Saturday, September 22, 2007

The multiples consciousnesses: from a story teller

Let me bring again one focus of class 4 (last class). By the way, my attentional feedback system directed my focus to the "Hefferline experiment". It has my attention because I have never known about it (abstract meaning: surprise) AND its subject links in a coherent way with many asserts (theories) I have already matured on my mind. The possible existence of multiples consciousness.

In Hofstadter's theories, we have something like a pyramid architecture that has, on the basis, many nodes working in parallel to supply information for the top pyramid serial think decider. This is a Singleton guy we usually call it "consciousness". This singleton provides us a magic of decision-making, sometimes referred as free will. On the other hand, we observe many decisions being taken by other mechanisms without reporting to The singleton one. The Hefferline experiment shows it very clearly.

"After the experiment were finished, subjects were shocked to know they [or it] had being in control the noise all along."

Well, in fact, the subjects were not in control, neither were the scientists. Who was, then, in control? Someone else for sure. Someone/thing we (or should be Freud) named unconsciousness. Someone that turned off a switch to ignore that noise. Someone that made a decision without telling us (or The singleton).

This makes me think that might have a social network on the mind. Many consciousness making decisions all the time. There might have a social hierarchy with power relationships. And why the inferior castes are called the unconscious? Because the singleton is the one who is the story teller.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The classes: Secret plans for making our first Billion dollars.


We're meeting again in October 4th; I'm going to Europe to meet the King of Spain.

PhD Course: Computational Modelling of Human Intuition

All info about the course is available at Please subscribe to follow the latest info [everyone out there is welcome to join].

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OR view the course calendar right here in this page.

CLASS #1. The game of the century. All that fun in the XXth century. Even more fun in the XXIth century! A large-scale theory of the human brain. The brain is not a computer. The brain does not have regions for language, vision, hearing, or anything else. How many daddies do I have? Invariant representations. Surprise, surprise: The memory-prediction framework. Course objective and 4 course projects. Mr Hawkins, can we be your worst enemies, please? Secret plans for making our first Billion dollars.

CLASS #2. Odysseus and the Syrens. Our Jekyll-and-Hyde nature. Who, in fact, are "you"? Emergent behavior. Derren Brown's Tricks. Priming. An emergent computational model of priming.

CLASS #3. Information efficiency. On the nature of "understanding". A fatwa and a rather annoying commandment. The "same" response in a Bongard problem. Analogies and roles. The Copycat Project. An information efficiency model of "understanding".

CLASS #4. Customer loyalty: How Bayer kept them coming back. de Groot's experiment. Overview of The Capyblanca Project. Matheu 6:24. Serving two masters. Two feedback systems. Interactions between the hedonic and the attentional system. Review of the IOWA gambling task, and the Hefferline experiment. Sketch of a computational theory of pleasure and pain. Who needs reasons when you've got Heroin?

to be continued...

5. Can we measure human intuition mathematically?

6. Developing a Fluid concepts framework.

7. Developing a Fluid concepts framework.

8. Developing a Fluid concepts framework.

9. Developing a Fluid concepts framework.

10. Developing a Fluid concepts framework.

11. Developing a Fluid concepts framework.

12. Developing a Fluid concepts framework.

13. Closing day.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Who needs reasons when you've got heroin?

So here's class #4. A favorite slide:

I chose not to choose life.
I chose something else.
And the reasons?
There are no reasons.
Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?

Here is our replication of the Chase and Simon (1973) study: an international master reconstructing a position (with 100% accuracy) after the second 5sec presentation.

One might wonder what keeps people working as garbage collectors, why people get married, how doctors deal with death and suffering on a daily basis, how concentration camp survivors survived, how people stay married, or how these Chinese workers cope:

And the reason is, I'd guess that the hedonic feedback system slowly "normalizes" things because the attentional feedback system refrains from registering them anymore.
In any case, I hope we will be able to study the interaction between these systems in Nicholas' thesis.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The 91 problem

Bongard Problem 91 is a kind of boundary problem. You have to discover the criteria that separate boxes by one line. In this case, the line marked with, well, 91. This example was used in last class to show the phenomena of inconsistency and it called special attention to me. Let me tell you why.

If you still haven't got the solution, here it is: 3 on the left and 4 on the right. Does it make any sense? Do you see the solution? Good. It means that you have already solved the puzzle of "inconsistency": On the left, three squares, on the right, four edges of a square, not "one square". But, is this really an inconsistency? Perhaps not, perhaps these are just squares treated in different ways, and this is a kind of ambiguity. Squares can be represented in different ways, not in any way of course, but in some ways. The game is then formulated as an optimization problem that takes into account n different and possible representations of each box and "force fits" a separation between them.

