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Emotional computer

Let's start from afar. Let us imagine that the scientists of the nineteenth century in some magical way got a modern computer. They would study his work, create a whole science describing the properties of the operating system and the installed programs. Then they would have opened this computer and tried to describe its main nodes, to understand their purpose. Then they would measure the voltage at various points. Various theories would arise about the flow of information circulating inside a computer. There would be a theory of its silicon-based. Someone would receive a Nobel Prize for the discovery of the principles of the semiconductor valve. But the most important thing is that the complexity of the device of a modern computer would make it difficult for those scientists to understand the rather simple principles underlying any computing technology. These principles were formulated in the "Turing machine" and have not changed to this day, and it does not matter whether the computer is assembled on lamps, transistors or microchips. Any computer has a memory, a command system, a processor that is able to execute these commands, programs consisting of a sequence of commands and an input / output device that allow interaction with the outside world. The rest of the "bells and whistles" that have arisen as a result of the evolution of computing technology, although they multiply the capabilities of a computer many times, do not cancel these principles.

The study of the human brain is a lot like a painted picture. We know a lot about its internal structure, deeply studied the processes occurring in neurons, but for many researchers an abundance of diverse knowledge obscures the understanding of fairly simple principles underlying the brain.

We set ourselves the goal of creating a “brain” of a simple device that will use in its existence the same principles that are inherent in living beings. Of course, the real brain is much more complicated, but now I will try to formulate the basic principle, which is as fundamental for understanding the operation of the brain as the understanding of the “Turing machine” is fundamental for understanding the operation of a modern computer.

In the previous post “Emotions of a person and a computer light bulb” I described the role of emotions and memory, briefly repeat.
Initially, all actions are consequences of reflexes. Emotions do not "push" us to any behavior. Emotions "give a rating" to everything that happens. There is always a final scalar score on the “good / bad” scale. The final grade is recorded by the memory along with the “situation” that caused this grade. “Situations” contain not only the external picture of the world, but also our reaction to it, our actions. Memory afterwards, reacting to external influence, “forces” to perform any actions or “prevents” them. Moreover, the actions that we perform on the basis of our experience are most likely, in comparison with other possible actions, will lead to a positive change in the emotional state. The emotions that accompany our actions cannot be interpreted as “motivators of action”, these are assessments of what is happening, which are necessary for the formation of experience.

Now consider the device shown in the figure.

Each of the circles denotes a formal neuron - an artificial analogue of a real brain neuron. With the exception of the "regulator", which itself represents a simple construction that can be assembled from neurons. The device uses several, slightly different in properties, types of neurons. We describe them:

Such a device, which, by the way, is easy to put into practice, behaves like a living organism. At first, his behavior is completely determined by reflexes and is a reaction to the state of the sensors. But, besides reflexes, the device has the ability to form instincts, that is, the ability to experience emotions and to memorize events that lead to their changes. Over time, memory accumulates information about which behavior is optimal in a given situation in terms of maximizing positive emotions. Memory begins to influence actuators. Purely reflex behavior shifts towards the instinctive.

Consider how this happens. While the memory is clear, the state of the executive neurons is determined by the neurons of the reflexes. Facing situations “stitched” in reflexes, our device will perform the action provided by them. What reflexes are appropriate - this is determined by natural selection. With regard to living beings, it can be said that reflexes will arise and fix, which will provide behavior that contributes to:

When performing various actions, which pushed reflexes, will change the state of neurons, "emotions". What emotions will arise depends on the neurons of the “emotional reflexes”. They recognize the picture on the "sensors" and "treat" it as "good" or "bad." The fact of assessing the situation in terms of emotions does not entail any immediate action; memory simply captures all situations in which the emotional background has changed. In other words, each memory neuron captures the memory of a certain situation (what the situation is, is already determined by the state of the “sensor” neurons) and stores information about whether the action performed in this situation improved or worsened the emotional state.

Further, neurons of memory, “recognizing” situations that correspond to their “experience”, begin to contribute to the formation of actions. Due to the activation processes, they stimulate to actions that gave an improvement in the state, and due to the processes of inhibition, they warn against actions that led to its deterioration. Under the conditions when there are not so many sensors reflecting the outside world, conflicting memories can be recorded in the memory. With the same picture on the sensors, the same actions can lead to different results. This means that either due to lack of information two different external situations were identified, or the phenomenon itself is random. In such situations, the accumulation of experience will lead to the fact that the executive neurons, summing the signals of excitation and inhibition, will choose the action in which the probability of positive changes in the emotional state is higher.

If we want to improve our device, then, looking at the human brain, we can understand that we have a lot of "evolutionary techniques" in stock. For example:

In general, there is no limit to perfection ...

The described device can adapt to the environment, evolve, but not think. For thinking, he needs significant changes in the design and the introduction of new principles. I will try to describe them in subsequent posts.

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/105290/

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