Home > Meeting Topics and Material > QUEST Discussion Topics June 18,2010

QUEST Discussion Topics June 18,2010

Quest Discussion Topics

June 18, 2010

1.) Awareness and Consciousness – we want to return to my attempt to distinguish aspects of our internal representation of the world by defining these terms in a way so we can use those definitions to communicate impacts to some of the architectures that we are considering for QUEST solutions. 

a.     We will define consciousness as the generation of qualia within the context of a complete ‘narrative’ – a complete world model (what Prof Barsalou calls a ‘situation’).  Qualia are the introspectively available aspects of the internal representation.  You can’t have a quale out of context.  It has to be integrated within a ‘narrative’ = ‘situation’.  Any aspect of that internal representation may or may not be ‘true’ with respect to the reality of the world.  There is no way for us to know whether our qualia are ‘real’ or not since we only have access to them – we don’t have access to the world just our internal representation of that world. 

b.     We will define awareness as the agreement between the internal representation and the reality of the world – if you will the mutual information between the two. 

c.      By this definition you are always ‘aware’ of things you are ‘conscious’ of as being qualia,  (when I see red on a coke bottle the red I see is the quale evoked by the external stimuli (photons) and so there is always perfect agreement ‘awareness’ of my quale (consciousness of the redness) and the fact that red is my quale associated with the color of the coke bottle top) so my awareness of this as an experience is high) BUT aspects of your conscious representation can be incorrect and thus have misleading ‘awareness’ – so for example in the coke top we could do the Land Mondrian idea and with the right illumination an  surrounding shapes/colors the same top could evoke the quale of ‘orange’ – I would have the conscious impression that the top was orange – but that isn’t true and so my awareness of the FACT that the top of the bottle has the color red is low.  Similarly for the color constancy example we use in our power points – I’m conscious of the two squares on a checkerboard being of different brightness although there is low awareness of that calculation since they are really ARE the same brightness – another example BIIDs (body integrity identity disorder) where you are conscious of a limb (like your leg) being a leg = there is awareness of it as a leg — BUT your consciousness (qualia) of it being ‘your’ leg is incorrect – it doesn’t feel like your leg – there is a misleading quale being formed thus low ‘awareness’ with respect to the ‘self’ quale associated with the leg. 

d.     (we have a powerpoint on consciousness and awareness using these definitions and some web material on color constancy available for those who request it).

2.)  Architectures for QUEST – we want to return to the work of Sloman and virtual machines as a discussion of the characteristics of ‘conscious’ architectures.  The idea that introspection is a perception and as such we are only conscious of those aspects of internal processing the evoke distinct qualia and thus introspection can be deceptive with respect to architecture implications.   Architecture strata of interest are (powerpoint and article):

a.     Reactive

b.     Hybrid

c.      Deliberative

3.)  Also the work of Aleksander on designing conscious systems.  Specifically his five axioms for what consciousness ‘feels’ like:  what important elements of consciousness feel like and how they may by translated into neural mechanisms (power point and article):

a.     presence,

b.     imagination,

c.      attention,

d.     volition

e.     emotion.

4.)  STEM project discussion

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