Force-fitting? Yup. Imagine that we are anxious to win the game as fast as we can. Our nature tells us to get the most relaxation constraints. To reach the goal, you only have to ignore some details. Yep, those details that anyone will ever note--let's try and see if it is acceptable by others.

Another important question has to be responded in order to finish this thought. Would a "Neural Network" solve that problem? The answer is yes, fairly simple. We have 12 examples (boxes) for training and at least 2400 pixels for each example. So NNet will find that one pixel no one is seeing, but it is there, and draw a line to separate the samples. It might work, but this type of criteria makes no sense to us. Did you remember from who we have to gain acceptance? (To me that brings to mind the Lost's series. Jack and Kate in the future... crazy, don't you agree?)

Friday, September 7, 2007

On the drawing of lines

They invented this thing called They also invented this thing called breasts, and this other thing called babies. Then facebook said that women should not post pictures breast-feeding their babies.

As TechCrunch duly points out, it's hard to pin down what exactly is offensive and what isn't. That will depend on your upbringing, your friends, lifestyle, culture, religion, and so forth. So facebook seems to be really picking up a wrong fight here.

A comment in TechCrunch reads the classic cliché, the bureaucrat's grandest fantasy, word for word: “They do have to draw the line, though.”

This is last century's thinking. They don't have to draw the line, and shouldn't. It is a big mistake for Facebook to draw such lines, because now people will be “testing” the system to its limits.

What Facebook should do is CROWDSOURCE. Let the users draw the line. That is what web2.0 is all about, right? If Facebook starts to preach to people who they have to be, facebook can only go down in the long run, no matter how strong they might be now. They'll be picking up daily fights with, as The Economist once put it, both perverts and puritans (I wonder which group is worse--these are nasty people you really don't want to mess with; what they have in common is that they have nothing else to do but bring you down--hey, am I preaching or what?).

CROWDSOURCE THIS THING, folks. Just put a button: “Do you find this image offensive?”, then let people vote and let people take down the offensive ones. People should draw the line, not some random employee. Show the votes as they occur. Make it transparent.

I think I heard it somewhere: “don’t fight the internet”?

Information efficiency and the fabric of understanding

Here's a slidecast of class #3--sorry, gringos, only in Portuguese for now. With this we close the overall review of Hofstadterian Architectures. Below we have Hofstadter's Presidential Lecture at Stanford University, 2006 (Realplayer required). I'll be updating the post with the screencasts mentioned in the slides soon.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Drained concepts: today´s presentation

The first thing I learned today was the amazing artifact Linhares uses to post our classes. I think this is called Slideshare. I've never seen it before. With this technology I was capable to review last week's class, two concepts of which were again referenced today. I'm calling them "drained concepts".

First of them is the famous "Neural Network" architecture. This is so much widespread that even those who don't know it actually know it. In such cases, we get never free of it. Looking at Bongard Problems, we wondered: "NNet could solve this problem? And this one?". Well, the fact is that NNet still isn't, up to now, worrying about intuition, abstraction or even cognition. NNet creation was inspired on neurons, but has more of a math/statistical approach. It's Network isn't a semantic network. In spite of it, we actually have a well-know neuron linked network. This way, one can say we are on "Neural Network 2.0", an extended NNet with CodeNeurons and a ConceptNetwork. Should it maybe be a "Coconet"?

The second concept is that of "inconsistency", or whatever you might want to call it: paraconsistency, conflicting arguments, ilogic or semantic paradoxes. I think we can't in fact have inconsitency, because a real inconsistency doesn't have solution. If we can implement it on a computer we have to follow a logic reasoning. The word "inconsistency" is used only to carry (or to drain) concepts, maximizing information efficiency. The same way we are motivated to use NNet word.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Christian Aranha's inaugural post

Thanks for your invintation, Alexandre. First of all, I would like to say that my english is not so good as yours but I think it will not be a barrier for our discussions. The name "The Human Intuition Project" was a good choice. Now we are working on a logo. Something with neurons and dendrits. My intuition says it should be simple. It is better to look, compreend and memorize. Any suggestions will be welcome. This is my inaugural post.

The Human Intuition Project

Christian, one of our group leaders, has been calling for a name for our group for a long time now. So today we have settled in "The Human Intuition Project" as our family name. There are some things going on behind this choice: first, it brings connotations concerning the long-term goal of our initiative, which is to explain, and model, human intuition--with the secondary goal of developing cognitive technology. This is a long-term project, but we're confident we can bring some new ideas to the table.

A second thought concerning the name is that it does not leave us out of any of the areas that we're engaged in, such as: management science, cognitive science, decision-making, experimental psychology, behavioral economics, computer science, or philosophy.

The Human Intuition Project's goal is to understand the human mind as far and wide as possible, and to develop cognitive science and technology. We think that this is one the crucial scientific questions for this century, we have declared "friendly war" with Mr Hawkins, and we aspire to be a central group in this major scientific endeavor.