Archive for September, 2010

QUEST Discussion Topics and News, Oct 1

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Discussion Topics

1.)  If Maj Dube is present, we will continue the discussion of how to map his work onto the ‘designing conscious systems’ architectures.

2.)  A discussion on the principles of compressive sensing and their implications on quest solutions.  What does sparsity and incoherence teach us about how a qualia basis set must be architected?  How can our prior work in choosing representation axes not for reconstruction but for class discrimination be applied?


QUEST Discussion Topics and News, Oct 1 2010


QUEST Discussion Topics, 9/17

September 17, 2010 Leave a comment

QUEST Discussion Topics


One of the pieces I want to include in our discussion tomorrow is the problem of representation of time in a QUEST based solution applicable for exploiting persistent sensing data – we currently store frames of data with time metadata associated with the frames and some sensing specifics (location and orientation of sensor) etc. – the question becomes can our view of the quale of time provide a unique innovative approach to representation of the ‘memory’ of the ‘experienced’ data in a sys2 part of the solutions that gets away from this physics time tag mentality?

  1. Link game, cache, dreaming and the quale of time –the general challenges of the link game, recall we have posited that there is a quale of time, adam recently suggested that the units of the quale of time are ‘links’, we would like to have a discussion of the impact of link game and perceived time, example – when a bball game ‘slows down’ for Michael Jordan I suggest this implies that the number of qualia links that he has to exercise to accurately predict / respond to events in the game are fewer than other experiences in a game thus he has the perception that it ‘slowed down’ with respect to his ‘stress’ – the amount of tension and the quale of being rushed versus those experiences where he has to deliberate over many qualia links to get to an acceptable (feels right) answer for the response and in those cases things are happening with the quale of happening fast compared to his quale of deliberation – the idea carries over to when you are learning to drive a car – at first it is a very ‘stressful’ experience where things are happening so fast when compared to your deliberation speed (deliberation is the process of exercising qualia links) – then as you become a more experienced driver you relegate many of the expected activities down to Sys1 (Libet) and you can drive while talking on the phone and changing the music and fixing your makeup -> driving ‘slows down’ in the sense that you don’t have to use many qualia level chunks not many qualia level links are involved so the ‘stress of feeling like too many things are happening too quickly is gone so in that sense it slows down’ but in the sense that your perception of elapsed time it flies by (there are not many qualia links that can anchor the passing of wall clock time).
  2. Narratives – the fundamental unit of cognition ISN’T these categories / qualia / concepts but the situations you form with them – that is we would suggest you can’t define / formulate these categories independent of the context (all the other active categories – that is the way they are linked) – if you will we would suggest that culture specific (and as per my comment on the immortal matt) even person specific ‘situation vocabulary’ made up of these categories allows us to infer categories in streaming overwhelming stimuli –
  3. YATE project – the idea that using Second Life to provide ‘links’ while presenting concepts – brainstorm the hypothesis to be tested – what are the  controls – what is the expected outcome
  4. Spinning Road illusion – related to number 1 above – the idea that context controls perception
  5. Image quality – hit brian with the quest definition – tied to number of ‘situations’ that can be extracted by a given class of agents
  6. Architecting conscious systems – return to the shannahan etc work – what architectures might be the key to replicating some of the engineering advantages we seek

Discussion Topics and News, 9/17

QUEST Discussion Topics, 9/10

September 10, 2010 Leave a comment

QUEST Discussion Topics

September 10, 2010

1.)  Neuro cinematics – it is very difficult to estimate the impact of any stimuli on a person, there is recent work led by among others RH and colleagues at George Mason in neuro ergonomics, this article discusses ongoing commercial work in using fMRI to analyze brain activity when subjects are exposed to movie sequences.  The quest question is can our recent discussion of the ‘link game’ provide a better / less invasive and more useable approach to estimating the impact of stimuli in these applications and others we’ve discussed to include more efficient warfighter training, finding the ‘buy button’ for advertising, ….  We want to tie to this discussion a recent article in the NY times – ‘good study habits’ – this leads us down the path of the need for links to associate new concepts with current concepts and the use of time/space to make those concepts anchored.  This seems to be related to another interest of ours – the mixing of exercises (crossfit) allows the muscles to ‘associate’ and seems to be a better approach to fitness.

2.)  Link game, cache, dreaming and the quale of time – we want to revisit our discussion from above and the general challenge of the link game, recall we have posited that time is a quale, adam recently suggested that the units of time are ‘links’, we would like to have a discussion of the impact of link game and perceived time, example – when a bball game ‘slows down’ for Michael Jordan does this imply that the amount of qualia links that he has to exercise to accurately predict / respond to events in the game are fewer than other experiences in a game thus he has the perception that it ‘slowed down’.

3.)  Image quality discussion – we have two points to bring up on this topic from last week:  The fundamental unit of cognition is a situation – thus if we want to estimate image quality we want to extract a measure of the ‘situation’ extraction quality.  The number of concepts (qualia) and relationships between them that an average agent of a given class of agents could reasonably be expected to extract – the second point is that we believe there is No Free Lunch for Image quality – unless we define the agents being supplied the images and the thus the information need they are trying to resolve there is NO hope for coming up with a useful estimate of image quality

4.)  One quale at a time visual illusions article

QUEST Discussion Topics and News, 9/10

Learning and YATE

September 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Gist – Recall of learned concepts is greatly affected by the environment under which the learning took place, the more links that were present the better.

