The name ISSA is short for Initiative for a Synthesis in Studies of
Awareness, and is also a form of homage to Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828),
a leading Japanese haiku poet, whose empathy for creatures large and
small continues to inspire us.
We advocate an integrative approach to the study of awareness. We are
using the notion of awareness as an umbrella term for intelligence,
cognition, consciousness, agency, as well as self-awareness. In
short, any form of responsiveness of autonomous agents in complex
systems to each other and to their environment. We thus include
neuroscience, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, artificial
life and robotics, logic and philosophy, psychology, linguistics, and
other fields. In particular, we aim at creating networks and venues
where an atmosphere of mutual curiosity and respect between
disciplines facilitates dialogues and collaborations.
Starting with a summer school in 2015, which encouraged collaborations
across widely and wildly different fields, we are looking for ways to
enable continued interactions, beyond those provided by occasional
workshops or conferences. Specifically, we are exploring the creation
of local centers, as well as cyber-based ongoing activities.