Grounding refers to the process of relating the internal representations of the cognitive architecture to the external world. It is the ability of the architecture to connect its internal representations to the sensory data it receives from the environment. This allows the architecture to understand the meaning of its internal representations in terms of the external world.
For example, if the cognitive architecture has an internal representation of a “chair”, it must be able to relate that representation to the physical objects in the environment that we would typically call “chairs”. This allows the architecture to understand that a “chair” is something that is typically used for sitting, and that it has certain characteristics such as a backrest and four legs.
Grounding is important for several reasons:
- It allows the architecture to understand the meaning of its internal representations in terms of the external world.
- It allows the architecture to make inferences about the environment based on its internal representations.
- It allows the architecture to use its internal representations to guide its behavior in the environment.
- It allows the architecture to update its internal representations based on new sensory data.
There are different ways to achieve grounding in a cognitive architecture, such as through sensorimotor contingencies, or through the use of symbols that are grounded in the sensorimotor data. In any case, the cognitive architecture must be able to make the link between the internal and external worlds in a robust and consistent way.