Intelligent Systems And Their Societies Walter Fritz

Miscellaneous Observations on the Human Mind


Catastrophes, Disasters
When disasters occur, we can observe an inability to act reasonably; to act in a way beneficial to the IS. The cause is that response rules are always the outcome of concrete (lived, read or heard) experiences. Since normally we have not experienced or read about the particular type of disaster, no applicable response rules are available; the response is often poor or random.


Conscious and Unconscious Mind
Persons (intelligent systems) have memories. But we have access to only part of what is stored in our memory. Specifically we have access to stored sense data. These are not only inputs from our "5 senses". When we move our hands and arms, we feel the position they are in, at any moment. This is also a sense input. We store an arm movement by these sense data (At least the robot Robby does so). In Robby, there is no further storage of information about an arm movement.
But even that is not the whole story. One of our learned activities is to make sounds and to talk. We can talk loudly and also silently. The corresponding sense data are stored. The silent talk is most important. While we have no access to our thought processes themselves, we do store the results of thinking by talking silently and storing this sense data. And we do have access to this data. Also we store sense data produced by emotions.
Stored sense data are mostly recent ones, those of the present moment, but can also be sense data still in memory that occurred days or years ago.
You may ask, what has all this to do with consciousness? If we observe, we will note that we have access, we are conscious of these sense data. We are conscious of nothing else, it seems to me. We are conscious of the music we hear, of emotions. We can recall from memory the word related to a concept, the sense data related to a concept, but not the concept itself. The word is recalled by the underlying thinking processes of the brain. We have no access to these processes themselves, they are "unconscious".


It can be argued that inspiration is receiving thoughts (response rules) from outside the IS. However, let's look at the facts. A painter does not have inspirations about music. A writer does not have inspirations about chemistry. Normally, persons have inspirations about subjects they have been thinking of intensively for the past few days. (Naturally, if somebody changes his activity and thinks intensively about his new work, he may have inspirations on this new subject.)

This seems to point to processes of review of concepts and response rules (which, as we have seen, the brain does during sleep). New concepts or response rules are established which are now available. When the person thinks again about the subject, the brain selects this new response rule. The person has had an inspiration. This is the general case. Nevertheless, there are reliable reports that seem only explainable if one human mind reads the contents of other minds and sometimes influences those contents. This is studied in parapsychology.


The theory developed in this chapter about concepts and response rules accounts for more (possibly much more) than 90% of the daily mental activities that we can observe in human beings. Nevertheless, there are some activities that the author can't explain. There seem to be well-documented cases, where one brain senses some mental processes that had occurred in another brain in the past, also those occurring in another at the present (telepathy) and even mental processes that will occur in another brain (or in itself) at a future time. This last could be the process underlying clairvoyance.

"The brain senses" should be understood to be equivalent to saying, "the mental processes of the brain are changed by."

Also there seem to be cases where one brain (without going through the senses) influences the mental processes occurring in another at the present time. This then influences mental processes occurring at a future time.

Note: Telekinesis may not be something occurring in the environment, but instead may be an influence of one brain upon the mental processes of the observer affecting what he remembers. (This needs to be investigated.) How this sensing and influencing occurs, the author does not know. It definitely has not been observed so far in artificial ISs. In artificial ISs, it seems that it would only be possible if we include a radio link between the brains of the systems involved. In humans this "radio link" has not been localized.

This whole field is fascinating and important, and needs much more serious, scientific, investigation. Up to now, the main steps of investigation seem to be:


"Long" Dreams
It happens quite often that we have a long dream, but the time available was really quite short. How is that possible? For instance, while sleeping, a person hears a noise, has a "long" dream and wakes up. But the noise was just now, as testified by another person.
What happened? At the moment of the noise, the brain elaborated the present situation. This situation includes the noise. While sleeping, judgment and control are quite low. So instead of adding valid references and related concepts, unrelated concepts are added, including some referring to episodes. Now the present situation is delivered to the next brain function (which evaluates and decides on an action if one is required).
So an instantaneous noise produced a situation including (non existent) episodes. We had a "long" dream including the noise instead of just hearing the noise. For the brain the concept of a long episode is a long episode.


In ancient Greece, philosophers analyzed some properties of the process of thinking and called the resulting science "logic". But knowing artificial ISs and how they work, we observe that logic seems to be useful for relating more concrete and more abstract concepts. But they do not work well when we consider the part and total relationship between concepts, and with response rules.

Reasoning by association is a process of selecting response rules whose situation has some common concepts. Reasoning by induction is a process of forming response rules from concrete experiences. Reasoning by deduction is a process of using a general response rule(s) to predict the result of a concrete situation.

(Everyday reasoning seems to be just doing anything and afterwards justifying the response by verbalizations and rationalizations).


Effect of Learning on the Brain
Scientists have shown that the learning of response rules by birds (learning melodies), produces more detail in certain areas of the brain and increases these areas in volume and weight. This may also be true for learning in young humans.


We have to differentiate carefully the contents of concepts and response rules (which are learned) from the fundamental mechanisms that allow the processing of concepts and response rules. The first, since they are learned, can be unlearned and relearned and therefore can be treated by psychoanalysis. A malfunction of the fundamental mechanisms of the brain is due to incorrect biological (probably chemical) processes inside the brain that can only be treated with medicines.

An effective psychoanalysis might be to observe the behavior that does not help the person to reach her objective. Then the underlying response rule could be deduced by the therapist. Now the person can be put into a situation where this bad response rule is applicable and he/she can observe that it does not help to reach the subobjective. After this, in the same situation, the person should try out a new response rule suggested by the therapist, observe the (hopefully) positive results and thus learn it, replacing the old response rule.

Virtual reality seems to be an excellent tool for this. Through virtual reality we can represent any situation to a person and observe how he reacts. Also, with guidance, the person can learn to react differently to virtual situations and thereby learning new experiences and correct his response rules.


What differentiates human beings from animals?
Some higher animals are predators and they teach their young how to hunt. But they can only transmit knowledge by example.
When in an animal species the sounds they emit, their language, has evolved to such a point that they can transmit knowledge about a waterfall, even if none is near, or knowledge about a precipice, again if none is visible, then they reach a different level, a different kind of efficiency of transmission. They can transmit knowledge about future dangers.

It looks to me that when the first humans told stories to their young ones, told sagas, then they could transmit their knowledge much better not only to the next, but to many following generations. Certainly after that we had books, schools and the Internet. But these are only refinements and improvements. It looks to me that transmitting knowledge, even more so when using tools to do this, could be a criterion of division between pre human and human species.


Time does not exist in our environment. In our environment there only are movements and changes. “Time” is only a concept existing in our mind.
Time is calculated based on observing speed and distance. It takes 2 hours to move a distance of 100 km at a speed of 50 km per hour. All our clocks are based on movement. The fundamental units in physics are length, mass and time. It looks to me that time is not fundamental, and that the fundamental units should be length, mass and speed, based on the speed of light.


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Last Edited 24 Sept.2012 / Walter Fritz