Thoughts

    current edition of the article on the Makeloft website

    What is a thought? What do people deaf from birth think? What dreams do the blind have? And what is the world like for deaf-mute people? How does memory work? Why do we better remember objects from the point of view of a computer that are more difficult to perceive (faces, pictures, melodies) than elementary ones (phone numbers and long sequences of characters)? Where does consciousness begin in a chain of living things? What are emotions and feelings? Is artificial creation of the mind possible? Consciousness?

    The article has an exploratory research character and contains simplified hypotheses, but in it we will try to come at least one iota closer to understanding such issues. Perhaps someone will find out their thoughts or find new ones ...

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    Associative-relational data model

    This area is still not sufficiently studied, however, some patterns are of interest and can be used in practice.

    Let's start from afar, with the solution of an everyday task: you need to create a more or less detailed database of the university, including a schedule of individual and group classes, classrooms, lists of students and employees, while describing the structure of the university (study groups, faculties, departments, positions and other attributes )

    The classical relational approach involves the allocation of a large number of interconnected entities, for example, a student, group, subgroup, faculty, stream, department, employee, position, occupation, subject, type of occupation, time, place, audience, type of audience and many others. With the addition of each new entity, the database schema becomes more complicated and attached to a particular educational institution, that is, applying it to another, say, where the hierarchy of educational subgroups or the schedule principle is slightly different, will not work out that easily. That is, the universality of the subject area is lost ...

    Is it possible to create something more generalized? If you carefully analyze the subject area, you can still notice that most of the entities are abstract in nature and only a very small specific, namely the specific ones: Person (individual person), Place (any place), Event (atomic temporary event) . Everything else is an attempt by the human mind to classify (organize, cluster) sets of specific objects by logical groups ...

    Then the data model can be described as follows:



    PS If someone suddenly wants to go deeper, there are source codes for a workable learning program Dispatcher written several years ago on based on the principles below

    Now let's figure out what are the features, disadvantages and advantages of such a scheme.

    For example, we want to describe students and university staff. First, add the “Status” record to the PersonClusterType table, which reflects the status of the person. In our case, there are two possible statuses: “Student” and “Employee” - these two records will be added to the PersonClusterValue table and they will refer to the “Status” type. That is, we have already formed two clusters of people "Students" and "Employees", and one person may well be included in both clusters, that is, to study at a university and combine work in it.

    Great, sorted it out. Now it is logical to assume that employees have positions. In the PersonClusterType table, add the entry “Position”, and in PersonClusterValue a number of records with the names of the posts “Assistant”, “Technician”, “Laboratory Assistant”, “Teacher”, “Department Head”, “Dean”, “Rector”, “Secretary” “ Watchman ”,“ Janitor ”,“ Watchman ”,“ Dresser ”and others that refer to a record of type“ Position ”. In this case, one person can also simply combine several such posts.

    We now turn to the students. As a rule, they are distributed into groups, subgroups, flows and faculties. Let's create a “Teaching group” entry in PersonClusterType, and add a lot of groups themselves to PersonClusterValue, for example, “750503”, “750504” and so on ... After this step, it’s very easy to get a list of people who study in a particular group. With subgroups, the situation is more interesting - within one group there may be subgroups in physical education, a foreign language, and laboratory studies.

    In the PersonClusterType table we add the types “Subgroup in a foreign language”, “Subgroup in physical education” and so on, and in the PersonClusterValue table the instances of these subgroups themselves, and then we associate them with the corresponding main study group (many-to-many closed relationship).

    Similarly, for an example, we will create the types "Faculty", "Department" and "Stream" in the table PersonClusterType. And in the PersonClusterValue table we add the corresponding instances of the faculties - CSIS, FITU, IEF, EDF, FKP and so on, departments - computers, POIT, Higher mathematics, History, Philosophy, Psychology and others, and in the flows - 75050, 85050 and many others.

    After that, taking advantage of the many-to-many closed connection of the PersonClusterValue table, we associate the study groups with the corresponding departments and flows. Similarly, you can associate some employees in faculties and departments.

