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Serendipia - Shen

Tony Shen, is a student of computer science at Linkoping University in Sweden.

(appeared originally in Brain and Behavior Forum, November 10, 1997)


It is important to realize that before we have a trial to do some simulation works on human brain and mental, we should have already got a background knowledge on the mechnisms of human brain --- It is the target we want computer to simulate.

Intuitively, people call computer as electronic brain, they got the idea from the function of computer which it can do many works at sometime some place like brain. And actually, from the view point of internal mechanism, we really find they are very similar: A new born baby know nothing, but this not means he can do nothing, some actions like cry, suck, crawl..., he owned these functions as soon as he born. These functions are called unconditional reflexes. A new producted computer can do nothing but it also owned some basic functions like basic IO system, systerm firmware etc. When a child growing up, he do some processes to make his simple action like cry and suck becoming a more complex and organized way: speak --- a programmed method of simple actions of cry and suck, we know this process as learning and study, it is a process to combine and orgnize the definite cornerstones of unconditional reflexes to undefinite conditional reflexes. No new organs and unconditional reflexes is created during this period(infact, while the baby growing up, the brain cells continuesly die). A new computer also should be programmed to fit for certain usage by organizing the basic definite IO function a proper way to fit for the varies undefinite applications, the process is called programming, actually no new hardware and basic function added into computer while programming. A computer is a programmeble unit: the datas in memory units and their linkage method describe some logics and applications. A baby is also a programmeble unit, he programms his actions via physically link the brain cells by nerves, the linkage method between brain cells describe some logics and applications. A computer works in an architecture level structure like: Word-Windows-DOS-BIOS-Hardware -Firmware. A man also think in a multi-level structure, we may explain this more detail via an example: When I get up in the morning seeing my father, I would like to give him a morning greeting. Then I do so, I say: Good morning. There already have 2 levels here: Level one, I am very clear feeling it, I think and know I want to do morning greeting to my father; Level two, I am not so clear feeling it when I saying Good Morning. I am fully not conscious the third level: How can I express my sentence via correct English words and grammer. I don't know how many levels I work through to finish my greeting to my father but I can imagine the last level should be some physical action control: My brain have to control my mouth to a proper shape and the air flow in my throat should be in a proper speed so the vocal cord can issure a proper tone to combine the sentence of Good morning. I am sure not feeling the exists of the last level, but it should be there and should work properly. In Mr.Floud's famous work: Dream Analysis, sub-consciousness act as a so important role that almost all human psychological phenomenons are explained and based on it. Now I know actualy what it is from my computer knowledge: they are functions, though we can not feel their exist, they combine our consciousness, we think by calling them. The situation in computer is: we use Word typing an article, we feel our operating and see the response of Word, so this level is conscious level. Word call Windows' function to fulfill it's work, it's in the second level, DOS support windows' work and so on untill the last level, BIOS excute the hardware commands and let the computer acting generaly what I expecting. As a Word operator, I just regard the computer is a Word machine, I almost can not believe actually there have so many software levels there supporting my work since I don't feel them, they are transparent for me. Just like I regard myself as a social man who come from China and normally speak Chinese, I do not realize that actualy there have many levels of sub-consciousness supporting and combine my thinking and action although I do not feel their exist, the subconsciousnesses are also transparent. The computer software level structure formed by different level programming like: BISO programming, OS programming, ..., Visual Foxpro Programming. We do next level programming by calling the functions the prior level offered to us i.e. we write OS level software by calling the BIOS function, it is important to notice that we need not and should not know the details how the prior level function works, we just use it. For human, I just know I want to have a morning greeting to my father and I need not and should not clearly know what happens in different level sub-consciousness i.e. I need not pay attentions on my mouth shape and the air flow control in my throat. I should believe they will work properly always just like a Foxpro programmer believe DOS and Windows will always work properly. Consciousness and sub- consciousness is a relative pair of concepts: When I type this article, Word is my consciousness and the other levels are sub-consciousness; when I try to do some amendation of DOS function, then DOS is my consciouness, the other levels behind DOS is sub-consciousness. When I greeting with my father, greeting is my consciousness, how to organize the words to a proper greeting sentence and how to control my mouth shape and the air flow in my throat so as to make the voice sounds like a good greeting are all the sub-consciouness levels, yet when a baby try to learn speaking at very first time, he really should know and controll the mouth shape in a proper way, it is his consciousness level no doubtly. To get a feeling of a baby while he learning speaking, we can try to learn a difficult foreign language like Swedish or Chinese, Then we can really know we are not always speak without thinking about our mouth shape and control of air flow, this 'physical' level could be our consciousness level when necessary. What happens if some unnecessary mis-calling occurs i.e. the Windows operator feel worry about if the BIOS could not work properly, then he goto BIOS level, unfortunatly he is not professional at BIOS, then the system will clapse. For human situation, if a man's personality goes too far, he would under the dangerous to enter into the levels he should not be and cause an infinite cycle there hence cause mental illness, it is always easy to go in and difficult to come out. Talking, hint and hypnotism could be used on treatment of mental illness by guiding the patient to the correct level he should think there. For example, imagine we are walking through a narrow road which have only 20cm width, we will have no problem on walking and singing, I need not and should not know the details on how to control my legs in a proper way for walking, the functions are in the proper sub-consciousness level, but if we are walking on a 3m high wall with the same width, we are so worried by the dangerous pressure and almost can not believe our sub-consciousness which control our leg actions while walking, and our consciousness get bogged down in that level, then we find we can not walk properly.

