QuEST Weekly Meeting, October 16th

QUEST Topics 16 Oct 2009:

1.)  Data, Information, Knowledge, Meaning and Turing – if there are any discussion points people want to revisit here we can tie them down – the goal is not to come up with ‘airtight’ legally binding definitions but instead come up with a working understanding that will provide insight and hopefully new value added solution approaches for QUEST.

2.) Math resulting from ideas in One above – where are the qualia – what is the implications of Libet mapping versus Qualia level information – preliminary discussions and diagrams.  Implications of pockets of qualia (color, emotion, affordances, …) only some of which get populated – agents from One above that are associated to these pockets of qualia.  Only some of these are ‘turned loose’ to act on some aspect of the environmental representation.

3.) Next for Netflix and the implication for military learning systems that have large data sets?- time for algorithms that predict movie preferences using more user information, such as gender, age, and zip code. But experts say that the real challenge is to find ways to apply the lessons learned through the original Netflix challenge to other recommendation systems…original Netflix competition trained their algorithms using an enormous collection of data: more than 100 million ratings covering almost 18,000 titles from nearly half a million subscribers. To test their results, their algorithms were tested on a set of data maintained by Netflix and kept secret from the contests to prevent cheating… dataset was huge, but it was also sparse, meaning that customers typically rated about 1 percent of the movies they watched. “Cracking the 10 percent barrier thus meant pushing the limits of existing modeling techniques to a significant degree,… few key realizations allowed the winning algorithms to meet the goal. First, a powerful algorithm for searching for patterns in datasets, a technique known as collaborative filtering, was streamlined so that it could be used on the large Netflix dataset….pay attention to certain new types of details, for example the fact that ordering a movie at all indicates some preference for it, even if the customer didn’t rate it. Date and time information also proved significant. But the biggest realization, Potter notes, was that blending a variety of approaches yielded the best results… blending of different approaches has gotten a lot of attention in post-mortems… combining lots of algorithms with machine-learning techniques might be a good approach to handling large datasets in general… He hopes that the upcoming meeting in New York will help define a broader set of questions for researchers to address

4.) Update on HTM – Hierarchical temporal map of Numenta – we have new linked information that is available for discussion. *** Adam add the links that matt sent here ****

5.) News:

a.     AF lost its way – story about recent outpost being overrun and the stories that came out of the action implied to the blogger the ongoing issues with the AF role in current wars. ‘pitted hundreds of Taliban fighters against several platoons of American and Afghan troops in an isolated outpost. A platoon typically numbers 40 people. In hours of heavy fighting, the Taliban managed to penetrate the outpost’s walls and overrun some buildings. U.S. forces counter-attacked, eventually reclaiming the base. Around 100 Taliban died,…, had two F-15E Strike Eagles airborne when the fighting broke out on Saturday. Those two aircraft quickly diverted to support the ground troops, while four more F-15Es launched to join them…, “It would have been so much worse” if not for the Air Force’s efforts…, institution struggling with its identity, in the wake of high-profile scandals….

b.    AF role in ISR – great opportunity to map our discussion on working definitions of data, information, knowledge onto a mission set to see if we can find a new approach – need battlefield information *** we would suggest they need data since only they can make what they are provided into information relevant to what their current needs are – our model suggest that an Agent can generate its own information but can only provide another agent data – the goal is to have that agent’s data that it is providing to be in a form that can readily satisfy the need of the receiving agent so it can make necessary information (timely, and ina a useable form)***,… pilots provide leaders with the knowledge they need to make more informed decisions about operations **** again we would suggest ‘knowledge’ is what is used to transform data into information – one agent can’t provide another one knowledge – but an agent can have knowledge of another agent’s knowledge and by that have a better idea of the form of data they should provide to bring the most value ***.,…,From adam: where we bring value in our model is attempting to optimize the quality of the information given a theory of mind that the transmitting agent has of the receiving agent, allowing him to modify his output to make it more consumable and more useful for the receiver

