constituion of our knowledge in the future and in our relationship to the computers with which we shall share it. Stating the structuralist filiations of the symbolic paradigm that is at the heart of these technologies, this book details its successive stages of development by artificial intelligence, its cross-breeding with the Internet problematics and technologies, and the very tangible existence of gigantic computerized knowledge bases whose development it inspired. Nearly ousted from the sciences of cognition by the neuronal approaches (these being implicitely in the quest of ultimate physical or biological foundations), this paradigm seems on the verge of a rebirth among the sciences of culture, close to structural semiotics. Implying a radical absence of absolute foundations, it allows a renewed outlook on some epistemological questions.
Introduction, p. 5
Part One: Backdrop, p. 25
Chapter one: Modelling, p. 29
Chapter two: Structuralism, modelling and the Symbolic order, p. 57
Chapter three: Knowledge, sign and language, p. 83
Chapter four: Universality, relativity, foundations, p. 109
Part Two: The computer and the formal Symbolic order p. 145
Chapter five: The computer, a universal machine, p. 147
Chapter six: The computational paradigm and the symbolic paradigm, p. 165
Chapter seven: The rational agent: the object of artificial intelligence, p. 187
Chapter eight: The modelling of knowledge, p. 209
Part Three: The emergence of AI at the societal level, p. 229
Chapter nine: The intelligent agents paradigm, p. 231
Chapter ten: The emergence of AI at the societal level, p. 261
Chapter eleven: The internal episteme and the language of classical AI, p. 289
Chapter twelve: Possible epistemic and societal consequencesof classical AI, p. 311
Part Four: The computer and the access to meaning, p. 333
Chapter thirteen: Access to meaning and epistemic impact of AI, p. 335
Chapter fourteen: The question of meaning in linguistics, p. 357
Chapter fifteen: Natural langage and knowledge representation, p. 387
Chapter sixteen: Conceptual semantics and Semiophysics, p. 415
As a conclusion, p. 441
References, p. 447
Denis Berthier, professor at Institut National des TÚlÚcommunications authored the book "Knowledge and the Computer", L'Harmattan Publishers.This book by Denis Berthier studies the cultural impact of the knowledge processing technologies, in particular artificial intelligence. It analyzes in detail how a true sharing of knowledge is setting itself up between man and the computer, and it shows that, through this process, the very principles guiding the constitution of our knowledge are at stake.
Knowledge and the Computer : from information processing to knowledge processing and to knowledge sharing between Man and the computer
As the computerized knowledge technologies are re-taking off it seems that the stuff our computers grind - "information" - is undergoing a deep mutation in its nature. It appears to be conquering a new and much more specific status, that of knowledge - simultaneously conferring on computers an appearance of intelligence and a relative autonomy in their behaviour.
Actually, we do observe that a large scale interaction mechanism is setting itself up between man and the computer, concerning both the access to knowledge (for instance its search in the Internet jungle) and its working out (as the activity of modelling is becoming more and more dependent on computerized pre-processing).
We feel that this new relation to the computers could entail a revolution both in the principles that will guide the constitution and the formulation of our knowledge in the future, although we have not yet a clear idea of the cultural and societal consequences such a mutation can have. Knowledge would be worked over and formulated in such a way as to be both understandable by any ordinary human beeing (who knew nothing about the technical subtleties of a computer that is able to use it) and usable by a computer (that knew nothing about the psychic intricacies of a human who is able to understand it). From its inception, knowledge would therefore be shared between man and the computer - which means precisely that both of them would be able to reason and communicate about it. Now, this symbolic "cloning" of knowledge onto the computer has started very concretely with huge collections of such knowledge elements having been already constituted.
A book aimed at any reader curious about knowledge and its technologies
This book is aimed at any reader concerned by or interested in information or knowledge technologies, or cognitive sciences, or semiotics, or applied epistemology : researchers, teachers, students or simply people who are curious.
The most original point in this book is that it invests a still unoccupied field at the junction between culture and information technosciences. Basically, the vision of these disciplines as producing models of culture challenges the classical approaches based upon models of mind. As it studies these technologies in their concrete reality, the book avoids the shortcomings of general epistemology ; it nevertheless stands back far enough from them to uncover their deep cultural correlates.
Denis Berthier, a long time practice in artificial intelligence
A graduate from Ecole Polytechnique, the author started as a teacher and researcher in mathematical logic. Then, he created and managed an AI department at the Simulators Division of the Thomson CSF company. He is now an artificial intelligence Professor at the French Institut National des TÚlÚcommunications.
(more on the French pages)