Networks and consciousness Donald Steiny
Overall • Won’t even try to solve AI • More about problems than solutions • Introduce the idea of networks and how they relate to some of the problems in this area
Today • Review of behaviorism • Review of cognitive psychology • Review of systems and the AI paradigm • Discussion of relational thinking and networks • Examples of how networks lead to new descriptions • Some potential applications
The idea • No such thing as cause and effect – Hume • Not a property of things. • Just a consequence of repeated observations • A matter of faith – the fallacy of induction • The solution? • Scientific laws are based on repeated observation • Psychology could become “scientific.”
But … • It is not possible to recognize a balanced set of symbols without memory. Aaabbbbaaa It is, however, possible to precisely describe the memory required by push down store automata, which lead to computer languages like C and Pascal. This lead to “mental processes” and cognitive psychology
Meanwhile • Shannon and Weaver • Formulation of information and redundancy • Norbert Weiner – Cybernetics • Feedback • Control • Representation of everything as symbols and a complete science of symbols
And in economics • Revealed preferences • Failure of micro explanations • Coase and Williamson • Behavioral explanations • Bounded rationality (Simon) • Heuristics and biases (Kahneman) • Still at dyad level • Macro structures are epiphenomena
Systems • Systems • Have inputs and outputs • They transform their inputs • They have a boundary • They have subsystems • They are part of a larger systems • Inputs/Outputs can be viewed as symbols
But … • Symbols are always dependent on context. What Bateson called a frame was extensively developed by Erving Goffman. • He’s a student • ASCII interpreted as EBCDIC
Over in sociology land • Harvard Department of Social Relations • Talcott Parsons • Functionalist sociology • The dream of a unified paradigm • Harrison White • Network sociology • Methods that assume heterogeneity • The middle range of action
Atomic Actors • Where is action located? • What is space? • Cartesian space locates action at a point • Minds • Consciousness • Etc • Atomic theories • Rational action • Systems theory
Networks as spaces • Analogy: each of are members of multiple networks. • This is similar to an n-dimensional space, the difference being that any point can be in an arbitrary intersection of dimensions. • Over time the configuration of dimensions switches so points are generally not in a fixed set of dimensions.
Identity • Each network provides a frame of reference • Different things are salient in each network.
What is a person? • When you talk to me who are you talking to? • My immortal soul? • My lips? • A story you tell yourself? • Folk psychology is key • Is an action mine or your interpretation of it? How could we know? How could we remember? • “a god” existing at the confluence of networks.
Style • Holds us together across identities • Helps choose our stories or actions • Persons are styles • Napoleon • Bill Clinton • War/fashion • Sets the tone for our actions
What about a company? • Or a country or “big business” or anything that causes things. • Back to the old problem that behaviorism had • These live in our heads so the same problem of making repeated observations about people applies to larger structures
Social roles • Preexisting (structure) • Fairly fixed • Live in everyone’s heads • Held in place by control.
Stories and accountings • We account for, explain what we observe • The swinging rope experiement • Hume’s cause – Wittgenstein’s intention • Standard sets of stories are both guides for action explanations – Durkheim/Heddigger • We are tied together into networks by these rhetorics • Common sense is an underlying accounting
Our location • Is point of view • Determines what we can access as accountings. • Is affected by control pressures from others (our interpretations are in the light of others)
Social networking • New security models use networks: Granovetter diagrams • We have multiple identities, seeing it on line makes it salient • Facebook security model problem • Assumes single identity
Culture and meaning • Culture is the set of available accountings and the control effort to adopt it. • Meaning is carried across network domains as we go from pointing.
A source of - disciplines • Like situated cognition (Hutchens) • The way we work together • Very hard to see, no ties • Influenced by style • Chinese making a company • Finns making a company • Silicon Valley making a company • Source of stories and accountings (ties)
The problem of action • Magical thinking • Fundamental Attribution Error • The great man hypothesis • Creativity and innovation as combinations of borrowing and salience • Accountings and stories • Beliefs and values are explanations, not causes
How does this relate to AI • The problem is more complex than it is made out to be • Reducing reality to symbols won’t work