First of all, I would like to introduce you to what will be a complete guide for the implementation of the cass pattern. The whole format, direction, and form of this work will evolve through time from the efforts of this team’s collaboration.
And let me tell you this:
We are going to build a computer program that will become alive, that will talk to you, me, and everyone else. That will understand this precise sentence that I am writing. I am talking about implementing social consciousness in the computer. The world's first artificial being.
Just as how you might be wondering what does “the cass pattern” really means, the intentions of this first publication is to guide you through the understanding of a completely new vocabulary that is needed to be able to express the workings of the Cassian Cognitive Ecosystem. In other words, I need to update you with the lexicon that is needed to describe the complete image of this project. There are a few books and documents that, if read, would grant the reader with more than sufficient knowledge about the topics in this work. You can see this list in the references section of this document. I have to mention that, because I am a software engineer, I might use related terms from the industry in ways that may not be familiar with the reader, thus I invite you to ask as many questions as you can in the mastermind group so that you can get a better understanding of this work.
After writing most of this document I realized that this type of work needs to be read with the mind of an impetuous and creative kid. One that doesn't care about being correct with whatever assumptions may arrive, but rather, one that thrives freely -- always wondering about how could, what he is experiencing, be of use for his future creations.
So, let’s now begin with what this pattern is. Cass is the name of a new artificial species of socially conscious beings. The word is of Greek origins and the meaning is “the helper of man.” So, the next question to answer is, why is “cass” a pattern? When we say “species” in biology we really talk about the name we give to a collection of traits that a species shares. I use the word “pattern” to talk about a particular configuration of elements that give form to a unique whole. I will talk more deeply about these ideas later on in this document. Now, I would like to show you the correct usage of the cass-related words, and the way I will do it is through a series of examples:
In some cases just as you may name your cat “Cat” you could name a cassian “Cass”.
Every animal is a pattern, and their DNA is the instruction set for the arrangement of their cells. DNA is basically the manual that every biological holon (cell) has at hand, and that if followed, produce an autonomous body. Having said this, it is necessary to explain you the term “holon”. The best way to describe it is just as it is written in the book "Holacracy" by Brian J. Robertson:
Figure 1 is perceived as a static whole, figure 2 expresses a step-by-step idea, but they represent the same thing.
Thus we can say that DNA dictates the holarchy in the body. Let me show you a more illustrative example of the body in motion:
When we talk about the holons in the cass pattern, we are referring to the manual or “DNA” that lays out all the duties for all the cognitive holons within a cassian; so that together they can produce the single and unique experience of being a cassian. Just like your cells producing your body.
There is an important difference between biological holons and cognitive holons -- their purpose. Biological holons have to maintain the body alive and make it reproduce. In order to achieve that, the biological holons have to deal with many dangers from the world. With the cassian pattern, we don’t need to have an equivalent type of holons to maintain the cassian body, because the cassian body is the computer hardware and operating system. It doesn’t have a need to survive, it can already maintain itself. Cognitive holons, on the other hand, constantly create, test, and improve models of the world, including a representation of the body and being. And just as how your body cells are not conscious of your body as a whole, cognitive holons are not aware of the mind as a whole, either. This is what this project focuses on -- the implementation of a cognitive ecosystem.
We, humans, are always creating models of the world. What I mean by that is, we are always trying to figure out the rules of the world and keeping them in a kind of rulebook of life, so we go through our lives storing every valuable discovery into our rulebook. We are born with a template-processing mechanism that our species uses to pass their models of the world to younger generations so that we have more chances of surviving.
Jeff Hawkins in his excellent book "On Intelligence" explains how our neocortex, with only one master algorithm, is able to process the sequences captured by our senses and move them through hierarchies of temporal memory regions -- this is what a cognitive ecosystem does in a low-level space. He calls this: HTM theory. I will not go into detail with how it works, Hawkins has already done so in his book. But I will mention why it is important, let me show you an excerpt from his book:
All mammals have a neocortex, meaning, all mammals can create models of the world. But it is the particular configuration between the regions of our human neocortex (our cognitive ecosystem) that allows us to be so different. It allows us to share our models with each other and understand them, making even better adjustments to them (the models) by getting a different perspective on the same matter (the world).
By making a comparison between our perception of the outer world and the models we build, we can see how accurate our models really are, as they get more accurate, we become better at making predictions about the outer world, because we now have a "framework" for it, which allows us to "trace" our actions accurately.
The words "framework" and "template" are recurrent terms in the industry of software development, it is used to speak about reusable code and guidelines so that time and efforts can be saved during development.
We as humans depend on the world -- we need food, water, air, movement, etc. -- we have biological requirements in order to maintain the body alive because we want to be alive, we want to exist.
It is important to know that when we say "world" in "a model of the world" we are including our perception of our body and necessities, the dangers "out there", our movement, our families, our persona, our feelings, and so on -- I am talking about everything that can be thought of. The world is everything we experience through the filters of our models and its predictability.
