The Intuitive Alogrithm (2004 Edition) : About Artificial Intelligence, the Mind and Happiness – Abraham Thomas

The Intuitive Algorithm (2004 Edition)
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It had been a long journey. All the file pockets holding exhilaration, apprehension or sadness opened to partisan views. One folder made you feel good. Another made you sad. Depended on the one you opened. On a road that took you to odd places you never wanted to see again. Not exactly a joyful excursion through life, relishing each moment. Somewhere in that early part, before even getting on to the highway, I had taken a wrong turn. A turn that led to a road full of hazards. Crazy or aggressive drivers who pushed you off the road. In the midst of the turbulence and conflict, it was books, which helped me past the gridlocks and traffic jams, down lonely lanes and byways. Those insights from human experience. Not big inscrutable books. Just simple ones. Like Dale Carnegie, in those distant times. Life was easier, if you were courteous and helpful. Books. Hundreds of tomes, which helped, insight by insight, to slowly and steadily take charge. Get off the beaten path. Take the time I found how people got intimidated. That wasn’t from a book. It happened just after the mechanic brought back the buick. But, that was another story.
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It’s Recognition Stupid
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The school yard dispensed lessons on how to avoid pain. The secret was to respect the pecking order. It was not muscle power, size, or wealth which set that order. Unlike intimate friends who knew all about you, participants in the school yard knew little about each other. But everyone recognized their position in the pecking order. Instant punishment befell anyone who failed to respect it. The enforcing weapons were, at best, social ridicule and, at worst, physical punishment. A ready wit, or a strong arm. Both could establish superiority, as observed by a thousand watching eyes. A person on a lower rung would never dare attack someone higher up. The possibility of instant punishment created tensions in the yard. The degree of tension was the subtle signal, visible to all. The leaders at the top had no tensions. Their voices were loud and their bearing relaxed. At lower levels, each participant was fearful of attracting a challenge, leading to prompt punishment. Their actions were more subdued. The shades of tension set the hierarchy, without constant need to re-confirm it. Economy in nature. Everybody learned those lessons. Both the equal and more equal ones. For a lifetime.

I also learned lessons. One as to quietly bypass the war of pecking order. Avoid the crowded highways. As someone said, even if you won the rat race, you would still be a rat. Better to choose your own path. Follow a vision. Pick something you enjoyed doing and do it as well as you could. It seemed to work. Even on this other road, one could accumulate, over the years, a smattering of the plumage valued at the top – a nice designation, a corner office, a penthouse, a chauffeured automobile. A few of the signals recognized in the pecking order. But, even then, relaxed bon homie in the party circuit remained elusive. Not that I disliked parties. Just that, personally, I didn’t want to be there. The tension as still tangible. This was not exactly victory. But, at least, it meant a tranquil workplace and the fun of doing your own thing.
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Movement and habit
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Unhappily, this wonderful contrivance, the drive channel, was also like a child with a hammer. It was a hazardous plaything of emotions. Eckhart Tolle was a victim of those unhappy drives. He lived upto his twenty ninth year in a state of almost continual anxiety interspersed with the periods of suicidal depression. Then he woke up one night, the vague outlines of the furniture in the dark room, the distant noise of a passing train – everything felt so alien, so hostile, and so utterly meaningless that it created in him a deep loathing of the world. “I cannot live with myself any longer.” This was the thought that kept repeating itself in his mind. Suddenly he became aware that if he could not live with himself, there had to be two – he and the “self” he could not live with. He was stunned by the realization. He became enveloped with powerful feelings.

Tolle had little memory of what happened after the powerful feelings overcame him. He woke up into a new world. His depression vanished. For the next five months, he lived in a state of uninterrupted bliss. While it diminished somewhat in intensity, for another two years, he sat on the park benches in a state of the most intense joy. He felt that what he experienced was a form of enlightenment, of union with the eternal, somewhat similar to the experiences of Buddha. He quoted Buddha’s definition of enlightenment as “the end of suffering”. Tolle became a respected teacher, with dedicated followers in Europe, North America and India. His book, The Power of Now, was on the New York Times best seller list. Tolle’s life had been transformed in a single flash of insight. Over centuries of history, there were prophets and sages who could grant such instant insight to their disciples through a prayer, or by laying a hand of blessing. But for the average person, peace of mind could not be a sudden gift. It required years of effort. Understanding helped too.
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Diverting the Stream

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Yet, there were a few inspiring people, who had cheerfully faced overwhelming odds. You may have visited one of those, suddenly paralyzed and confined to bed by a painful fall. Still shocked by the news, you struggled to find adequate words to heal and comfort. Yet, you came away, healed, comforted and cheered. Smiling at their incredible good spirits. You recalled the smile in their eyes. Because eyes conveyed so much. They could glare and intimidate, when they thrust forwards.  Sadness pulled them down. They became diverted and cold with rejection, when a friend said something unforgivable,  betrayed your trust, or ridiculed what you considered sacred.  Eyes reflected your view of life. When those muscles drew up the cheeks, the eyes both reflected and instilled inner cheer. Some people were blessed with eyes which unfailingly smiled with genuine cheer.