c.     Learning to bomb nice – F-15E crews from North Carolina’s 335th Fighter Squadron, deployed to Bagram air base near Kabul, are learning to “bomb nice.”… cannon is another way to reduce civilian casualties, since it’s more precise and doesn’t go boom. But the F-15E’s gun was meant for dogfighting: it’s canted upward by several degrees for air-to-air shooting. To hit ground targets, you’ve really got to get down low and shove the jet’s nose in the earth. It’s harrowing work, and it’s a major reason why F-15E crews still need their gravity-fighting G-suits. There’s little prospect of blacking out in a high-G dogfight against the Taliban air force, but strafing runs are also sufficiently G-intensive to cause blackouts. And down that low, you’d never survive if you blanked. A pilot from an F-16 squadron also located at Bagram crashed and died while strafing during his pre-deployment training…

d.    Brain wave analysis and near death experiences – brain wave activity of terminally ill patients noted a surge moments before death, which may provide a physiological explanation for ‘out of body’ type experiences… noticed a burst in brain wave activity, with the spikes occurring at the same time before death and at comparable intensity and duration

e.     Facebook and Google take different approaches to problem of human translation – Facebook and Google are finding new ways to translate the Web  Facebook favors human translation; Google leans on its computers Google claims to be the largest translation service online, with 51 language Facebook announces a new service to let Internet users help translate sites… Facebook aims to translate the Web using an army of volunteers and some hired professional translators. Meanwhile, Google plans to let computers do most of the work… They suggest translated phrases and vote on translations that others have submitted. These crowd-sourced edits — which work kind of like Wikipedia…Google uses mathematical equations to try to translate the Web’s content. This fits in line with the company’s mission, which is to organize the world’s information and make it useful and accessible to all…

f.       Winning the war on breast cancer – enormous improvements in how we detect, treat, even prevent this disease… Once identified only by how far the disease had advanced — such as stage 0 or stage IV — scientists now know that breast cancer is actually many diseases and that each tumor has a unique genetic fingerprint. There are luminal A and B, HER2 type, and triple negative, among others. That means physicians can more effectively target treatment… cancer is diagnosed in the early stages of estrogen-receptor-positive cancer respond well to hormonal therapies including tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors, which starve breast cancer cells of the hormones they need to grow. And, since 2004, the Oncotype DX test that helps identify the best treatment has been available to women who get this type of cancer — which is about 75 percent of breast cancer patients…. past, we were giving chemotherapy to women who would have done just as well on hormonal therapy… radiation, new techniques target tumors with much more precision — and the benefits are huge. In some cases, the standard six weeks of treatment can now be reduced to as little as one week, cutting down on the fatigue many patients feel. Better planning and targeting also decrease the chances that radiation will lead to heart damage, and irradiating only part of the breast leaves open the possibility that the treatment can be used again if the disease returns….new research suggests that past advice to avoid weight-bearing exercise may be misguided. In a study of 141 breast cancer survivors with lymphedema, those who took weight-lifting classes saw less worsening of their condition and fewer symptoms, compared with the women who did not lift weights…linking good nutrition — lots of fruits, vegetables, and grains — to a lower risk of breast cancer isn’t totally convincing, they know that some habits really do help. There’s a clear link between even moderate drinking and a slightly increased risk of breast cancer, so cutting down is worthwhile…weight appears to be superhelpful, too: Significant weight gain in adulthood, between the ages of 20 and 50, may double the risk of breast cancer. And studies show that moderate to vigorous exercise, like fast walking or swimming, can lower your risk by 30 percent… Love/Avon Army of Women project has enrolled more than 300,000 women and hopes to recruit a million of all ages and every ethnicity, some who have breast cancer and some who don’t… just as the Framingham Heart Study identified common heart disease risks like high cholesterol, smoking, and obesity, this study could ultimately point out what really causes breast cancer and how to prevent it.