    Using this approach, you can absolutely randomly group and organize people, as well as create complex hierarchies. This applies not only to people, but also to temporary events (Event) and places (Place). Moreover, the relations become associative in nature, which makes it possible to use not only linear search in records, but also a real associative one. And this, in turn, opens up new possibilities for caching and processing large amounts of data.

    Moreover, if you look in more detail, then grouping can be done in part in various ways, and this same database scheme can be applied not only to a university, but, say, to a commercial company or school, which gives it unprecedented versatility.

    And what would a diagram of a similar subject area look like in a classical relational representation?

    Summarizing the aforesaid, the method consists in the fact that we transfer only specific objects of the real world (for example, Person) to individual database entities, and for related abstract concepts we only create an entry in the PersonClusterType table. In the usual relational approach, you would have to create a separate table for each such abstract record. As a result, it turns out that we endow a certain set [cluster] of Person objects with a new property of the type [PersonClusterType] and assign this property a specific value [PersonClusterValue].

    It is worth noting that properties so attached to objects from the point of view of programming are of string type, but nothing prevents us from improving the proposed scheme and using various types, for example, Boolean or numeric. However, there are limitations with numbers, which will be mentioned below.

    Due to the closed connection of many to many, these attached properties (clusters) are able to have a complex character, rather than an atomic one, that is, to represent hierarchical structures.

    Moreover, you may have noticed that the principle of filling in such a database somewhat resembles the learning process ... And the program itself can imitate thinking algorithms, ask questions, or even direct user actions ... For example, when we add a new person to the Person table, based on that almost all users have any status of “Student” and / or “Employee”, the program itself is able to offer the user to assign a new person to one of these clusters (deductive inference from general to particular ) Then the application will offer to correlate the employee with the position, and the student with the study group.

    On the other hand, it is possible that all study groups are not related to faculties. We associate one or two study groups with faculties, and the program itself suddenly “guesses” that the other study groups must also be correlated with the departments and suggests that this action be performed for them (inductive inference from particular to general).

    Moreover, more complex types of conclusions are successfully formalized on this kind of database. For example, objects X and Y are included in clusters A, B, C, D. At some point, the user creates a new cluster E and adds an object X to it. Having revealed the analogy between X and Y, the program also suggests that Y be added to the new cluster E.

    Associative data model

    If we go even deeper into this approach, then the column properties that Person has, namely, FirstName, LastName, Birthday, and others, can also be put into clusters, that is, as a result, the table will turn into “pure image entities”, where There are no more columns except for its Id, and in order to restore its state, it is necessary to collect the values ​​of its properties for all associated clusters.

    From the OOP point of view, in such a situation there is a complete semantic gap, therefore, something to program on such a database is unlikely to be convenient, at least very unusual. But still, if you present objects in the form of dictionaries “name of the property-value”, then something interesting can be done, namely, it becomes very simple to implement inference algorithms.

    But if you go even deeper ... Erase the difference between the entities Person, Event, Place (create an “Entity” type in ClusterType, and add three entries with this type “Person”, “Event”, “Place” in ClusterValue) and leave in the database only three table entities:
    - clean images of object instances (Image)
    - property values ​​of object clusters (ClusterValue)
    - property types of object clusters (ClusterType)

    It turns out that absolutely any kind of objects can be described with such a scheme. From the Image table, you need to take a specific instance and see which clusters it belongs to, on the basis of which to restore all its properties and their values. Interesting, isn't it? However, this is not the limit - everything can be collapsed at all into two table entities Cluster and Value (as in OOP, absolutely everything is an object, and in associative databases everything is a cluster). Of course, in this case it will not be easy to extract instances of objects of image clusters from the table, but here lies an intriguing thing - all this becomes similar to the model of image associations in the brain ...

    But back to the numbers. In real databases, often in the fields of table entities are stored mathematical data, for example, floating point numbers. If you use a pure associative approach, then you need to add the entire set of numbers to the ClusterValue table, and this is just a huge array of data in real databases. Obviously, it will make it extremely difficult for the entire table to work efficiently and search through associations. But this fact, as it were, hints to us about why people often poorly remember sequences of numbers and symbols.

    As for the practical applicability of the approach with modern OOP programming, it is enough to stop at the associative-rational level and not switch to a completely associative one. But we will go further.