A man could be called a social person since he had been programmed(or, educated) to suit the enviorment in human sociaty on the earth. A baby is a nature person, he has not been programmed thus he could be general purpose, just like a new computer come from the factory could be used in varies different area. When some accident happen, a human baby may be brought up by wolf, bear or ape, hence leads to the absolute different 'Applications'. The facts persude us realizing that a man could also be programmed by another way, not always become a social man. If the baby grow up and his thinking methode and actions are fit for the enviorment he met, then it is always resonable and nature.

As far as supernature phenomenons, we should also realize that so called supernatures are infact nature phenomenons, just from our social man's viewpoint, the phenomenons seems strange and can not have an explanation by our think way. In this aspect, a nature person, a baby is more clever and sensitive than a social person, not only because his less of knowledge will not make him feel suprise when he see or hear some strange things but also he works in very low level that much closer to the nature than a social man, so he is easier get information from the nature, it is a regret that a baby can not say, otherwise I believe he should have much to tell us. In contrast, a social person is very far from nature, from his thinking level it is very difficult to see the what happens in lower level, just like a Foxpro operator is very difficult to see what happens in BIOS, and many nature signals are filtered level by level, at last only those imformations usefull for social life being kept and processed. So, infact a social man is much dull than a baby. We may have some experiences on when we sleep we can dream some strange things and some time have some abilities of forecast, and in orient country there have many kinds of mysterious magic like Indian Yuga to make some miracles, here we must notice one similarity for both of the 2 phenamenons: sleeping and Yuga seems different but infact they are both the ways that we get free from the control of the consciounsness hence enable us return the status of a baby's level to enable us act like a nature person to receive the nature's signal easily and purely --- have not filted by different levels, this is the source where the miracles happen.

It is undoubtly that a computer can not think by it'self, it is just a programmeble and excutable machine and respect the wills of the operator. From above analysis we gat a conclution that computer works very similar to human brain since brain which is also a programmeble and excutable machine. But the next problem is: who is the operator? Just like we can not deduct that computer has self consciounsness by it has logic functions and the memory stores orgnized datas and linked by a logic way, we also can not deduct that human brain, an organ which the cells linked logicly and stores some organized datas can have self consciousness, it is clearly that the brain structure and human behavior are some expression of it's operator --- the spirit, a part of the God. So, we may divide brain by 2 parts: One part is the controller, or spirit, it is invisible and we know less about it, the second part is physical brain structure, it is the expression of the spirit in different enviorments or, the different applications of spirit. So a more accurate describtion is computer and the second part of brain is similar: thay are both programmable logic unit. The big difference is the operator: Who is using a computer or who is using the brain.