g.     It the tribes stupid – we discussed last week – but I wanted to include some quotes since it is where we ended – magic word is “tribe….Alexander the Great’s counter-guerrilla campaign in Afghanistan, 330-327 B.C. What struck me most powerfully is that that war is a dead ringer for the ones we’re fighting today – even though Alexander was pre-Christian and his enemies were pre-Islamic… West is modern and rational; its constituent unit is the nation. The East is ancient and visceral; its constituent unit is the tribe… most ancient form of social organization. It arose from the hunter-gatherer clans of pre-history. A tribe is small. It consists of personal, face-to-face relationships, often of blood**** obviously similar to the wolf pack – very primitive ***… makes Islam so powerful in the world today is that its all-embracing discipline and order overlay the tribal mind-set so perfectly…blue-ink thumbs and beaming faces emerging from polls. What’s really happening has nothing to do with democracy. What’s happening is the tribal chief has passed the word and everybody is voting exactly as he told them… tribe must have a chief. It demands a leader. With a top dog, every underdog knows his place. He feels secure. He can provide security for this family. The tribe needs a Tony Soprano… The tribal mind doesn’t want freedom; it wants security. Order. It wants a New Boss… tribesman the land isn’t for sale; it’s been rendered sacred by the sagas of ancestors. The tribe will paint the stones red with its own blood before letting itself be evicted from the land…Crush the tribe in one century, it will rise again a thousand years from now. We’re seeing this now in a Middle East where the Crusades happened yesterday. When the tribe negotiates, it is always a sham – a stalling tactic meant to mitigate temporary weakness. Do we believe Iran is really “coming to the table?” As soon as the tribe regains power, it will abrogate every treaty and every pact… Its mind is not rational, it’s instinctive *** might we say it uses its Libet soup  – but yet we/the west fight in the rational Qualia space ****…. Alexander produced peace by marrying the daughter of his most powerful enemy, the princess Roxane. The tribe understands such an act. This is respect. This is honor. *** our only hope is to vest ourselves in their individual tribes – this is the Special Ops embedding idea – but even that only works if the tribe believes you are there to stay – that you have emotionally invested in their unit****

h.    LifeLike – interesting project we will follow –

–         ‘to avatar someone’ ‘can’t assume solution to NLU – what are the implications of that?- create visualizations of people, or avatars, that are as realistic as possible….takes more than a good visual rendering to make an avatar truly seem like a human being. “Visual realism is tough,” Leigh said in a recent interview. “Research shows that over 70% of communication is non-verbal…automated knowledge update and refinement, a process that allows the computer to ‘learn’ information and data it receives and apply it independently. The end goal, Gonzalez says, is that a person conversing with the avatar will have the same level of comfort and interaction that they would have with an actual person…applied artificial intelligence in many ways, but if you’re really going to implement it,” Gonzalez said in a recent interview, “the only way to do it is to do it though some sort of embodiment of a human, and that’s an avatar… We would suggest it is a way for us to make Special K immortal – capturing a series of interviews with him (we need to work the axes of the qualia space to capture the variations we need in the interview) – then from that qualia level data base imbue an avatar that we will construct as done above in the univ of ill to make the avatar look like him –— axes of representation is key (Matt and Maddie example)

i.       Machine learning by watching and listening – is this doable by a machine – refer to math above to capture types of computations that can be done by critters versus by computer – novel learning algorithms combining video, sound and text streams, his team has shown that computers can be taught to associate what is in a video clip with existing descriptions of characters and actions and then infer information about new material and categorize it according to what it has already learned…. computers are given specialized algorithms to be able to combine the information with the video and “learn” which person is which character, what each character is doing, and with whom. At no time does anyone in the research team tag anything. This is known as “unsupervised” or “weakly” supervised learning… using algorithms to teach a computer to learn the nuances of language and parts of speech in written data, along with different camera angles, lighting and other filming conditions, is a daunting task…

j.       Police sketch artist evolves – we’ve discussed this as an insight into how people use their internal representation and thus how to better make integrated human/machine solutions – interactive genetic algorithm to help witnesses remember criminals… used by approximately 15 police departments in the United Kingdom and by a half dozen European countries, including France and Switzerland. In field trials conducted by the Derbyshire police force, it led to twice as many identifications of suspects as traditional methods…starts with a general description such as “I remember a young white male with dark hair.” Nine different computer-generated faces that roughly fit the description are generated, and the witness identifies the best and worst matches…

