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Weekly QuEST Discussion Topics and News, 21 Mar

QuEST March 21, 2014

The first topic is a discussion of Qualia as a vocabulary for conscious deliberation. Specifically I want to tee up a discussion on the 50 bits/sec bandwidth limitation tenet (now a sub tenet) of our Theory of consciousness. Igor was asking how to convert the human cognition type 2 processing to bits/sec in a Shannon sense – below is a cut/paste from an old discussion Matt /Adam and I had some time back when we were adding the 50 bits/sec tenet (now a sub tenet in the simulation tenet)

An example of where the 50 bits/sec comes from is requiring a subject to read unfamiliar text (like a newspaper article) as fast as he can. At about 2.5 bits/letter => about 7 or 8 bits/five letter words and about 300 words/minute, you get around 40 bits/second. If you memorize the text, you can speak faster than that, but then the listener has trouble understanding what has been said (sounds like the lawyer-speak at the end of a TV contest offer). We used to extend this the vision too, by making an assumption about the number of pictures any person could identify, and rate at which he could do it (we would use a camera shutter and flash slides up and ask the observer to identify the object) ; it also comes out at about 50 bits/sec.

Suppose that the receiver (in Shannon’s formal channel) is a qualia decoder (like the human visual system is) and is therefore looking for only a VERY small subset of all the possible signals (formally, an infinite number of possible world events).

I think that this channel, which consists of the real world as a transmitter [of photons] to the receiver [which is the 50 bit/sec visual system] turns out to have an extremely high information transmission rate for the things that it cares about. In this way, the HVS evades Shannon rate limits (so much for that physics stuff).

For QUEST to work this way and exploit the power of qualia matching as a detector, it will have to have some efficient way of selecting what the qualia need to be for any specific task.

How can a 50 bit/second comm channel (like the human visual channel) enable construction of an exquisitely detailed model of the real world, in real time (with a slight 200 ms delay), inside the mind?

Only because hardly any of the sensed world data are needed to cue up the already stored internal qualia out of which the world model gets constructed. ONLY A QUALIA BASED SYSTEM CAN WORK the way animal sensory channels do. Once in a while, the wrong qualia are triggered into the mind and we get neckered (as in Necker cube); that’s small price to pay for a very fast sensory analysis system.

We spend the first years of our lives generating all the qualia we will use to internally compose the Cartesean theatre in our mind for the rest of our lives. We spend our night dreaming to modulate that set to continually refine the set for more efficient use.

What that means for QUEST is that we must be able to construct a set of internal qualia sufficient to span the entire set of things we expect to have to identify (make a list of statements about). Notice that fovea based visual systems avoid having to generate lots of possible qualia (that would be needed to compensate for PREDICTABLE variations in the real world, namely scale and rotation transformations), by building log r/theta hardware.

I don’t think the web 3.0 folks have the least idea of things like this; it would be like us trying to do PR or ATR in pixel space. Their approaches will never scale – will never be able to handle the Biederman issues. This is the purpose of QuEST.

Other topics on the plate we might discuss are –

definition of Chunks and relating that to our definition of qualia and our definition of situations.

Dreaming – see above – Bob E was asking about a comment Capt Amerika made about the purpose of dreaming so we might revisit our prior discussion of the use of dreaming as a means of refinement of our Qualia vocabulary.

An article sent by Robert P on ‘making fingers and words count in a cognitive robot


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