Weekly QuEST Discussion Topics and news, 16 Feb

February 15, 2018 Leave a comment

QuEST 16 Feb 2018

The discussion last week led to the concept that we are fighting an adaptable foe – and that reminded us of some prior QuEST discussions specifically – A Change in strategy in the war on cancer, the GWOT, Cyber Warfare and flexible AI = Autonomy, those discussions also provide some relevant points to consider relevant to our current focus on creating a ‘knowledge platform’.  This week we will have a discussion on some of those points.

‘Magic Bullet’ fallacy

  • Nobel Laureate P. Ehrlich introduced the concept of ‘magic bullet’ over 100 yrs ago (compounds to selectively target/kill tumor cells or disease causing organisms without negative impact on normal cells).
  • Problems we face in asymmetric war or cyber warfare are related – Is it reasonable to think that there exists some technological solution that will allow us to have a warfare ‘magic bullet’ in either of these wars?
  • Even worse does the thought of a ‘magic bullet’ dominating our work cause us to not pursue technology avenues that would bring great value!

Current focus in all of the original three domains and now Autonomy

  • Cancer war – driven by implicit assumption that a magic bullet will be found – even in detection the idea is to find, pursue and kill all cancer cells (sometimes to the detriment of patient) – in fact the idea that you can ‘kill’ the cancer before it metastasizes is or may be flawed
  • Cyber warfare (defense or offense) – driven by assumption that we will be able to identify the malicious processes (or all the bots in a DNS attack) or the enemy cyber targets via a magic bullet recognition process and prevent any possibility of damage (sometimes to the detriment of the mission) – flawed idea of perimeter cyber defense – Science 10
  • Asymmetric warfare – similarly we are pursuing a path that assumes via some technological ‘magic bullet’ (both in information processing and/or small precise munitions) we will be able to target the insurgents hiding in the civilian populace without collateral damage to the ‘normal cells’ = civilian populace.  That we will prevent all bombings!(behavioral signatures work to detect to the left of the boom make this assumption)  The current discussion on Counter Terrorism versus Counter Insurgency falls into this same trap – why search for a PETN detection solution
  • Autonomy – in our pursuit of a knowledge platform that can in an agile fashion be applied to a range of Autonomy needs we have suggested that there are some common aspects of knowledge creation that can be put into a platform – and by doing this not only to you reduce the development time you can also improve performance by facilitating transfer learning

Maybe insert some discussion of counter insurgency and counter terrorism – that drives home the idea of some actions have to be prevented …

news summary (72)

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Weekly QuEST Discussion Topics, 9 Feb

February 8, 2018 Leave a comment

Beyond the OODA Nonsense

Zealots suggest that autonomy (smart software/hardware) will achieve the shortening of the kill chain (mission effect chain) for hybrid/irregular or cyber warfare!

One major challenge in hybrid/irregular and cyber warfare, as in all other forms of warfare, is obtaining timely and accurate information in a useable form.  Information is critical to prosecuting a target.  These targets may be easy to ultimately prosecute but very hard to find, as they often hide in plain sight.  This is true for terrorists and insurgents and especially true for network intruders and malicious software.  Additionally, achieving desired end-state goals may not be possible due to the potential for unintended damage caused during target prosecution (e.g., to winning the population’s hearts and minds or preventing Blue Force use of our own networks).  The operational cyber domain and the advancement of artificial intelligence leading to Autonomy offer new challenges and complexities that may drive a reshaping of traditional war fighting doctrine. Automated techniques and human-in/on-the-loop insights must be synergistically integrated to achieve ultimate success.  Without integration of automated capabilities into how humans process data into information will lead to failure.

This will be a discussion on how the common use of the Observe, Orient, Decide, Act (OODA) construct and the misleading assumption that autonomy will allow the acceleration of the kill-chain are potentially damaging.  We present five issues with OODA.  These issues illustrate some of the daunting challenges the Air Force face.   The last issue we discuss leads to a conclusion that autonomy will not be the magic bullet.  We must instead pursue the more efficient option of integrating humans and computers to generate a more robust solution.

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Weekly QuEST Discussion Topics, 2 Feb

February 1, 2018 Leave a comment

QuEST 2 Feb 2018

After last week’s discussion we have spent the week focusing on the ‘knowledge platform’.  How can we take the problems we are addressing and use the resulting advances to mature a ‘knowledge platform.’  The platform provides the business model and the technological framework to in an agile fashion be able to deliver capability for a range of applications.  The key question is “what is the ‘representation’ approach for this knowledge creation platform?”.  The discussions have focused on what is a simulation / situated nature of the representation.

This week we want to return to some of the material that over the years have supported our ideas on simulation / situated nature of the conscious representation.  For example:

620 Barsalou

Annu. Rev. Psychol. 2008.59:617-645. Downloaded from arjournals.annualreviews.org

by EMORY UNIVERSITY on 02/13/08.

Grounded cognition rejects traditional views that cognition is computation on amodal symbols in a modular system, independent of the brain’s modal systems for perception, action, and introspection.

Instead, grounded cognition proposes that modal simulations, bodily states, and situated action underlie cognition. Accumulating behavioral and neural evidence supporting this view is reviewed from research on perception, memory, knowledge, language, thought, social cognition, and development.

Theories of grounded cognition are also reviewed, as are origins of the area and common misperceptions of it. Theoretical, empirical, and methodological issues are raised whose future treatment is likely to affect the growth and impact of grounded cognition.