k.     How nonsense sharpens the intellect – experience, in short, that violates all logic and expectation. The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote that such anomalies produced a profound “sensation of the absurd,”… so motivated to get rid of that feeling that we look for meaning and coherence elsewhere… brain evolved to predict, and it does so by identifying patterns **** we go so far as to say we perceive the predictions NOT the sensed data ****…patterns break down — as when a hiker stumbles across an easy chair sitting deep in the woods, as if dropped from the sky — the brain gropes for something, anything that makes sense. It may retreat to a familiar ritual, like checking equipment. But it may also turn its attention outward, the researchers argue, and notice, say, a pattern in animal tracks that was previously hidden. The urge to find a coherent pattern makes it more likely that the brain will find one…may be that nervousness, not a search for meaning, leads to heightened vigilance. But he added that the new theory was “plausible, and it certainly affirms my own meaning system; I think they’re onto something… test is a standard measure of what researchers call implicit learning: knowledge gained without awareness…group who read the absurd story identified more letter strings suggests that they were more motivated to look for patterns than the others,” Dr. Heine said. “And the fact that they were more accurate means, we think, that they’re forming new patterns they wouldn’t be able to form otherwise…

l.       Al Qaeda and spies – Ruling Concerning Muslim Spies, written by the al-Qaeda’s rising star and self-made theologian Abu Yahya al-Libi, is a lengthy religious treatise on the purported Islamic legitimacy of executing undercover informants… spying networks in all its types, shapes, and forms. These networks are the basic resource that the enemy relies on for its small and large military operations… Without them, the Americans will be rendered ineffective. Has not been for the spies, they Americans would have been able to reach their crucial and important targets… Libi’s book makes clear that it’s the combination of HUMINT and DRONEKILL that’s really bugging the terror group…

m.  QDR discussion – is the two war strategy etc really the right construct? – QDR establishes a 20-year defense program that is clear, consistent and responsive to the needs of America’s foreign policy as set forth in the incumbent White House’s central foreign policy document: the National Security Strategy. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has not issued this key vision yet. In other words, the new administration has shown no sign of abandoning the global commitments its predecessors made but is about to radically change, and probably reduce, the force planning construct for keeping those commitments…The U.S. is heavily occupied with counterinsurgency operations overseas. It is tempting simply to assume away other risks by banking on the assumption that no other nation will attempt to challenge the U.S. using traditional forms of military power. That assumption is unjustifiable…Two years ago, Gates authorized a permanent increase in Army end strength. The expense of reconstituting the Army, together with the human and monetary cost over the last 15 years of an overworked force, is far greater than it would have been to simply maintain the Army at adequate levels in the first place… mission of the military is not just to fight, but also to deter conflict…mainstay of past defense reviews was sustained as part of a new 1-4-2-1 posture, which included provisions for defending the homeland, extending deterrence in four different regions all at once, “swiftly defeating aggressors” in any two regions simultaneously, and allowing for “decisive success” in one of the aforementioned four regions…The rough rule of thumb — what planners call the “tooth-to-tail” ratio — is 3-to-1 for sizing. For every soldier on the ground, plane in the air or ship at sea, one is typically returning from deployment and going into maintenance or down time, and a third is used for testing or training…How could Congress spend $800 billion on a stimulus bill without investing any in the defense industrial base? Why, in a time of war, is the nondefense discretionary budget increasing by 11 percent per year while the military modernization budget is being cut…

n.    Future Attribute Screening Technology – Government researching devices that would monitor body signals at checkpoints Signals include heart rate, eye movement, body temperature and fidgeting Devices would be used to determine who needs secondary screening… natural signals coming from your body — your heart rate, breathing, eye movement, body temperature and fidgeting… large field of research that ties your physical reactions to your mental state, your emotional state. We’re looking for those signals that your body gives off naturally… where the various sensors measured their responses to a series of questions from a screener. The questions included, “Is this the month of September?” and “Do you plan to detonate an explosive… imaging device that measures the temperature of a face. A screener would look for temperature changes — a possible stress response — as a person is asked questions…. Researchers took a Wii balance board — a device people stand on to interact with certain Nintendo Wii video games — and altered it to show how someone’s weight shifts… haven’t seen any research that shows that those measures from the autonomic nervous system … measuring blood pressure, measuring breathing, measuring heat on the face, are at all related to intent… signals you give off naturally. We’re not asking for any personal information. We’re not asking anything about you

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