Here I’m rambling about a potential formalizing perspective upon human intelligence. I don’t know if this perspective is useful == if it will lead to an applicable theory, but… it is something that bugs me and I feel I should share it.
First consider the abstract (or artificial if you like) concept of qualia being a quanta of a recognizable thing. Like a color, a pain, an emotion, my bicycle, the general concept of bicycle, the word “mother” or an abstract math concept like Pythagoras’s theorem.
We humans (and likely mammals and birds) live a continuous conscious experience which (presumably) can be encoded as a sequential stream of qualia, one after another.
Otherwise said, during our lifetime our conscious experience can be encoded as a stream of qualias.
- a qualia is a quanta of the stream of conscious experiences. We can also call it an “atom of experience”.
- a qualia is distinguishable from any other qualia. It might be “closer to” or “farther from” another qualia (an “apple” is close to a “pear”, and a bit further to a “plum”), but the fundamental property of any qualia is we can “see” it is different from any other qualia.
- a qualia can be recognizable, and during the process of acquiring experiences the vast majority of qualia we experience become recognizable. Which means qualias represent the means to encode recognizable past experiences, the basis of learning.
Notes (or noticing?):
- I am aware the term qualia is a loaded and controversial (scientifically, philosophically) but if I called it “thing” would leave out the fact it is experience-able. A “thing” can be something I haven’t experienced or learned yet. We can consider it a “unique pointer or identifier to something”.
- I’m also aware that every moment of conscious experience feels more rich, like a set (a multitude) of things experienced at once - I experience the sequence of ideas I write here, the corresponding words in which these ideas are encoded, the room I’m, the screen on which words appear, etc… but let’s assume this conscious experience, at every moment, has a “focal point” of a single qualia. The “important” thing. It feels like there is only one “attention focus” which quickly switches sequentially from screen to words, to whatever else seems to be “nearby available” within the “current slice” of conscious experience. But what is important (or seems to me at this time) is there exists this one (no more) attention focus which moves from one qualia to another in a certain order, not two at the same time.
This is very peculiar considering how massively parallel the neural structure of the brain actually is.
- So I have to insist on this odd peculiarity. Because on one hand brain can do many things in parallel, on the other it spends a lot of effort to narrow everything down to a slow, very inefficient experiencing stream for the attention focus.
How slow? Some studies say a few dozen bits per second, I’d estimate only a few qualia per second. No more than ten.
- Being so inefficient it has to be important. I speculate here that understanding why it is important will help us to figure out the what it does and how it does and follow on understanding/modelling a human-like intelligence makeup.
So please indulge me to follow on the above ideas, even this might not be the right place for my ramblings. I do it here because the very sense here might be somebody to understand or even follow this exploration helps me focusing. I have problems with focusing and persistence.