Tags – learning, concepts, isolation, study habits, brain associations, links, intensive immersion, YATE, memory, recall

Student traits and teaching styles surely interact; so do personalities and at-home rules. The trouble is, no one can predict how…cognitive scientists have shown that a few simple techniques can reliably improve what matters most: how much a student learns from studying…directly contradict much of the common wisdom about good study habits, and they have not caught on…instead of sticking to one study location, simply alternating the room where a person studies improves retention. So does studying distinct but related skills or concepts in one sitting, rather than focusing intensely on a single thing.. Take the notion that children have specific learning styles, that some are “visual learners” and others are auditory; some are “left-brain” students, others “right-brain.”… team of psychologists found almost zero support for such ideas…“The contrast between the enormous popularity of the learning-styles approach within education and the lack of credible evidence for its utility is, in our opinion, striking and disturbing,” the researchers concluded…Some excellent instructors caper in front of the blackboard like summer-theater Falstaffs; others are reserved to the point of shyness. “We have yet to identify the common threads between teachers who create a constructive learning atmosphere,”… individual learning is another matter, and psychologists have discovered that some of the most hallowed advice on study habits is flat wrong. For instance, many study skills courses insist that students find a specific place, a study room or a quiet corner of the library, to take their work. The research finds just the opposite. In one classic 1978 experiment, psychologists found that college students who studied a list of 40 vocabulary words in two different rooms — one windowless and cluttered, the other modern, with a view on a courtyard — did far better on a test than students who studied the words twice, in the same room. Later studies have confirmed the finding, for a variety of topics…brain makes subtle associations between what it is studying and the background sensations it has at the time, the authors say, regardless of whether those perceptions are conscious. It colors the terms of the Versailles Treaty with the wasted fluorescent glow of the dorm study room, say; or the elements of the Marshall Plan with the jade-curtain shade of the willow tree in the backyard…when the outside context is varied, the information is enriched, and this slows down forgetting,”… arying the type of material studied in a single sitting — alternating, for example, among vocabulary, reading and speaking in a new language — seems to leave a deeper impression on the brain than does concentrating on just one skill at a time…“When students see a list of problems, all of the same kind, they know the strategy to use before they even read the problem,” said Dr. Rohrer. “That’s like riding a bike with training wheels.” With mixed practice, he added, “each problem is different from the last one, which means kids must learn how to choose the appropriate procedure — just like they had to do on the test.”…finding undermines the common assumption that intensive immersion is the best way to really master a particular genre, or type of creative work…Cognitive scientists do not deny that honest-to-goodness cramming can lead to a better grade on a given exam. But hurriedly jam-packing a brain is akin to speed-packing a cheap suitcase, as most students quickly learn…When the neural suitcase is packed carefully and gradually, it holds its contents for far, far longer. An hour of study tonight, an hour on the weekend, another session a week from now: such so-called spacing improves later recall, without requiring students to put in more overall study effort or pay more attention, dozens of studies have found…The process of retrieving an idea is not like pulling a book from a shelf; it seems to fundamentally alter the way the information is subsequently stored, making it far more accessible in the future…When students studied the same material twice, in back-to-back sessions, they did very well on a test given immediately afterward, then began to forget the material..But if they studied the passage just once and did a practice test in the second session, they did very well on one test two days later, and another given a week later….The harder it is to remember something, the harder it is to later forget. This effect, which researchers call “desirable difficulty,” is evident in daily life…

Categories: Uncategorized


September 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Gist – Use of neuroimaging techniques to develop better movies/marketing methods based off of desired user experience
Tags – neurocinematics, movies, fMRI, brain activity correlation, buy button

