Showing posts from June, 2007

Emotional and moral tagging of percepts and concepts

Back in April, I suffered head trauma that almost killed me and landed me in the hospital for, thankfully, only a day. My wife, the sweet prankster that she is, went to a newsstand and got me copies of Scientific American Mind and Discover Presents: The Brain, an Owner's Manual (a one-off, not a periodical). The former had a picture of a woman with the upper portion of her head as a hamburger and the latter a picture of a head with its skullcap removed revealing the brain. So I got a good laugh and some interesting reading. I'm reading an article now in The Brain titled "Conflict". The basic position author Carl Zimmer offers is encapsulated in the subtitle: morality may be hardwired into our brains by evolution. In my opinion, there is some merit to this idea, but I don't subscribe wholeheartedly to all of what the article promotes. Zimmer argues that the parts of our brains that respond emotionally to moral dilemmas are different from the parts that respo

A hypothetical blob-based vision system

As often happens, I was talking with my wife earlier this evening about AI. Given that she's a non-programmer, she's an incredible sport about it and really bright in her understanding of these often arcane ideas. Because of some questions she was asking, I thought it worthwhile to explain the basics of classifier systems. Without going into detail here, one way of summarizing them is to imagine representing knowledge of different kinds of things in terms of comparable features. She's a "foodie", so I gave the example of classifying cookies. As an engineer, you might come up with a long list of the things that define cookies; especially ones that can be compared among lots of cookies. Like "includes eggs" or a degree of homogeneity from 0 - 100%. Then, you describe each kind of cookie in terms of all these characteristics and measures. Some cookie types will have a "not applicable" or "don't care" value for some of these character