Althoug now deeper blue can beat the world champion of chess, it was not thinking in a human's method, infact it thinks in a very stupid way(just do it very fast): exhausting serching all the possibilities of next N steps. Actually it is not a simulation of human brain. It will fail if we assign deeper blue to explore the outside space and it should work independently. We can use this scenario as a standard to judge how clever a computer is, because it has to do all the works by it'self to fit the enviroment. Now the science and technology develop quikly but people seems more interesting on upgrade the speed and enlarge the memory capacity. Although biology factor will be used in computer, it is also used in hardware: like DNA structure is used to store data. The effort on making computer think like a brain is relativly less --- it is a software work, without this effort, although a computer can play excellent chess, it is only a computer, not an electronic brain. It's powerfull caculating ability is just like idiot scholars(it maybe a supernature phenomenon also) in human sociaty: they have an astonished ability in some area i.e. calenda calcaulating but have less normal intellegience. (idiot scholar maybe explained by their consciouness is bogged in that application level, for example, we need pen and paper to caculate 546x789, yet an idiot scholar who has super math ability can tell you the result at once. Just like we use pen and paper to finish the process, pen and paper are tools enable us bogging in math calcaulating level tempreturely so we clearly feeling and control the process, and idiot schoolar has his own pen and paper in his mind, he need not borrow the tools because he is in that level already so he can clearly feel and control the calculating process. I also remember when I was a primary school purpil, we received the training on abacus calculation, at last I could calculate heavy jobs without abacus and I explained to my astonished parents that I have an abacus in my mind). The most important difference between computer and brain is that computer is a passive machine and brain is an initiative machine, we need programm or feed the programm into computer to make it work, it never learn automaticly. Simulation is the most important unconditional reflex that brain have, so person can upgrade his knowledge and behavior by himself and conclude the lower level function for higher level usage i.e. conclude the regulations of language for usage of thinking. A computer can also do this but it need the different level's programmer helping it. An intellegient computer should also have Fuzzy logic, just like me, I can recoganize my friends 5 years ago, although they may seems a little bit fat or older.

Conclution has 2 steps: first feelings and informations will be filtered and concluded to knowledge, then knowledges and skills conclued and arranged to form a consciouness level. Since the enviorment is always keep in changing, the old systems(an old system maybe a process, or a computer, or a ROBOT) maybe not suitable for the new enviorment, and it seems impossible to programm backwards, so it should have life time and when it reached, it should die. Of course before it's die, it should generate one or several brand new baby systems, they inheret some usefull basic functions and they will self-programming to suit the new enviorment like their parents. Feelings like happy, angry, disapointment etc. are needed to express their sentiments. But is it possible to describe so complicated matters like Fuzzy thinking and feelings based on a binary digitalized way? We suppose it is possible, at least God describe human via a 4 digit way --- the DNA structure.

Generaly speaking, by now, it seems too early to say a system has intellegince, to achieve this target, we may have to walk through 2 steps: First, make the system act like a creature: It have quite simple programmeble structure with basic functions inherets from it's parents, it can learn automaticly to fit the enviorment, it has life time and will die then, it can generate it's children. The next step is making the creature like a human: it can conclude knowledge and self upgrade the thinking level by macro programming, it can make Fuzzy judgement, it has feeling. This kind of system will fulfill our task to explore the outside space, even human sociaty could be controlled by them, they can learn and caculate fast than us, and they will be more terrible when they linked by network. Although we could combine the whole world's energe and produce a super engine, we can not go faster than the speed of light. It is rule, a kind of limitaion. There maybe also an exist limitaion in the work of simulation on human brain(we have to realize it is a work of God) and thinking. For example, if we could certify some brain functions i.e. initiative, intuition, feeling, Fuzzy judgement are not belong to the physical structure of the brain but belong to it's operator: the spirit, then we almost can not reproduct them, because they are not a kind of mechnical expression. This is the another meaning of 'How close': to find and certify the limitation should be also a part of the our reserch work.

Actually, at first computer was invented as a mathematical machine. The inventer really had not used knowledges of human brain or some psychological results for reference. And now we find them are so similar. Many brain scientists and psychologist suffered from their studies on brain and mental, but it is reasonable: We can study a chair easily because the complexity structure of chair and brain is in different level, we study barin difficultly since our study tool(brain) and the study object(brain) are in the same complexity level, and they can not find a proper way to do the study. It seems a great regret that most psychologists and brain scientists' computer knowledge is just limited in use MS-Word to type their thesises. Case they can have a chance to contact the knowledges of computer achitecture and software engineering they would get a surprised happiness. For me, a regret is that I can only express my psychology feeling and process by the terminologies of computer science which they don't feel any interesting, and the computer scientists may regard I am crazy. It is interesting, though, I can confirm, if human can invent submarine by studying the fish, then vice versa, reserching human brain and mental by studying computer achitecture and software would be also possible. Thank you very much.

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