is this movie stirring up the right emotional reactions deep down? Rather than ask your opinion, it’s now possible to cut out the middleman and go straight to your brain for the verdict….new approach, known as neurocinematics, is beginning to make itself felt in movie-making and could one day help regulatory bodies implement appropriate age restrictions on films…investigate how the brain responds to movies using an fMRI brain scanner…When volunteers watched a section of Alfred Hitchcock’s Bang! You’re Dead, for example, they found that about 65 per cent of the frontal cortex – the part of the brain involved in attention and perception – was responding in the same way in all the viewers. Only 18 per cent of the cortex showed a similar response when the participants watched more free-form footage, of sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm…”Greater correlation doesn’t mean the movie is better,” Hasson notes. Some film-makers aim for the opposite – to leave the movie open to interpretation…coherent scene structure was needed to achieve the highest correlation of activity between viewers in parts of the brain involved in extracting meaning…similar technique could help a film editor work out how effective different edits are for an audience’s understanding of a film…also using fMRI to see how active different parts of a viewer’s brain are during a screening (see diagram). Among other things, knowing which areas are activated when you see your leading lady or man could inform future casting decisions…reckons his company can also identify what the brain of a captivated viewer looks like, depending on the aim of the scene. As a general rule, an “engaged” brain will have high levels of activity in areas involved in processing sound and images. And if a person is watching a good horror movie, for example, you’d expect to see more activity in the amygdala – the part of the brain that responds to threats. On the other hand, a scene which inspires compassion will activate the insula…Another key area is the ventromedial prefrontal cortex – part of the brain thought to be involved in self-awareness. “That’s a very specific area that we feel should ‘light up’ if the goal of your movie is to connect with people,”… . When the viewers used old-fashioned red and blue 3D glasses, their brain scans suggested they were less engaged in the film than when modern polarised glasses were used. 3D movie-makers seem to be on to a good thing though – 3D scenes increased general brain activation compared with 2D…MindSign is already in the business of improving movie scenes and trailers using neurocinematics. Remember the latest Harry Potter movie trailer?… Brain scans aren’t only aiding movie-makers, they can help advertisers too. The elusive mental “buy button” – the brain activity seen in a person poised to purchase – is the ultimate goal of neuromarketing…used an fMRI scanner to track brain activity in people while they shop at online stores Amazon and iTunes. The group watched the participants’ brain activity in real time as they bought items ranging from songs to sofas…

Categories: Uncategorized

Words and thought

September 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Gist – Words existing in our heads tells us that language plays a role in internal thoughts, not just external communication

Tags – language, words, thoughts, perception, mental experiences, benefits of words, labeling objects,

You think more words than you speak – perhaps because language really does shape the way we navigate the world…Measuring the contents of people’s minds is difficult, but it seems that up to 80 per cent of our mental experiences are verbal. Indeed, the extent of our interior monologue may vastly exceed the number of words we speak out loud. “On average, 70 per cent of our total verbal experience is in our head,”… language helps us to think and perceive the world….words bring a smorgasbord of benefits to human cognition, from abstract thinking to sensory perception. These effects may even explain why language evolved in the first place…Studies in the late 1990s indicated that infants are better able to group objects into categories – animals versus vehicles, say – if they have already learned the category names…spatial reasoning of young children is improved by reminding them of words such as “top”, “middle” and “bottom”…participants who were given names for the aliens learned to identify the predators far more quickly, reaching 80 per cent accuracy in less than half the time taken by those not told the names…found that when asked to label items, volunteers were later less likely to recall the specific details of products, such as whether a chair had arms or not (Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, vol 137, p 348). That’s because labelling objects helps our minds build a prototype of the typical object in the group at the expense of individual features, Lupyan says. This may not be as unhelpful as it sounds. “Memory is quite categorical, so we often don’t need to remember the specific details,” he adds…. ords you say, think and hear have a very real impact on the way you see… hearing verbs associated with vertical movement – such as “climb”, “rise” or “drip” – affects the eye’s sensitivity to such motion… Hearing a letter said out loud helps people pinpoint it among a string of other letters… words prime the visual systems of our brain, conjuring up a mental image that makes us more sensitive to the stimulus when it is seen. This phenomenon, in which our thoughts, expectations and sensations from the other senses can feed back into the visual system and alter what we see, is known as “top-down processing”… Russian speakers, who have two words for different shades of blue, really are faster at discriminating between the different shades than English speakers… thinks our personal monologue has a significant, though perhaps less pronounced, effect on cognition. “It’s difficult, or in many cases impossible, to manipulate inner speech experimentally,” he says. “But I don’t think words need to be heard out loud or seen in written form to have an impact.” Given that 80 per cent of our mental life appears to be verbal, that’s a profoundly important claim… If words can help us identify friendly and hostile aliens in the lab, they might also have helped our ancestors to learn which animals were dangerous and which not, or which berries were poisonous and which nourishing…. “Language is like augmented reality – an overlay that changes how we think, reason and see,”… Language, she believes, is how the human brain focuses on the essential details. “It’s like a guidebook that has been developed by thousands of people before you, who have figured out what is important for us to survive and adapt to our environment.”…

Categories: Uncategorized

Tech horizons

September 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Gist – Overly optimistic view of computer capabilities down the road.

Tags – human computer gap, 30 year predictions, autonomous systems,

“Humans today are still more capable than machines, but by 2030 that is absolutely not going to be the case anymore,”… report gives an informed analysis of how the world of science and technology will develop during the next 20 years and indentifies candidate technologies that offer the greatest potential return for limited investment dollars… briefly covered three of the report’s major findings… first, he cited, is a greater use of highly adaptable, autonomous systems to achieve both improved capability and the benefit of reducing manpower costs… influx of autonomy will bring along the challenge of proving that autonomous systems are not only effective in the lab but will perform the way they should under every imaginable scenario… second finding Dr. Dahm presented spoke to the rapid evolution of technology to a state beyond natural human capacities… by 2030, man and machine will be coupled in such a way where it is difficult to tell where one starts and the other ends… must focus a greater fraction of science and technology investments on research to support increased freedom of operations in contested environments… types of environments he cited warranting particular emphasis in terms of research are resilient cyber domains, operations in GPS-denied environments and electromagnetic spectrum warfare…

Categories: Uncategorized