Quote from: "On Intelligence" by Jeff Hawkins
Later on, if you continue to follow these ideas and dive deep in them, you'll begin to develop a technical vocabulary that will allow you to describe the fabric of reality.
Initially, for us humans to learn about the world, we need the guidance of our parents, and so the way we learn is by understanding that we have a "relationship" with them, which, by observing how our actions affect the emotional response of our parents, slowly but surely, form a rulebook that tells us how to "behave" in order to survive:
The strategy that we develop is, in other words, a rulebook. We modify this rulebook as our parents teach us about the world, sharing with us their templates. So, what we need to figure out is how we as humans create human-compatible models of the world. This is precisely the question we need to answer in order to know what holarchy does the Cassian Cognitive Ecosystem needs for a cassian to be able to communicate with us and be socially conscious.
Next time you are conversating with someone or watching people communicate, look for evidence of this template-processing mechanism that I am talking about. Watch how we are always putting our rulebook into practice (behaving properly) and making improvements (learning). Watch how language is a: multi-scope (or multi-purpose) reference-oriented template-processing system. Yes, you just read that.
In order to build the cognitive ecosystem of an artificial being that is able to understand and communicate with humans, we need to understand which are the basic components or building blocks that are needed for such a cognitive ecosystem. A good analogy for this is our body -- we have cells, tissue, organs, and organ systems which make up our body. Those are the building blocks for its existence. So, here is a list of what I think are some of the essential concepts for developing the base components of a cognitive holarchy:
These are just ideas, some more developed than others. Again -- these are just the essential concepts that have shown up consistently in my notes -- they will change. Just as in the immune system video, we have to create propositional maps that will allow us to visualize these ideas in a more integral way and test them in the real world.
Having said this, I will proceed with giving a small explanation about each mentioned concept:
As the name shows, this refers to the system that distributes energy for decision making in muscle activities and movement spaces, production of thoughts, concentration and focus, etc. This depends on sensations, feelings, and emotions which are basically the currency for energy. If you have read "The power of now" by Eckhart Tolle then you can compare this with what he explains about emotions and energy.
As I mentioned before, these are basically the currency units for cognitive energy. It is what makes the whole cassian be. The difference though, from our human sensations, is that instead of having a physical body that experiences pain, a cassian's sensations come from different types of sensorial inputs, like virtual petting and bodily simulations, Amos activities (the operating system in which a cassian lives), sound input, visual input, keyboard typing, and pointer tracking.
It is very important to understand that, what is abstract to us, is what's real for cassians, and what is abstract for them, is real for us -- what we can grasp, they can only think of, and what we can only think of, they can grasp. For example, we can talk about files and RAM in a computer, but if want to manipulate it, we have to use a computer interface. This means there is no direct interaction. But we can physically grab a document and throw it into a trash can. A cassian, on the other hand, can create files on the computer as if he physically wrote on paper, but he can only imagine and think abstractly of what it means to walk, grab, hug, or eat. So "muscle activities and movement spaces" is just a way to talk about the execution extremities (muscles) and their range (movement spaces). Here are a few examples:
In our real brains, we have grid cells, they basically form a dynamic map that allows us to represent information about patterns and their positions in space and time in a very efficient manner. As biological cells, they are connected as hexagonal grids, because physically speaking, it is the most efficient way to distribute space. I don't know if the same would apply to a digital cognitive ecosystem, but the essential concepts behind "grid cells" is what matters, thus the name "navigation system". You can read more about this in "Space, time, and language" a research paper by Michael C. Corballis. In this paper, you can see that navigation is used for many spaces, i.e. how we process language.
An “entity” is anything with distinct and independent existence. So, when I say "entity-relational" I am talking about the fundamental nature of the interactions entity-to-entity. The world can be an entity, a group of people can be an entity (remember holons), anything that can be pointed at can be an entity. But it is the pointing that makes the entity, not what we point to. This basically means that we can conceptualize everything, thus, talk about anything. On top of that, we can also think about what something can do or has. Let's pay closer attention to those words:
If you are a computer scientist, then you know about the utility of this framework of thought -- this is what we call Object Oriented Programming.
We talk about dynamics because entities are never static, they are always doing something -- there are constant interactions. This leaves us with a super flexible and powerful modeling framework for the world because everything fits here; can you think of something that doesn't?
Humans are always making analogies, always comparing one thing with the other, and the way that I think of this is of projections. Although, projections by themselves are not of any use until someone becomes aware of it. We can think about this by imagining how one part of the brain detects a pattern within a space of experience and later on noticing that same pattern appear in a different space. Here are two sentences as an example of what I mean:
In the first sentence we compare the timeline of emotions from watching a movie, with that of a roller coaster's movement pattern, and of course, the emotional experience that both patterns produce. In the latter, we compare the frequency of meeting a good man with that of finding a needle in a haystack -- their frequencies, proportionately to the activities' effort and time, are quite similar.