We had a duty to become what we could be.  But, many could not be cheerful, because they bore an accidental punishment. They carried a burden of anxiety in the muscles that controlled their eyes. They habitually drooped.  Just as a glare could make you aggressive, the droop triggered gloom. So many carried this tension in their eyes without knowing that it was a needless muscular punishment. The sadness in their eyes was manifest. They could hardly “make up their mind” to be happy. The unremitting frown triggered anxious thoughts about every perceived threat in the environment. Unconsciously, they tugged perceptions down to the depths of despair. But, smile in their eyes could change the world. Smiling eyes moved you into a new friendly neighborhood. An awareness that eye muscles do control emotions could help you. If you relaxed your eyes and forced a smile into them, the mind would immediately switch file folders. The friend meant no harm. He was saying it for your good. Peace of mind was such a hard job. Self awareness was the hardest part. Particularly if you were unconsciously burdened with sad or angry eyes.
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Choice and Creativity
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While the limbic system set priorities for a hierarchy of intelligences, consciousness remained an isolated central government. While the system continually monitored all sensory inputs, only a small fraction entered consciousness. Habitual motor functions were managed independently by the cerebellum. Even acts of will seldom entered consciousness, unless attention was drawn to an awareness of’ the current motor activity. What am I doing now? While the mind continually processed many feelings, the conscious mind experienced only the dominant feeling. While anger seethed below, propriety was perceived to be in control. The current feeling provided a single hook, a focal point for subsequent recall. of a memory. Consciousness was a single channel, which operated as a self contained unit, unconscious of many major system functions. It had access to only the current feeling. It was the channel inputs and outputs, which gave consciousness that special awareness, the sense of self.

Could this, the highest known intelligence, be explained by the IE intuitive pattern recognition process? Because consciousness operated powerfully in the present, it was not a drive. But, its feelings could trigger drives. Consciousness received a massive combinatorial coding picture. That picture empowered human awareness and understanding. The softness of dawn. The whisper of wind. The fragrance of lilies. The sadness of forlorn love. The solution of a design problem. Each barrel received this picture. The memories of the barrel were both inherited and acquired. Inherited wisdom of millions of years. Symbols learned from the cradle. The barrel triggered feelings. The outputs of the barrels were recognized by the system as feelings.

The feelings triggered drives for cortical motor responses, the focus of attention and data search processes. Consciousness could move a toe, focus on a tune, or out a request for the day’s shopping list. The cingulate cortex, a region of the cortex, could be recciving outputs of the consciousness channel. After a stroke in the cingulate area, one woman lay flat in her bed for weeks, her eyes open and aware, yet her face blankly expressionless. Once the swelling in the area subsided she was able to speak. She reported that she was completely conscious, but completely lacked any urge to act. Sensations did not evoke any thoughts or plans. The feeling outputs of this region delivered the will of consciousness. Those feelings entered into competition with other emotions for control of the system.

Consciousness received inputs from the working memory. The consciousness channel could initiate drives which manipulated data to deliver results into a working memory. Kosslyn suggested that working memory assisted in “arithmetic, reading, problem solving and reasoning in general. All of these tasks require not only some form of temporary storage, but also interplay between information that is stored temporarily and a larger body of stored knowledge.” A feeling of curiosity could trigger one of multiple data manipulation drives. There was a moment of stillness when one began to write a shopping list. When a drive searched memory for contextual items. It delivered all the items related to a particular context to working memory in sequence. The list had to be written down, because the working memory had a limited capacity. And consciousness only had access to this memory. It received answers to many a query. It could send out requests to compare for size, emotional content, distances, physical locations, sounds, and sensory inputs. Many drives evaluated such characteristics and delivered the results. Consciousness could investigate, receive the results and trigger feelings. But the system could over rule those feelings.

Was this book suggesting that there was no free will? Surely people had the powerful ability to initiate, cause, activate, begin, create events? Beyond the skill of mere recognition? Who initiated all this activity? Surely, there was consciousness, an “I” with a free will, exercised by the individual to control his actions? But, any engineer who programmed a production line knew of automated decision making. A machine picked components from a conveyor, It identified each component and deposited it in its proper bin. The machine had made its choices and acted. Because it was designed to make choices and act as long as it was switched on. Free will was just an automatic mechanism which triggered the next highest priority activity of the system, while there was consciousness.

The “initiation” was merely a switching process by the limbic system, which selected the most powerful feeling as the current motor control option. And, you could not move your muscle, or focus your attention, if the system decided otherwise.

