Home > Uncategorized > Weekly QuEST Discussion Topics and News, 3 Feb.

Weekly QuEST Discussion Topics and News, 3 Feb.

QuEST 3 Feb 2017

We will start this week with discussing two articles from our colleague Teresa H – just a note – I really appreciate when our colleagues send us these sorts of links – if you come across something we should discussion send it along and as always anyone can present material – the first article is on the octopus  (article is related to our ongoing focus on embodied cognition) and a second article is on ‘Blindsight’ related to our ongoing discussion on subconscious and conscious processing/representation:


The Mind of an Octopus Eight smart limbs plus a big brain add up to a weird and wondrous kind of intelligence – Sci American Mind – Jan 2017:

  • Octopuses and their kin (cuttlefish and squid) stand apart from other invertebrates, having evolved with much larger nervous systems and greater cognitive complexity.
  • The majority of neurons in an octopus are found in the arms, which can independently taste and touch and also control basic motions without input from the brain.
  • Octopus brains and vertebrate brains have no common anatomy but support a variety of similar features, including forms of short- and long-term memory, versions of sleep, and the capacities to recognize individual people and explore objects through play.

Amygdala Activation for Eye Contact Despite Complete Cortical Blindness
Nicolas Burra,2,3 Alexis Hervais-Adelman,3,4 Dirk Kerzel,2,3 Marco Tamietto,5,7 Beatrice de Gelder,5,6
and Alan J. Pegna1,2,3

The Journal of Neuroscience, June 19, 2013 • 33(25):10483–10489 • 10483

  • Cortical blindness refers to the loss of **conscious ** vision that occurs after destruction of the primary visual cortex. Although there is no sensory cortex and hence no conscious vision, some cortically blind patients show amygdala activation in response to facial or bodily expressions of emotion. Here we investigated whether direction of gaze could also be processed in the absence of any functional visual cortex.
  • A well-known patient with bilateral destruction of his visual cortex and subsequent cortical blindness was investigated in an fMRI paradigm during which blocks of faces were presented either with their gaze directed toward or away from the viewer.
  • Increased right amygdala activation was found in response to directed compared with averted gaze. Activity in this region was further found to be functionally connected to a larger network associated with face and gaze processing. The present study demonstrates that, in human subjects, the amygdala response to eye contact does not require an intact primary visual cortex.

We also then want to continue our discussion of the Kabrisky lecture – What is QueST? – specifically this week a recent thread of email discussions have focused on the missing link for recommender systems – they can’t ‘appreciate’ the information in the data or the context of the human’s environment / thoughts and current focus – thus they become a ‘feed’ – the human is sucking on the firehose feed – social media example – but people can’t seem to disconnect (they don’t have the will power to disconnect) – if we design a joint cognitive social media system focused on ‘mindfulness’ and thus a context aware ‘feed’ that provides some value –  how can QuEST agents facilitate the human getting into the ‘zone’ – the apparent slowdown in time – we conjecture that the conscious perception of time is associated with the efficient ‘chunking’ of experiences – thus a QuEST ‘wingman’ agent that helps the human recognize and exploit chunks would provide the insights to better respond to what may seem without it to be an overwhelming set of stimuli – thus our comment – a conscious recommender system facilitates the human decision maker getting into the zone

The other item still on the agenda is Cap has to give several talks coming up – we will post the FAQ on Autonomy, AI and Human machine teaming – Cap has also been asked to generate some material on historical perspectives in neural science and computational models associated with machine learning and artificial intelligence so we will have some discussion along those lines and once the material is cleared for posting we will post it also.  “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning:  Where are we?  How did we get here?  Where do we need to go?  Does that destination require ‘artificial consciousness’?”

Specifically – in one recent study cap presented at it was concluded that:

Operationally AI, it can be defined as those areas of R&D practiced by computer scientists who identify with one or more of the following academic sub-disciplines: Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Robotics (including Human-Robot Interactions), Search and Planning, Multi-agent Systems, Social Media Analysis (including Crowdsourcing), and Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (KRR).  In contradistinction to artificial general intelligence:

  • Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is a research area within AI, small as measured by numbers of researchers or total funding, that seeks to build machines that can successfully perform any task that a human might do. Where AI is oriented around specific tasks, AGI seeks general cognitive abilities. On account of this ambitious goal, AGI has high visibility, disproportionate to its size or present level of success, among futurists, science fiction writers, and the public.

We will want to pull on these threads with respect to the breakthroughs in deep learning and the promise of other approaches to include unsupervised learning, reinforcement learning …


PDF file for FAQ on Autonomy, Artificial Intelligence, and Human-machine teaming.

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