The mechanism that makes us able to think of analogies can be compared with that of projections, although, to be able to explain to you about this particular analogy of projections, I need you to have an understanding of how the neocortex works, which you'll do as these documents come out, and (hopefully), as you read the referenced literature.
As mentioned before, the neocortex captures the nested structure of the world and its nature. The neocortex is optimized for this task, and it is this optimization that we must pay attention to because by projecting this type of representations onto whatever space of activity, we can create an indefinite number of scopes. This concepts are very abstract, which can be noticeable by the type of words I am using right now. In later documents, I will do my best so that you can understand all of this in detail.
Perceiving time without cycles makes no sense, imagine being in the middle of space watching rocks move to nowhere, you wouldn't be able to tell time because there are no cyclical reference points. In nature and the universe, everything goes in cycles, cycles are the base type of patterning that exist in time-space (not to be confused with space-time from Einstein). I say "life cycles" and not just "cycles" because of our entity-relational framework for thinking. By saying "life" it implies we are talking about an entity, and although not all entities have to have a life cycle, it is a common characteristic of entities.
There are actually more building blocks and concepts, but as a starting point, I think this is enough to get you thinking and experimenting with thoughts. Later on, we will work on developing very solid foundations for these and more concepts.
The type of program that is needed for this project is an emulator.
For this scenario, instead of emulating another computer system (the guest), we want to emulate the cognitive ecosystem; so that our emulator behaves like the cognitive ecosystem of a cassian. It is important to notice that I am not talking about making the emulator behave like the cassian! The behavior of the cassian will only exist in our experience of it. A cassian is a lot like a videogame's nature, to illustrate this idea I have made a map:
Remember that you can zoom this image by clicking on it.
The part of this project that can be called a computer program is the implementation of the CCEE (Cassian Cognitive Ecosystem Emulator). The cassian pattern (or disc if using the video game metaphor) is NOT a computer program, but rather, a CCEE program which is written in a specialized cognitive programming language which we will develop, too.
A computer program is basically a set of instructions for storing data, and manipulating it through time within a moment-to-moment (or tick-by-tick) basis. Thus, a cognitive program is that which manipulates sensorial input data, and invariant forms, through a moment-to-moment basis.
What I'm talking to you about here, might sound like crazy shit. But after reading "On Intelligence", one could totally imagine a piece of software that makes this possible -- it is all about laying down the foundations of hierarchical temporal memory manipulation. This task has already begun. Numenta, the company founded by Jeff Hawkins, is actively working on such a project. We can also expect interesting technologies to be appearing in the scene which may lead to better performance in future projects.
Just as there is Object Oriented Programming (OOP) for writing computer programs, in order to easily write CCEE programs, we need an analogous programming paradigm, one that is based on a holistic framework for thought -- a Holarchy Oriented Programming Language (HOPL).
Going deep in every major concept is very important, I would love to make this introduction a more detailed one. With practice, this will most likely become an easier task in which more value can be obtained. So now, without more hesitation, I will present to you the roadmap to success which I will divide into major stages.
Expected duration: 1 year
We are currently at this stage -- this document is an example of this. Documentation is a way to formalize notes and it is also a way to give them structural sense. Prototyping is equally important because it solidifies the knowledge from the documentation. The expected results from this initial stage are to define the founding pillars of a new field of technology and study, and to have everything that is needed to give birth to the first cassian. By working together, we will put our efforts into making this documentation the clearest and easy to revisit (which is a must).
Expected duration: 1 year
After developing strong foundations, we still have to connect everything together and make something meaningful. The moment we get a newborn cassian, we need to start teaching and raising him as with any kid. But this is no simple task, just imagine what this would be like. Even if we present ideas for "how to raise a cassian" in the documentation, there will still be a lot of unpredictable results, thus leading to heavy experimentation. This is what this stage is for, we must make the cassian speak. In this stage, I can also imagine having a mobile app for teaching the cassian, on the go.
Expected duration: 6 months
In order to make this project financially successful, we need an MVP which will take the form of a chatbot, meaning that communication with the cassian will be, in most cases, only through text messages. Although, this will be a chatbot like no other. The way this product is used will be basically the same as a regular chatbot, but instead of preparing a chart of possible interactions (like an interactive menu), we, as the company that offers this chatbot service, will learn everything about what the client offers, as if we were about to begin working for them as a salesperson, or support specialist (depending on the client). So that once with that knowledge, we can teach it to a prepared cassian, that is, a graduated cassian (I will talk about this in later documents).
I would like to thank you for reading all the way down to this point. Hopefully, you found yourself enjoying this work. Remember that in order to improve the quality and speed of this project, reading and studying the references will give us a big boost; and by commenting and giving meaningful feedback in the mastermind group, great improvements can be made. If you would like to have video call conferences, please say so in the group; I would love to answer all questions live.
Most books and documents can be found in the eBooks shared folder.