duminică, 19 aprilie 2015

A metaphor for the mind

The human mind is like a cave. Similar to how the primitive siblings of our kind started development from living around a fire,  the mind of a child starts from a primitive phase that can be molded into anything you might think of.

As time goes by the neanderthals start making discoveries and step by step they manage to build the whole world we currently live in. Similarly, the child starts assimilating information from the exterior and builds his own world connected by synapses and stored inside neurons: a world that almost starts from a concentric single location that holds the seeds of knowledge: a minimal baggage of genetic material , species' memories and everything else that gets assimilated by the nervous system once it is operational and able to receive information.

The human mind starts creating an intricate and complex architecture of connections that resemble the design of caves we have outside of our mind, in the mountains: a fractal pattern.

The consciousness of a person is all the memories accumulated inside the mind. This, alongside the iterative process that continuously pushes the mind to move forwards, like an engine would make a car drive, creates a system which is the human being.

The iterative process takes the current state of the system, inputs it inside a taxonomy like evaluation mechanism (good/bad, useful/not useful) and gives an output. This current output is then fed back into the system. The iterative nature of the process and also using the output as an input again resembles the way a Mandelbrot fractal is generated. The complex function from the fractal is the above evaluation mechanism.

Coming back to the cave resemblance, mental illness (autism, bipolar, major depression, schizophrenia, psychosis and basically everything else that might be lighter than these) happens when the paths inside the cave get stuck in a way that blocks the sufferer to perceive reality as it is (like water pipes get blocked inside a pipe system).

This kind of blocking can also be evaluated when experiencing derealization for example , depersonalization or a substance intoxication state, the person has trouble perceiving , feeling like a window or something else is preventing it. Staying as such for some time causes a disequilibrium that if continued for a sufficient period makes the whole system(the human being) start acting, permanently, in a wrong way.

Every system has the property of resistance to change. It's easy to observe that, for example, substance abuse can induce hallucinations, delirium, mood changes, anxiety or psychotic episodes and, after the effects wear off, the person would just retake control of his mind and live a normal life.

What causes such an event to continue more and leave the person incapacitated for a lifetime ,sometimes, are the memories inside the mind, a handful of predispositions the biology of his body offers, the way the person learned to respond in different events and the exterior environment.

Either way, what starts feeling really interesting is how would one use this kind of information to "grow" a fractal artificially and "create" an artificial consciousness that can be autonomous of its own and comparable to the way humans behave. The rules seem pretty basic, so making a rudimentary being grow like this would seem rather feasible, maybe even use that inside a computer game.

And to go even further, might be intriguing to see a robot child with a mind created by the same basic (observed and known principles) our mind works by in the real world, wouldn't it ?


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