Yes I wrote a book titled “The Human Decision System”. The book starts with a case: E. coli eats glucose and lactose. It can uptake glucose and process it immediately for energy. It can also uptake lactose, but needs to produce an enzyme to digest it. Thus invest energy to get energy!. It cannot sense how many lactose molecules that are outside the cell body. So it uptakes app. 300 molecules, and then throw a coin playing 50/50 if it should uptake and take the chance there are more outside or not. The E.coli is confronted with a “decision problem” since it as more that one way to decide about “what to do now”. This “what to do now” i the starting point in the long chain of arguments the book presents. Because this is what the brain is supposed to do, always being able to know what to do now. The finish the E. coli nobody knows if 300 molecules can the energy of starting the enzyme production, but what is sure is that evolution has developed decision algorithms, or better, decision systems, to make a one cell organisms able to make self-selection planning its future. So as the first scientist I coined the concept of “biological decision systems” that makes self-selection for fitness possible. Soon after I was able to describe the human version from the general principles in biological decision systems. Even stem cell scientists have learned that nature and nurture cannot alone explain the differentiation of the stem cell, and in Copenhagen University they have a center for “stem cell decision making” trying figure out how to control stem cell differentiation. So here we are with a general concept of “biological decision systems”. Why do these systems exist? We have the genetic system to transfer information from species to species, we have the epigenetic system to transfer information from generation to generation, and then it is straight that we have the biological decision system to transfer information during the individuals lifetime. Soon I realized that cognitive neuroscience has missed a very important concept at the foundation of neuroscience. Basically neuroscience says that there are sense neurons, interneurons and motor neurons. As you see the sense and the motor neurons are named after their function, but what is the function of the interneurons? Recalling Shannon, interneurons introduce uncertainty. Since a sense neuron connected directly to a motor neuron is a reflex, no decision process there, only 1:1. But the interneuron introduces a time delay (a memory function) and it introduces an uncertainty as to what the response will be (a decision system). Thinking on the E. coli, the number of senses, the number of food items and the number of movements that an organism (or deciding agent) has, defines its total number of degrees of freedom. But the number of algorithms in the decision system determines how to split these degrees of freedom between entropy and negative entropi - between questions without an answer and questions with an answer, at any point in time. So the brain (and nervous system) is an algorithm producing organ, a decision system, that handles how the deciding agent should decide about what to do now, now, now…
This introduces two dimensions in the algorithm: Spacing and timing.
Spacing is about how to move, ie. what sequences of movements that will be the answer to “what to do now, now, now…”.
So what is movement? Well we can split action into “activity” = the degrees of freedom used on moving the muscles. And then on to the task that can be split in the goal and target: The moving agent moves to achieve a goal engaging a target. So when you make a decision about what to do now, this will happen:
Start/stop achieving a goal
Start/stop engaging a target
Thus there are three start/stops behind any action.
Where do they come from in the brain? These processes must be handled to decide about the start/stops:
- you must find out where you are
- you must find out what targets are available to you
- you must find out which goals are available to you
- you must find out why you should pursuit a specific combination of goal-target
- you must find out when you should pursuit this goal-target
- you must find out how you will pursuit this goal-target with a movement
The above processes are derived if you reengineer a decision and a movent into its decision parts (degrees of freedom). The brain is also divided into these independent processes that become linked to each other when the agent is moving.
For example the Nobel prize in neuroscience went to the Norweigan Moser couple for describing the “where” process with its place cells and the allocentric system. Same is with the “how” system which is the egocentric system.
The sequence of entropy (questions) that has to be converted intro negative entropy (answers) is:
Where, what, which, why, when, how.
Then about timing the movements to the now, now, now:
To find answers to the questions, the brain needs to be able to process bits into information. But the brain also learns.
What does this mean? Learing is the process from raising doubt (asking questions) to automating answering the questions. This automation will then function as a reflex, since the entropy from the interneuron will be sent to 0.
So if we understand one learning process as the query process (ie. how to raise questions - this is hardcoded in the brain) and the other as automation (when the motor system just makes themuscle move without any interruption) then we have four other learning processes in between, that brings a question into an answer:
- habituation, when the agent is able to repeat to stay in control
- sensitization, when the agent is able to differentiate to regulate
- operant conditioning, when the agent is able to modify based on a assumption
- conditioning, when the agent is able to restrict based on anticipations
This can be translated into the different time periods from where the information in the learning process comes from. Remember when you burnt your fingers on the hot stove? Now you dont touch the hot stove. You have been conditioned. So you use information from the past to restrict your behavior now based on an anticipation that if you did, the situation would repeat and you would end up in pain. The point here is that information from different time periods can only be used in certain wyas in the now. These are:
- to start/stop /now (6)
- to control/moment (5)
- to regulate/present (4)
- to modify/future (3)
- to restrict/past (2)
- to query /freeze (1)
These basic ways of using information from different time periods in the now, is what the neocortex is able to do. I have out on the layer numbers. As you see layer 5 connects directly into the motor system, and layer 4 connects into the thalumus. This is what is actually taking place, and layer 2 and 3 is about inference (prediction).
As the pyramidal neuron can be in three states according to HTM theory:
Active = firing - this layer 6
Passive = not firing - this is layer 1
Predicting these are layers 2,3,4,5
- 2 is from the environment
- 3 is feed forward
- 4 is feed back
- 5 is the soma, the moment the neuron is in when it is predicting
This is like ready, aim, fire…
So the trick is to describe the formulars and the specific bit processing that bring the neuron in the different states.
Did that explain something positive to you? Ask me any question…