7 Jun 2009 mentifex   » (Master)

Generation of thought in MindForth AI

#summary The process by which a mind generates and, in reverse, comprehends a thought.

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=== What is thought? === 

In an artificial or natural mind, thought is the conscious process of naming or imagining concepts in a chain of association by SpreadingActivation from concept to concept.

Because thinking is a conscious activity, each thought emerges as a separate reality from, and as an addition to, the KnowledgeBase (KB) which provides the fuel for thought. A knowledge base in an artificial general intelligence (AGI) is not a static compendium of facts and relationships, but is rather a dynamic, constantly shifting grid of conceptual identifiers (words; images) and the growing body of propositions asserting relationships among the concepts.

=== How does an AGI think? ===

Spreading activation becomes thought in an AGI if a linguistic superstructure "rides the wave" of associations and consciously names each concept in the chain of association. In the SubConscious mind, activation spreads not as thought but as a backdrop to emerging thought. The unity of mind and ConSciousness -- the unity instantiated as self -- requires that only one thought at a time expresses itself as ideation above the teeming, roiling caldron of concepts and memories clamoring for the attention of consciousness.

=== Embodied thought ===

If every AGI were created not simply on a computer ''qua'' computer but on a computer ''qua'' brain of a robot, the sensorium and motorium of the robot would make it easier to initiate and sustain each thought emerging from the conceptual mindgrid. Sensory input would spark the activation of concepts and their attendant images, engendering a stream of thought amid the stream of consciousness.

If the robot-builders of this world can be thought of as cowboys, and if the AGI entrepreneurs in many ways are farmers, then the cowboys and the farmers should be friends. The cowboys with their monstrous, clanking contraptions must be thinking, "If I only had a brain." The farmers, with their "Seed AI" and their server farms, are afraid that people will say they're in love.

In both cases, especially amateur robotics and amateur AGI, lack of funding prevents holy MatrixMoney between the ghost in the machine and robotic embodiment. Therefore the first thoughts of the first True AGI specimens occur in computers bereft of bodies.

=== Disembodied thought ===

If we may use MindForth as an example because MindForth has already achieved thought, we see that disembodied thought must contend with a unique set of problems and circumstances. Whereas a RoBot has the world at its disposal for the initiation and maintenance of a MeanderingChain of thought, an AGI with no body has only user input to start the chain of associations flowing in a manifestation of thought. "Good enough," you might think, but what happens to the conscious thinking of the AGI if the human user walks away from the keyboard and stops entering input? What we have here is a failure to communicate, which can cause failure in the primitive AGI. MindForth compensates for the absence of a human thought- provoker by means of a special mind-module for knowledge base traversal. KbTraversal kicks in after a set period of no outside communication, and reactivates concepts held in the English bootstrap of the AGI Forthmind. KbTraversal does not reactivate thoughts. It only reactivates various concepts which may serve as the triggering mechanism for a wide variety of thoughts, depending on the contents of the KB.

Other mechanisms to facilitate disembodied thought may include an AGI feature of asking a question about any new word entered by the human user but not yet known to the emerging AGI. Such a question-asking mechanism is not so arbitrary and needlessly artificial as it may seem. When the MindForth AGI encounters a previously unknown English noun, it tries to generate a sentence of thought using the new noun as the subject of the sentence. For instance, upon first introduction of "books," it may say, "BOOKS... WHAT ARE BOOKS?" The first instance of "BOOKS" is actually the attempted generation of a sentence, the formation of a thought in the artificial mind. But the thought fails and is aborted, because SpreadingActivation cannot flow from "BOOKS" to any verb known in association with "BOOKS". Then a special module kicks in to ask a a question about the mysterious new word. Such a module facilitates achieving one of the "Holy Grail" goals of AGI -- MachineLearning (ML).

=== OutReach === http://agi-roadmap.org/Generation_of_thought is the open, collaborative page where you may contribute your own ideas and use the associated Talk page for discussion.

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