Intelligent Systems And Their Societies Walter Fritz

Mental Methods
and Chains of Response Rules:


Mental Methods
Mental methods are just complicated response rules for doing something in the mind, those that have many lower level concepts.

Human beings learn many mental methods, many ways of doing things in the mind and in the imagination. Often we need pencil and paper to store intermediate results, but still we do the main job in our head. We would like to differentiate these mental response rules from those which are principally ways to act externally.

In school we learned how to add and subtract; we learned how to compose sentences and so on. One of the more important mental methods is making plans. Also some have had the good fortune to learn the method of resolving problems that Kepner and Tregoe worked out and published. Some learned value analysis and the analysis of the functions of an object or an organization. There are very many mental methods, and some are of great help for reaching our objectives.


Abstract Response Rules
These rules we construct when we human beings learn how to walk, how to do arithmetic, how to write, how to dress, and how to behave. To a large extent we have learned how to think, how to extrapolate, how to resolve problems, and even possibly, how to determine the function of an object. Artificial ISs also learn these mental methods.


Imagination is a powerful tool to try out actions safely in greater or lesser detail before attempting them in the environment.

Higher level natural ISs, such as humans, and many artificial ISs have imagination. By this we mean the ability to represent the present situation in its mind, and to apply to this a response rule appropriate to the representation of this situation. The response part of this rules changes the representation of the present situation. Again the SI finds and applies a response rule and the process is repeated until the objective situation is reached. All this the IS does only in the mind without any external actions. When we use the imagination in this way, we call this plan making. The intermediate situations of this plan can then be seen as sub-objectives. Both natural and artificial IS's use plans extensively.

Even birds have been observed to do this: A bird, while flying over a brook, dropped a twig. The twig disappeared below a low bridge before the bird could get it. It flew up, flew to the other side of the bridge and successfully retrieved the twig. This is only possible if the bird successfully represented the present situation and the future situation.

When we use the imagination with several steps, we call this plan making. The intermediate situations of this plan can then be seen as sub-objectives.


Chains of Response Rules: Habits
Suppose that there is a situation; the brain selects a response rule and applies it, and therefore the situation changes. In this new situation it again selects a response rule and so on. We observe that the IS often repeats chains of response rules when in similar situations. If the actions are determined as beneficial, this chain becomes firmly established. It becomes a habit.
See also Mental Methods (For continuous reading, like a book - do not enter here now). in Intelligent Systems.

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Last Edited 14 Mayo 2013 / Walter Fritz
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