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Weekly QUEST Discussion Topics and News, Aug 23rd

QUEST Discussion Topics and News
August 23rd, 2013

1.) Topic one is the revisit / review of the QUEST overview story based on discussions last week and my trip to Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Specifically Bob E asked some very important questions
a. First about the use of color ‘discrimination’ in my attempt to communicate the Qualia theory of Relativity as one of the ‘simple and elegant set of fundamental laws’ we need for our Theory of Consciousness – he and Robert P discussed how color discrimination is pretty consistent – this stimulated a series of emails trying to distinguish between functional discrimination abilities and the qualia of the individuals if you will the ‘inverted spectrum’ issue. We want to at least briefly allow people to chime in on this discussion.
b. Second he asked about the Principle of Structural Coherence – as another one of our fundamental laws – this idea was stimulated by the article by the Philosopher David Chalmers ‘the puzzle of conscious experience’ – we will briefly review the material and let people chime in on their acceptance or not of the ideas and whether they should be included in the set of laws.
c. The last topic from the overview is the ‘get off the stage material’ – we usually use the cloud diagram to sum up what we seek – during the Oak Ridge discussions it was thought provoking to include at this point the idea of a common framework that includes humans and computers so we have a shot at a Theory of Knowledge – by that I mean the ability to estimate whether a given set of agents (humans and computers) have the capacity to capture the situation in the world being considered and thus appropriately respond to it.
2.) The second topic on my list this week are the articles we have left over –all are addressing aspects of issues related to parsing the world into meaningful entities (very broad term I’m using to capture entities that could be objects in the environment or events etc.)
a. Connecting the Dots: Object Connectedness Deceives Perception but Not Movement Planning – Jennifer L. Milne et al – Psychological Science online 13 June 2013. The perceptual system parses complex scenes into discrete objects. Parsing is also required for planning visually guided movements when more than one potential target is present. To examine whether visual perception and motor planning use the same or different parsing strategies, we used the connectedness illusion, in whichobservers typically report seeing fewer targets if pairs of targets are connected by short lines. We found that despite this illusion, when observers are asked to make speeded reaches toward targets in such displays, their reaches are unaffected by the presence of the connecting lines. Instead, their movement plans, as revealed by their movement trajectories, are influenced by the number of potential targets irrespective of whether connecting lines are present or not. This suggeststhat scene parsing for perception depends on mechanisms that are distinct from those that allow observers to plan rapid and efficient target-directed movements in situations with multiple potential targets (*** we might suggest a system supporting sys1 versus a system supporting sys2 aspects of the internal representation **)
b. The second article on the topic is from Sci Am July 2013 – Once Blind and now they see – by Pawan Sinha – a riveting article on the topic – India is home to one of the world’s largest populations of blind children, estimated at nearly 400,000. The visual handicap, coupled with extreme poverty, greatly compromises the children’s quality of life; moreover, mortality rates are frighteningly high. The World Health Organization estimates that up to 60 percent of children die within one year of going blind. Less than 10 percent of these children receive any education. For blind girls, the outlook is even more dire. Many are confined to home and suffer physical or sexual abuse…blindness in 40% of the children was treatable or preventable … following the progress of newly sighted child could help us understand visual learning – … For a person to “see,” the various pieces of an image must cohere into distinct objects, a process termed intramodal organization. The second requirement,intermodal organization, has to do with the interaction of vision with other senses…The newly sighted exhibit profound impairments. They are unable to organize the many regions of different colors and brightness into larger assemblies. Many features of ordinary objects—the overlapping sections of two squares or a section of a ball delineated by the lacing on its surface— are perceived as entirely separate objects, not component parts of larger structures. It is as if the visual scene for a newly sighted person is a collage of many unrelated areas of color and luminance … what cues allow us as individuals to parse complex visual correctly? … there is also an article given to us by Col Ryer on ‘Face Recognition by Humans: Nineteen results all computer and vision researchers should know about’ also by P Sinha.
c.) the last related article was provided by our colleague Robert Patterson – on analogical reasoning – it is a chapter by Douglas Hofstadter – Epilogue: Analogy as the core of cognition – ‘every concept we have is essentially nothing but a tightly packaged bundle of analogies’
3.) Another topic that was discussed at the close of the meeting last week was a query by Andres about what is required for consciousness – that returned us to the Cambridge declaration – and stimulated a series of emails that we can briefly review and allow people to chime in on –
4.) Also Andres stimulated an email chain by his comments on the book ‘The righteous mind politics religion – that also stimulated a flood of related articles that we can discuss.
5.) There was also a very recent article sent to us by our colleague Rik Warren on inattentional blindness – ‘the invisible gorilla strikes again: sustained IB in expert observers’ – by Drew et al. – psychological Science – Jul 2013.
6.) I would like you guys help me articulate a couple of research search questions hoping to find the details / facts that will allow the points to be made –
a. The most recent one is the physiological details of the feedback from the higher centers of the brain back down to the lower processing parts possibly hopefully including the sensors themselves – I believe the numbers of 10:1 feedback versus feedforward are right but I want the details so we can nail this down – also for other than visual would be of interest and also any models people are using/discussing on the purpose of those pathways – the big point I’m trying to drive home is the need to have tightly integrated perception / sensors closed loop – thus active sensing versus sense then exploit.
b. The second area that is still bugging me are the comments like ‘we can’t use people in the critical path for problems like cyber warfare because they are too slow and the reaction time has to be so fast – the information I’m seeking is in the area of response times that demonstrate that humans respond reflexively quicker than when they use their consciousness to determine the response – the model I’m suggesting then would be a human-computer symbiotic relationship where we do automated reflexive systems to respond but they are integrated with a human providing the conscious guidance to help control the reflexive response — so the facts I’m seeking are examples of human response times where consciousness cannot be in the loop – and the ways response times with consciousness in the loop to make this case – again the point being an approach to using humans in responding when the response times have to be quicker than what on the surface a human could satisfy BUT an approach that allows human guidance / intent collaborative solutions in those instances with humans and use the physiological control over our body’s reactions as a means to convince we do this all the time – our low level sensors cause reactions that are in some sense guidable by our conscious mental states

Weekly QUEST Discussion Topics and News 23 Aug 13

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