    Perception model

    We will try to present in a simplified form how some sensory organs work.

    Let's start with the view. As soon as light enters the retina, signals from receptors are formed and based on them, the brain begins to distinguish primitive images: lines, color areas, areas of light and shadow. Gradually, the order of images becomes more complicated and now, according to information from the previous stage, geometric shapes begin to form, then the brain tries to add more complex complex objects from many such geometric shapes - from a balloon to the face of another person, for example. If the object cannot be recognized immediately, the brain begins to look for analogies using the properties of this object, so the child may well call the balloon a ball. Or, the process of external learning is initiated - an adult is asked a question.

    Children's drawings, where rather complex objects of the real world are depicted in the form of primitives, but nevertheless are perceived as what is needed, help to understand this scheme even more. This is the power of art - to convey images of a higher order (emotions, feelings) with the help of more elementary, but so that it reaches another person ...

    As for hearing, the process is somewhat similar. It starts with the fact that information on the frequencies contained in the sound signal is received from the auditory receptors, after which the information is collected over a short period of time and the changes in it are analyzed, after which a kind of pattern is formed ... It is from this that we recognize the melody played on various instruments and recognize words uttered in completely different voices.

    In fact, during wakefulness and partially when we sleep, the brain continuously performs this work of recognizing surrounding images and clustering in the background. As soon as something important comes into view, attention is transferred to this object and its analysis begins to occur in more detail.

    The perception of primitive images from the senses weakly depends on the emotional state of the individual, although it can, for example, increase or decrease in certain situations, but the clustering of high-order images is very much subject to emotions.

    Emotional model

    As a rule, most of the recognized objects-images of the world have a neutral emotional coloring, however, in some circumstances and conditions of the individual, this color becomes bright and can even translate the individual into another emotional state.

    The simplification of the character of an individual can be represented in the form of a graph, where the vertices are all of his possible atomic emotions and each is associated with the current level of excitation. All emotions are connected by edges, where each edge has its own conductivity coefficient (the probability of the transition of excitation from one emotion to another). The values ​​on the edges are stable over long time intervals, and the values ​​at the vertices are dynamic, and are easily affected by the images of the external world. Some emotional states are the most likely and therefore stable (an analogue of a potential well), and significant external or internal stimuli are necessary to switch to others.

    Thought model

    Since people have the main channel of communication and cognition of speech (oral and written) in the brain, a habit of pronouncing thoughts is developed. Perhaps this is necessary as an exercise in order to be in good shape and quickly formulate phrases. More complex channels - visual and emotional - are usually not involved so often, so imaginative thoughts are less common. However, they allow you to think associatively, bypassing a strict logical level and process information faster, since speaking requires time and control. Perhaps someone is familiar with the state of "flashed thought", probably this is an example of pure figurative thinking, when the brain establishes a new relationship, but did not have time to design it in the form of a speech or visual construction.

    Obviously, deaf-mute children do without speaking from childhood, using only visual concepts, therefore their ways of thinking differ from those familiar to most people. Blind from birth cannot use visual images, but their tactile and auditory canals are well developed. It is noteworthy that blind people in adulthood retain the ability to dream, however, as animal experiments show, the ability to vision is established in early childhood, and if a newborn animal is glued to one eye, and after a long time the bandage is removed, the animal will remain blind on this eye, and vision on it will not be restored, although the entire visual channel will not have any obvious damage. It’s just that the associative connections responsible for recognizing elementary images from this channel will not be established in the brain.

    Deaf-deaf-mute since childhood are extremely limited in the ways of learning, communication and thinking, therefore, without due attention from other people, their mental development stops. However, as living examples show, with the right approach, deaf-blind people can successfully master even higher education.

    Consciousness

    Where does consciousness begin? Most likely, a single body cell, virus or bacterium does not possess consciousness, and it is also unlikely that a separate part of the body is endowed with consciousness, even with nerve fibers. Intuitively, consciousness is associated with the brain as a whole. Moreover, an interesting point, as a rule, in one copy ... Perhaps there are exceptions when several minds appear in one brain (bifurcation / reproduction of a personality) or consciousness is lost altogether (vegetative state), but you need to be careful here, since these deviations can characterize one consciousness.

