The IK 2023 explored how experience emerges from dynamic processes of bodies, minds, and things. How do sensorimotor capacities and the experience of one’s own body develop and enable agents to engage with the world? How do cognitive competences and experience emerge in neural systems that are linked to the sensorimotor surfaces and are embedded in the world? How do humans actively structure their environment to enable particular forms of experience and processes of meaning-making?
The virtual IK 2022 theme was Flexibility, from the perspective of the nervous system, the mind, communication, and AI & robotics. Flexibility can be interpreted as mental flexibility, physical flexibility (including dance improvisation), neuroplasticity, and adaptive artificial systems. 28 lecturers from a wide range of backgrounds filled this theme with life, ranging from clinical psychology to robotics to science communication or Tibetan monastic debate.
The virtual IK 2021 took place under the motto ‘Connected in Cyberspace’, providing a virtual conference venue to connect in spite of the pandemic. Three aspects of the motto provided inspiration for scientific contributions: cyberspaces, i.e. spatial metaphors for things that are non-spatial; cybernetic organisms, i.e. system models of organisms and agents; and cybernetworks, i.e. models of interconnectedness, from graph theory over epidemiological models to the embedding of technology in society.
The 2020 version of the IK investigated the theme of how Curiosity, Risk & Reward are Shaping Autonomous Intelligence, both individual and social. Curiosity, risk and reward are fundamental for long-term learning and development, are basis and cause conflict for decision-making, contribute to creative curiosity in AI systems, and facilitate participatory behaviour patterns in societies.
Due to COVID-19, this IK could only be offered in an online version, which we however took as a challenging incentive to consider online components for future IKs.
The IK 2019 focused on the theme Out of Your Senses: From Data to Insight. This IK explored how data in many forms can be processed to yield condensed and insightful information. An emphasis was placed on senses, sensors, and the evaluation of the resulting data and these courses were complemented by sessions on data analysis, sensor technology, biological sensory systems, and the interplay of sensing with self and society.
The 2018 edition of the IK focussed on the theme Me, my Self, and I and addresses questions such as: Who am I? Where is my self? What is it like to be me? In doing so, courses addressed different aspects of self models, self perception, and self consciousness using different epistemic and theoretical approaches in a truly interdisciplinary fashion.
The 2017 edition of the IK explored the focus theme Creativity and Intelligence in Brains and Machines. While creativity often starts out on an individual basis, and creative acts are ultimately implemented by individuals, society very often enables creativity to happen either in making creative individuals collaborate, or giving rise to a genuinely collective creative process.
The 2016 IK explored the focus theme Transitions and Transformations in Cognition, Biology, and Interactive Systems. It addressed questions like, When does a group of cells become an organism, or a group of organisms become a society? How do natural systems survive and adapt to changing external environments? How do humans change in individual and social function as they age?
The 2015 version of the IK, themed Integration of Behavior and Cognition, cast its focus on complete, autonomous agents – animals, humans, robots, and software characters. An extensive offering of courses was grouped under the perspectives of “Complete Cognitive Architectures”, “Person, Identity, Dignity”, “Engineering Agents”, “Neurons, Muscles, Bodies”, and “Language and Thought”.
The 2014 edition of the IK was devoted to the focus theme Cognition 3.0 – the Social Mind in the Connected World. The event provided an interdisciplinary view of social and interactive approaches to cognition. Its courses discussed the basic cognitive prerequisites for social interaction, joint action coordination, empathy, adaptation and alignment, swarm intelligence, wisdom of the crowds, and social media.
In 2013, the IK was devoted to the focus theme Wicked Problems, Complexity and Wisdom. It presented research on wisdom, complex problem solving, system complexity, decision support, and complex planning both theoretical and practical.
The 2012 IK investigated the focus theme Emotion and Aesthetics. Specific courses addressed the neural correlates of emotion and aesthetics, the influence of emotions on behavior and motivation, and psychological and neurobiological approaches to music and film, and affective computing.
The 2011 edition of the IK was devoted to the focus theme Autonomy, Decisions and Free Will: the philosophy and neuroscience of free will, cognitive models of decision making, rationality and heuristics, intentional agents and BDI systems, interdisciplinary approaches to volition, intentions, control, self-regulation and task scheduling.
In the year 2010, the IK revolved around Play, Act and Learn, exploring themes like cooperation and game theory on biological, economic and psychological levels, serious gaming and entertainment computing, playing behavior, language games, computer games, playing and learning in animals and robots.
The 2009 IK spun and whirled around the riddles of Rhythm and Timing: neural temporal processing, timing in motor control and speech, rhythmic experience in music and dance, reasoning and planning in time, dynamical systems theory, philosophy of time.
In 2008 our IK inquired into the theme of Cooperation – a very active area of research cutting across various disciplines including evolutionary biology, cognitive and social neuroscience, experimental economics, zoology, social and developmental psychology, as well as robotics and artificial life.
The IK 2007 bridged between the empirical, theoretical, and simulative sciences involved with exploring Body and Mind: how humanoid robots can be engineered, what role our motor system plays in understanding others, how decision making is based on bodily ground, or how neural signals can be used to drive artefacts like prostheses or machinery.
In 2006, IK participants could learn (almost) all about Learning. This phenomenon was approached from various viewpoints, from the synapse to systems, from animals to algorithms, from organisms to automata, and from theory to practical applications. Developmental aspects, modifying factors (age, emotion, motivation), storage systems (memory in its various forms) were discussed as well as computational learning theories.
The focus theme of the 2005 IK was Real, Mental and Virtual Spaces. Distinguished researchers from computer science, computer graphics, neurobiology, ethology, psychology, cognitive science, philosophy, physics, geography, and architecture shared their insight into spatial cognition and spatial realities.
How is it possible that you can pick up a toothbrush? The fact that you can do this comes close to a miracle. The special theme of the IK 2004, Body and Motion, investigated the bodies of humans, robots, flies, avatars and many other interesting creatures, and how they purposely move in time and space.
The 2003 edition of the IK put an emphasis on the transfer from scientific theory to applications, under the headline Applications, Brains and Computers. Participants were introduced to interdisciplinary professional possibilities, demonstrating how well-founded research can lead to real-life, useful applications.
In 2002 the IK staked out the terrain of Autonomy and Emotion. This IK was the first one to be held entirely in the English language. Autonomy was treated from the angle of philosophy and robotics, and emotion from the angle of psychology, behavioural science, and neurobiology.
The 2001 IK marked the transition from the all-German previous IKs to the all-English IKs that would follow. Thus, the 2001 event was bilingual, as were the flyer and advertisments. Quite appropriately, the focus theme was Kommunikation / Communication.
The third IK could be staged in 2000, after a break of one year where the world did not get an IK. The focus theme was Sehen und Handeln (seeing and acting) and shed spotlights on the information processing cycle from perception to action and back again.
The second IK was held 1998. The focus theme was Sprache und Kommunikation (language and communication). How do humans learn to speak – and how do machines learn to “understand” language, and in what sense, if any, do they “understand”?
The very first IK materialized in 1997. The series of adventurous expeditions started. The first IK had no focus theme yet – this tradition began only in the following year. Having a multidisciplinary course offering from AI, neuroinformatics, neurobiology, and cognitive science was innovative – if not revolutionary – in Germany.