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Weekly QuEST Discussion Topics and News, 26 Jan

January 25, 2018 Leave a comment

QuEST 26 Jan 2018

It has been a great week in the QuEST / ACT3 world.  We’ve had the privilege of working with Rauf Izmailov one of the thought leaders in machine learning.  The question we were investigating is how to adopt a diversity of cognitive approaches to enhance our interest in cognitive flexibility specifically impacting our interest in a ‘knowledge platform’ – a general approach that can be applied to our 3 development vectors with a single engineering team.

The discussions have focused around the core QuEST ideas – how to take current best of breed approaches to artificial intelligence and combine them into flexible solutions ~ autonomy.  This all leads to some fundamental philosophical and engineering questions.  We want to spend our QuEST time this week having those questions posed / discussed.  They include how do we share information / knowledge / meaning across ‘agents’ – that leads to transfer learning relationships:

1.)    In our search for ‘peer flexibility’ – how do we define ‘transfer learning’ – we’ve had a series of conversations about this topic – for example:  http://www.technologyreview.com/business/25833/ … The approach is an example of a machine-learning technique dubbed “transfer learning,” says Yang. “Transfer learning tries to learn in one space (text) and then apply the learned model to a very different feature space (such as images),” he says, and also Zero-Shot Learning Through Cross-Modal Transfer
Richard Socher… Andy Ng, and also arXiv:1712.01238v1  [cs.CV]  4 Dec 2017 – Learning by asking questions …andhttps://www.wired.com/2017/03/openai-builds-bots-learn-speak-language/

2.)  Is this useable as a definition of the unexpected query? In the sense that an UQ is a need to have a ft (a target transformation function for a new task)  to acceptably respond to an element from Dt – the ft is a model we don’t have so on our vertical axis we are low! But we are possibly far to the right since we are getting a clear view of the environment or we would be if the features between source and target are the same – BUT keep in mind there is far more to generating the appropriate representation than classification/regression/clustering – we need a cohesive narrative – CHALLENGE – we need to extend this definition beyond classification … – to simulation – we need a simulation of the current environment as the representation – and UQ defined in that space! — Pan survey on transfer learning


We also want to have a discussion on what is a simulation – we want to briefly review the ideas that led to us concluding that consciousness is a simulation that is situated and structurally coherent.  The goal of this discussion is to crystalize ‘what is new with QuEST’.


This all leads to a discussion of our primary interest – representation – what are the constraints in the representation that impact in a quantifiable manner the ability of a solution to respond to a query.  How can we capture a representation of the streaming video that can be used to generate useful captions and also useful for high valued target tracking and event detection.

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Weekly QuEST Discussion Topics, 19 Jan

January 18, 2018 Leave a comment

QuEST 19 Jan 2018:

As a group of QuEST people are focused on diversity of representations for autonomy we will spend the time tomorrow discussing work from some colleagues on Support Vector Machines +.  They’ve been using Vapnik’s teacher/student paradigm wherein the extra context/implicit knowledge comes from the presence and multiplicity in the human generated annotation / notes.

The new SVM+ is being considered as an alternative mechanism (to the current CNN/RNN approach) as a step towards cognitive flexibility.

Prof Oxley will give us a tutorial in preparation for our colleagues coming on-site and working with us next week.

Some relevant links for Vapnik’s newer work.
LUPI paper: http://www.jmlr.org/papers/volume16/vapnik15b/vapnik15b.pdf
SVM+ presentation slides: http://web.mit.edu/zoya/www/SVM+.pdf

3rd party implementation, out of curiosity: https://arxiv.org/abs/1604.01518

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Weekly QuEST Meeting cancelled for 12 Jan

January 11, 2018 Leave a comment

There will be no QuEST meeting this Friday, Jan 12.

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Weekly QuEST Discussion Topics, 5 Jan

January 4, 2018 Leave a comment

Kabrisky Lecture 2018


5 Jan 2018


Dr. Matthew Kabrisky was an Air Force pioneer and innovator.  From Air Force aviator in the 1950s to professor, mentor, and researcher, his discoveries paved the way for many modern technological advancements.  He developed theories of how the human brain processes information to recognize visual objects. This work directly led to the innovation of implanted electrodes for those afflicted with diseases such as epilepsy and injuries that resulted in paralysis. He was the leading international expert on the physiological symptoms of space adaptation sickness, i.e., motion sickness.  His research led NASA to a better understanding and an approach to mitigate the effects of space environments on astronauts.  His research in the area of robust speech recognition laid critical foundations for fostering the development of DoD and private industry products ranging from voice activated controls in advanced tactical aircrafts, to aides for the disabled and handicapped and industrial process control. In the 1990s, he helped lead a team of engineers that developed the world’s most accurate breast cancer detection system.  This highly successful product has helped in the detection of thousands of breast cancers before they would have otherwise been detected. Dr. Kabrisky’s pioneering efforts paved the way for current innovations across the Nation, the Air Force and at the Air Force Institute of Technology.

Every January the QuEST group uses the first lecture of the calendar year to present a ‘state of QuEST’ lecture in his honor as he was a founding member of the QuEST group.  This lecture sometimes takes more than one meeting as it is designed to bring anyone up to speed on how we use terms (for example intuition / consciousness …) and to communicate what we seek to accomplish and how we are pursuing our goals.

n  QuEST is an innovative analytical and software development approach to improve human-machine team decision quality over a wide range of stimuli (handling unexpected queries) by providing computer-based decision aids that are engineered to provide both intuitive reasoning and “conscious” context sensitive thinking.

n  QuEST provides a mathematical framework to understand what can be known by a group of people and their computer-based decision aids about situations to facilitate prediction of when more people (different training) or computer aids are necessary to make a particular decision.

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