    What is this all about? The result of nervous activity or a "divine spark"? It is worth noting that reality exists for consciousness continuously from the moment of birth to death, and for reality the presence of consciousness is a discontinuous process (birth, sleep without dreams, temporary loss of consciousness, death).

    The materialistic determinate scientific approach says that no supernatural entities can exist and everything is limited by the laws of the real world. However, one should not forget that from the point of view of modern quantum physics at the level of elementary particles, the world has a non-deterministic probabilistic nature (collapse of the wave function and Heisenberg uncertainty), and if a channel of interaction of the soul with the body is possible, then it may well lie at this level, and the dimensions neurons and their connections are quite subject to the influence of quantum fluctuations. Therefore, along with the natural biological factors and laws of the brain, there may be a place for the soul ...

    That is, in the understanding of the author, according to the quantum picture of the world, there is no predetermined fate, but there are some acceptable life lines, the choice of which is determined by probabilistic fluctuation. But after all, a number of fluctuations can be quite arranged in a certain way, choosing one or another version of the development of history, while not violating the mathematical distribution, thereby fitting into all physical laws, right?

    From the standpoint of programming, the genetic code of at least a person is a program according to which, under certain conditions, you can recreate a living organism (computer) with consciousness. If there is no “divine spark”, then thoroughly studying the laws of its functioning, by analogy, theoretically, it is possible to create such a modified computer, not only of biological nature, but still possessing consciousness. Moreover, in this case, the number of instances of consciousness is very weakly limited, and by putting production on stream, it is possible to create billions-billions of thinking and conscious machines. On the other hand, if we assume the divine nature of the soul, the question also arises: is the number of copies of consciousness limited?

    But what if you boldly assume that there is only one single common consciousness, and at that moment it is in you, in a moment it will transfer to another person (or even a wild animal, plant and pet) living in parallel with you, in another moment in the next one and so on, and then it will return to you again and everything will repeat so that you don’t notice it. Only the context changes, but the consciousness remains the same. This is similar to scheduling processes and threads in the operating system. Everything seems parallel, and at a particular moment (quantum) of time on the computing core, only one is executed in its cotext. Although there are many processors and cores, it is even possible that there are many instances of consciousness, but they can be associated not with one physical body, but with several at once!

    Therefore, the situation is quite acceptable that, by influencing the state of consciousness of another person, you are literally directly influencing your own.

    Now it is logical to continue the discussion of reincarnation. From the perspective of the Creator of the Universe (or even several Creators), this is a very reasonable concept. If one of the goals of creating the world is learning and cognition, then the transition to a new body is a kind of next step in this process. Just as during the day a person gets tired and fills his head with thoughts, and then during sleep he cleanses and wakes up with a fresh head, so having been reborn in a new body he is cleansed of previous loads and attachments.

    You can immediately object, but what's the point? After all, the experience gained over decades is lost, you need to learn again, and time erases everything ... But why is the Earth far from the same as it was hundreds or even thousands of years ago? After all, not only a person, but the world is able to remember ... It is corny, someone wrote a book in his life, put his ideas into it and died a long time ago, and afterwards was revived years later - and suddenly he comes across ideas from this book! Wow, how interesting, but you can develop them more ... And so on. Or he made a discovery that somehow led to the appearance of a transistor - in his next life he uses personal computers. He raised a child, gave him his knowledge and love, and the child passed it on to his descendants, and then the one who was at the source was born to one of the distant, distant descendants. It’s worth considering!

    Perhaps, according to Eastern religious traditions, those who have achieved enlightenment come out of samsara (a series of rebirths), but I can’t imagine what else ... Perhaps the Universe for us is a kindergarten, a school, an institute, and endless space for the most daring studies and flights of fancy! Who knows, suddenly we are the very architects of the universe who decided for some reason to try ourselves out of boredom or out of curiosity, who created the Universe in its present physical form and settled in it. And even though there is no sense in all this, but the meaning can always be found in something or someone, as well as come up with.

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    Or make another choice, do not constantly torment yourself with similar questions and live quietly, be sad and rejoice, explore and learn, communicate, share, love and create!

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