Home > Uncategorized > No QUEST Meeting for next two weeks

No QUEST Meeting for next two weeks

In lieu of a meeting this week 15 July and next week 22 July (adam and I both are on the road) – we will have virtual discussions on the blog – the main topic is how to experimentally test our QUEST ideas. Below are some of the straw man ideas:

QUEST – situational consciousness versus situational awareness

Initiative: A framework for flexible autonomy based on extending modern approaches to Situational Awareness towards Situational Consciousness representations. (as per Cowell – student of Searle – we define consciousness as generation of qualia, thus a system that generates a representation that has the engineering characteristics of qualia we will define as being artificially conscious, and since it is our position that the fundamental unit of conscious cognition is a situation {see Barsalou} we posit that robust decision making requires ‘situational consciousness’.)

Project Description: QuEST (Qualia Exploitation of Sensor Technology) is framed in a subjective representation that the agent is ‘conscious’ of and that can adapt to ever changing sensors, the unique information experienced by the sensors as a result of their unique embedding, as well as information associated with the conscious exploitation approach to be used. Subjective ‘conscious’ representations that are not tied to maintaining fidelity with physics based reality are a critical component of robust decision making. Thus QUEST solutions can deal with sensor imperfections / degradations and dramatic differences in the input reliably and effectively overcoming the problem with objective representations. Any objective representation attempts to capture attributes of the environment under consideration as accurately in a physics sense as possible before feeding into exploitation algorithms. Objective solutions often fail to produce a robust solution that can support commander’s decision making across a range of problems. Humans make decisions based in part on subjective representations that they are conscious of that represent the world using a vocabulary of ever changing primitives called qualia. For example, the color you see when looking at a scene or the pain you feel when you stub your toe are examples of qualia. Qualia are completely internal, and completely individualized. Therefore, QUEST solutions have the ability to detect, distinguish, and characterize entities in the environment, to include a representation of its self. It will also be able to construct a Theory of Mind, a representation of the subjective representation of another agent, to enable conclusions to be drawn about the internal feelings (qualia) of sentient entities, such as sentiment and, most importantly, commander’s intent.

Accordingly, QuEST replicates a human’s unique ability of creating a conscious representation blended with a reflexive intuitive representation together forming an integrated stable, consistent and useful representation of the world:

**** changes to this diagram — suggested — between Libet and Qualia Cartesian Theater the arrow from left to right is 11 mb flow but going right to left is 50 bits/sec. *** would change the box ‘conscious aware’ to be “awareness is an estimate of the agreement between the physical world and the qualia based simulation”

The contextual information being used by the conscious representation is the result of both external cues (from the Libet representation) as well as, perhaps, more importantly, from a top-down perspective gained from experience and contexts. We shall systematically test these crucial assertions: There is a Qualia Cartesian Theater of low bandwidth for interactions to synchronize with physical details and rich in contextual / inferred / confabulated information that a person actually uses to make a conscious decision. The purpose is to quantify the following two aspects of the Qualia Cartesian Theater in terms of:
(1) Quality of the external cues;
(2) Kind, amount, and interactions of the contextual information between external cues and from the top-down perspective.

By manipulating the quality of the physical world or aspects of the top-down perspective, we will be able to correspondingly vary the performance of action(s). The lowest quality of the physical world or internally generated context that brings about the baseline performance represents the quality of the Cartesian Theater for creating enough contextual information to generate Qualia or consciousness. To rephrase, we are interested in quantifying the minimum perceptual quality (through an 11 mbit/sec BW pipeline) that supports the cognitive processing of Qualia [made up mainly of contextual information and knowledge about the external world from perception] (by a 50 bit/sec BW processor).

Significance: The result will provide some evidence for Qualia and allow Quest researchers to begin quantifying the functional “representation” that a computer needs to align with the human in, which the flexible autonomy is built on.

Common mathematical framework:
In order to design interpredictable systems that consists of both human and machine agents, it becomes necessary to develop a common framework for agent modeling. That is, we need a general way to describe agents and their interactions mathematically that is not tied to the specific implementation of the agent. On the other hand, the mathematics must be expressive enough to leverage whatever knowledge we might have about a particular agent. This expressive abstract modeling capability would provide the flexibility needed to model systems of heterogeneous agents without comprising the ability to accurately predict the actions of an agent or system of agents. We will build on previous work to further develop a model of agent interaction based on the category of conditional probabilities, which allows us to include uncertainty inherently. We will also make use of the theory of sheaves, which are mathematical tools for hierarchically integrating local information into global information.

Situations are inherently subjective to a particular agent and are characterized by the way that they interact with other parts of an agent’s internal representation of the world. Regarding subjectivity, we contend that it is not meaningful to discuss situations in the real world, but only as constructed by a particular agent (or system of agents). That is, situations are only a construct of the internal representation of a specific agent. This leads to the need to develop methods for comparing the subjective situations in distinct agents—e.g. to assess consensus, alignment, or conflict between the situational information of each agent or system of agents. To do this, we must first have a rigorous mathematical characterization of situations that is able to not only model the objects and relationships, but to do so with incomplete or noisy information in complex environments.


Culbertson, J. and Sturtz, K., “A categorical foundation for Bayesian probability,” arXiv:1205.1488v2, 2012.

Culbertson, J., Sturtz, K., and Oxley, M., “Representations of probabilistic situations,” Proc. SPIE:DSS 8392, 2012.

Culbertson, J., Sturtz, K., Oxley, M., and Rogers, S., “Probabilistic situations for reasoning,” Proc. CogSIMA, 2012.

Add other article references – life/death of atr, ryer/ trevor article, dube article, byers articles?

Categories: Uncategorized
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