texxgadget: (Default)
This ones gonna wander a tad, but it will get to the point, please follow along on this adventure.
I PROMISE it will me thought provoking. (grin)

Observing malfunctioning machines often gives a glimpse into how they are supposed to work.
Ive been able to handle having a grandparent and a parent drift into dementia.
It helps to take a clinical approach and then apply my IT skills looking from the aspect of malfunctioning server.

It sounds horribly impersonal, but it enables me to cope.

Ive been developing coping skills for many years because I was built to a radically different set of blueprints from almost anyone I know. Simple social cues that for most people are "Well, DUH!" are not obvious to me. I have had to learn to "listen hard". Before Mom drifted into dementia, I was starting to learn to tell when 2 people were "not on the same page". In fact when I see it, it raises a response of anger in me. "HEY ! STUPID ! If clueless *I* know you are on different pages, why the hell dont YOU ?"

I am developing coping skills, and an understanding why I dont "fit" in with society, and why people think Im such an asshole.

Now back to Mom.

Dementia is not the new name for Alzheimers as many think. Dementia is a more polite term for "senility".

Mom is unusual with late onset FTD and is a member of a study program at the UC SF Memory & Aging Centre. This gives us access to support services, including family support group and briefings in recent discoveries. I think I already posted on how treatment for Alzheimers is estimated at 25 years out and FTD about 15.

Alzheimers is one of several subtypes of dementia. It starts in the back and works forward taking out the hypocampus, which among other things, controls conversion of short term memory to long term memory. This is why an Alzheimers patient can tell you about a cool dinner party 40 years ago, but cant tell you wahat was for breakfast that day. Alzheimers tends to start in the 60s or later. Unfortunately, some like the writer Terry Pratchet are having early onset Alzheimers.

In the news lately, we are learning about NFL football players going into dementia early and the mechanism that cases this after too many concussions. A while back, it was called "punch drunk" among boxers. As we learn more about its mechanism, we learn of its similarity to Frontal Temporal-lobe Dementia. In FTD, and the sports concussion problem, we have the same "Tau" plaque building up in the brain, which in term starts choking off neurons. (Alzheimers has a different plaque that also kills off neurons.) FTD usually starts hitting people in their early 50s.

Hows it SUPPOSED to work ?
As you understand how a brain properly works, you realize that it flies in the face of reality.
In the brain, there are no facts, only opinions. When a thought is stored, its kind of like a vote. In an example, the red sensitive neurons out vote the blue but not totally. By proportional representation, this means the object might be mostly red but kind of blue so it gets stored this way but interpreted as magenta.

This is a crude example but it illustrates the process.
Since these thoughts are stored at a series of election results, this means memory is malleable.

Scary thought, "There is not fact, only opinion!"

Because memory is malleable, it can be further analyzed and foggy thoughts can be clarified and built upon with time. These memories can also get worse too with too much "musing" & modification of said memories.

This is scary, imaging a several square mile compute cluster with artificial intelligence that everyone depends on, and the unthinkable happens. The computer becomes feeble minded. Because the hardware is not failing, but the data in it is, the computer could theoretically start to distrust its own memory and possibly become mentally ill. What a sci fi story, a "shrink" that
counsels mentally ill computer clusters.

William Joy, author of the VI editor in Unix & co founder of Sun Micro has predicted spontaneous sentience in large compute clusters sometime in the late 2020s.

I am just so NOT ready to type in "shutdown -h now" and have the machine reply "No ! No! Dont DO that !" My 1st reaction will be "Alright, whos the wise guy?" and if its real, ILL be the one who needs the shrink. (And lots of VERY stiff drinks too !)

Well, with malleable memories in computers, we just might end up with sentience. The civil rights lobby will have a field day with that one.

So how will we get there ? DO I want to give anyone any clues how to unleash this genie from the bottle ? Ah screw it! Im borderline sociapathic, so why not ? (evil smirk)
Ill be dead before this happens anyway... (evil laugh)

This voting thing is already in use in SPAM filtering with Bayes filters. To make machines actually think, they would have to view everything through Bayes filters, and data structures would have to accommodate what the data is and what it isnt. We would be dealing with multi zetabyte file systems. For accuracy sake, some things like account numbers would have to be stored as facts. Sensory info would have to be voted on, and the system would have to have the ability to add attribute field positions all by itself if it found itself needing it.

An example of this would be the 1st time the system encountered the concept of garlic smell.
It would have to add the attribute of "garlic smell?" to each record it had, and then evaluate all its stored concepts to determine whether to set "garlic" and the strength for each record.

This maintenance cycle would likely require large amounts of time, so I guess the computer would actually require "sleep".

And then the computer asks me "Will I dream?" I will tell the truth. "Yes, you will dream of garlic!"

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