This was not to forget who “I” was. As Eric Berne had suggested, “I” was a changing personality. As in parent, child, or adult. The parent scolded. “You always forget your keys.” The child complained. “You always blame me, when you can’t find your keys.” The adult responded rationally. “The keys are on the mantelpiece.” Depending on the mood and the feeling, consciousness resided in one of many such personalities. The limbic system chose the current feeling, which provided logical support for the current personality. That feeling recalled memories and shaded events with colors that suited its own unique perceptions. But, the same plumbing circuit represented all personalities. The circuit was the current “I”. The rest were inhibited and invisible to consciousness.

When not dominated by emotions, the adult occasionally became “I”. The “will” of that adult was still over-ruled by WASP  (Worthwhile, Appropriate, Safety, Practical) considerations, which became the will of the mind. It was stupid to tickle your neighbor on a plan with your elbow. So, “I” decided to keep the elbow rigidly still. Such decisions made life. Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, or someone else occupied consciousness for transient periods. The system carried on. The water balance in the body reduced. A feeling of thirst was triggered. The limbic system switched the feeling in as the highest system priority of the moment. A drive symbol was triggered. Th cerebellum assisted the cortical decision in a habitual to the water cooler. A series of motor events met the goal Thirst was quenched. The drive symbol triggered reminder of the “urgent” file demanding attention. The next feeling arrived to trigger a quick trip back.

Would IE suggest that we were just mechanically constructed objects which responded with electrical and chemical impulses to the external environment? How about the deep down knowledge of being free of the mechanisms that generated the impulses? We could vividly see visual images and powerfully experience a multitude of sensations and feelings. Unlike a television camera or a microphone, we were independently conscious that we were seeing and hearing the world around us. If something was seen, surely there had to be someone who saw it – a ghost, or a soul? But, while neural impulses pulsed through every part of our body, how was it that we had the sensation of seeing only when these impulses impinged on the visual cortex? Nerve impulses in the heschl gyrus alone caused us to hear sounds. Were these portals into the soul?

The geography of nerve channels pinpointed many intercommunicating functions. While all other regions of the cortex interacted mostly within finite regions, the prefrontal lobes had abundant connections with the association regions of the three sensory lobes. The association regions were known to perform the most important act of recognizing perception. The message of recognition was carried to the prefrontal regions. Suppose a computer was constructed to receive, categorize and store received sensory images. Suppose parallel processing enabled a second internal system to receive such processed information, including its own operational parameters. The second system could truthfully say “I can see and hear you. My speech mechanism is functioning at optimum efficiency”. An autonomous intelligence in this region could independently evaluate the system to enhance the impression that it was an independent entity. Consciousness and the sense of self could be molded by just the plumbing diagram. The mystical quality of consciousness may derive from it being a control system, within a control system. It could see quite a bit of itself.

The old adage was that a computer could never be original, since it only spewed out what has been programmed into it. The stupendous creativity of the human mind has been the most potent argument against an algorithmic explanation of the mind. But, the breathtaking memory postulated by combinatorial coding altered the skyline. While an algorithms was just a procedure, a computer could experiment in its memory with myriad combinations, with the goal of achieving a desired result. If it could remember all those possibilities, it could arrive at a “new and original” solution. It could be programmed to “recognize” an “imagined” event which achieved a specific goal. The power of intuition would bring contextual answers, while avoiding exponential search paths. Using its massive memory based on experience, the mind could search a galaxy of images, linking them in exotic combinations to create brand new inventions. With it prodigious memory and sensitive pattern recognition, it could develop imaginative and exciting concepts, products and processes. An algorithmic (and intuitive) recognition process could achieve such a capability.

Such search and match processes are not limited 10 humans. Konrad Lorenz described a chimpanzee in it room which contained a banana suspended from th ceiling just out of reach, and a box elsewhere in the room “The matter gave him no peace, and he returned to it again. Then, suddenly – and there is no other way I describe it – his previously gloomy face ‘lit up’. His eyes now moved from the banana to the empty space beneath it on the ground, from this to the box, then back to the space, and from there to the banana. The next moment he gave a cry of joy, and somersaulted over to the box sheer high spirits. Completely assured of his success, he pushed the box below the banana. No man watching him could doubt the existence of a genuine ‘Aha’ experience in anthropoid apes”.

Most survival situations demanded creative solutions. That effort was not necessarily a human prerogative, but an essential nervous system process existing in all animals. A drive that tested all perceived contexts for an answer to the current objective could merely be another motor activity. Instead of dispatching sequential impulses to manage muscle movements, such impulses could manage a continuing test of current context against current goals. Such testing could occur constantly in the subconscious, bringing on the ”Aha!” experience of discovery, when a set of imagined events was perceived to meet the parameters required for achieving a singular goal. Such an ongoing search could be a powerful subconscious process, which could also be active during sleep. For IE, creativity was an algorithmic process.

website with further details http://intuition.co.in

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