Archive for May, 2010

Weekly Quest Material, 5/21

QUEST Discussion Topics

May 21, 2010

1.)  This week’s meeting will serve as the first in a 2-part series of our internal preparation for Dr. Lawrence Barsalou’s visit on June 4th.  I have copied and pasted below some snippets from a flyer that Dr. Oxley and Dr. Tsou put together announcing Dr. Barsalou’s visit and the material that he plans to discuss with us.  Our hope is that by taking the opportunity to review his material ahead of time as a group we can best prepare ourselves for a productive session when he is actually in town.  Attached to this message is a copy of a paper of his titled ‘Perceptual Symbol Systems’.  Capt Amerika has gone through the effort of generating some slides to attempt to summarize and put a QUEST twist the paper, if anyone would like a copy of them just let me know.










AFIT/AFOSR Guest Lecturer Colloquium

“Grounding Knowledge in the Brain’s Modal Systems”

Dr. Lawrence W. Barsalou

Department of Psychology

Emory University

Atlanta, GA

1000-1100 Friday, 4 June 2010

Bane Auditorium, AFIT, Building 640

 Abstract: The conceptual system in the brain contains categorical knowledge that supports online processing (perception, categorization, inference, action) and offline processing (memory, language, thought).  Semantic memory, the dominant theory of the conceptual system, typically portrays it as modular and amodal. According to this approach, amodal symbols represent category knowledge in a modular system, separate from the brain’s modal systems for perception, action, and introspection (e.g., affect, mental states).  Alternatively, the conceptual system can be viewed as non-modular and modal, sharing representational mechanisms with the brain’s modal systems.  On a given occasion, multimodal information about a category’s members is reenacted (simulated) across relevant modalities to represent it conceptually.  Behavioral and neural evidence is presented showing that modal simulations contribute to the representation of object categories and abstract categories, and to the symbolic operations of predication and conceptual combination.  Further evidence demonstrates that these simulations are situated, containing information about background situations central to goal-directed action. Evidence also shows that language as well as simulation plays central roles in conceptual processing.

Air Force Relevance: For many years, human operators have been tightly controlling one or a few machines with focused goals.  In today’s coordinated, complex missions, tight human supervision must be relaxed to allow interaction at a much higher level under thoughtful human supervision, absent the error-inducing strains of micro-management. We need to communicate better with the machines and we need to design machines that communicate to humans what they need to know, when they need to know it, and in a form that the human can consume.  An example of this need is the Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz challenge to the ISR enterprise to use its in-depth expertise to solve the problem of dealing with the deluge of data coming into ISR systems from the increasing number of sensors and ISR sorties. An AFRL/AFIT-led research group called QUEST (QUalia Exploitation of Sensing Technology) is endeavored to script a roadmap for a “language” between humans and machines for communicating how each is thinking (intent) and doing (action), respectively.  The goal is to create integrated human-machine solutions for ‘wicked’ problems. Professor Barsalou has been pioneering research into how humans organize and abstract perception, knowledge, and concept formulation for situational awareness, understanding, and decision-making capability to compensate for dynamic events, adversary actions, and conflicting goals. These human attributes need to be understood if human/machine communication is to occur.


Barsalou PSS

Discussion Topics and News Articles for QUEST 5-21

Awareness and Consciousness

I would like to propose a unique use of these words – we keep getting wrapped up in how to use them:
Let me continue to define consciousness as generation of qualia – discernible aspects of your illusory cartesean theater.  Since each aspect has levels of uncertainty qualia can be measured in terms of the reduction of uncertainty for any given aspect of the cartesean theater thus = bits of qualia.  This gives me hope of coming up with a Theory of Knowledge (to also be defined – but we can tie to the sensing bandwidth …). 
Let me define awareness as the fidelity of the consciousness representation to physical reality.  If you will the mutual information between the Cartesean theater representation and God’s representation.
Thus when you are dreaming you are NOT aware but you are conscious.  You are generating a Cartesean theater out of qualia BUT the fidelity of that representation and the physical reality of the current environment is very low thus not aware.  The blindsight person has no cartesean ‘visual’ representation of the hallway thus no visual consciousness AND no visual awareness.  There is some aspect of their internal representation that has fidelity with the external world but it is below the level of consciousness.  You could (although very confusing to do it) say the Libet system is ‘aware’ of the objects in the hallway in the sense that the Libet system has fidelity (mutual information between its representation =bits and God’s representation = bits that represent the objects in the hallway).
Capt amerika

Blindsight reference and video

In the most recent Scientific American there was a good article on blindsight written by the woman who conducted the original TN experiment that we reference frequently.  We can’t share the article contents, but feel free to go run it down if you’re interested.  A link to the video of the original experiment is included below.