Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data. Minsky, Marvin Lee, date. The society of mind. Includes index. l. Intellect. 2. Human information processing. The question how to watch a thing in the human mind. But then Tags: the society of mind, the society of mind pdf, the society of mind ebook. A Society of Mind. Multiple perspectives, reasoned assumptions, and virtual copies. Jon Doyle. Computer Science Department. Carnegie-Mellon University.

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Minsky Marvin - The Society of Mind (PDF) - Free ebook download as PDF File . pdf) or read book online for free. The Society of Mind is both the title of a book and the name of a theory of natural . Print/export. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version. download The Society of Mind on ✓ FREE SHIPPING on qualified orders.

Despite the great popularity of the book The Society of Mind, there have been few attempts to implement very much of the theory.

One difficulty is that Minsky presents the theory in fragments and at a variety of levels, and the more 'mechanical' aspects of the theory are largely distributed throughout the text, and only specially distinguished in the glossary. To support those interested in implementing Societies of Mind, this section reviews several of the specific mechanisms and representations that Minsky describes.

Minsky sees the mind as a vast diversity of cognitive processes each specialized to perform some type of function, such as expecting, predicting, repairing, remembering, revising, debugging, acting, comparing, generalizing, exemplifying, analogizing, simplifying, and many other such 'ways of thinking'. There is nothing especially common or uniform about these functions; each agent can be based on a different type of process with its own distinct kinds of purposes, languages for describing things, ways of representing knowledge, methods for producing inferences, and so forth.

To get a handle on this diversity, Minsky adopts a language that is rather neutral about the internal composition of cognitive processes. He introduces the term 'agent' to describe any component of a cognitive process that is simple enough to understand, and the term 'agency' to describe societies of such agents that together performs functions more complex than any single agent could.

Minsky notes: I recycled the old words "agent" and "agency" because English lacks any standardized way to distinguish between viewing the activity of an "agent" or piece of machinery as a single process as seen from outside, and analyzing how that behavior functions inside the structure or "agency" that produces it. At any time, only some agents in a society of mind are active, and their combined activity constitutes the 'total state' of the mind.

However, there may be many different activities that are going on at the same time in different agencies, and Minsky introduces the term 'partial state of mind' to describe the activities of subsets of the agents of the mind. To Minsky, agents are the building blocks of the mind. He describes several 'primitive' agents out of which larger agencies can be constructed.

K-lines are the most common agent in the Society of Mind theory. The purpose of a K-line is simply to turn on a particular set of agents, and because agents have many interconnections, activating a K-line can cause a cascade of effects within a mind. Many K-lines are formed by 'chunking' the net effects of a problem solving episode, so that the next time the system faces a similar problem, it not only has the previous solution as a starting point, but also the experience of deriving that solution, which includes memories of false starts, unexpected discoveries, and other lessons from the previous experience that aren't captured by the final solution alone.

Thus K-lines cause a Society of Mind to enter a particular remembered configuration of agents, one that formed a useful society in the past. K-lines are a simple but powerful mechanism for disposing a mind towards engaging relevant kinds of problem solving strategies, forms of knowledge, types of goals, memories of particular experiences, and the other mental resources that might help a system solve a problem.

Minsky also uses K-lines in a somewhat different way, as the basis for a more structured or computer-like model of how information is represented and processed in a Society of Mind. He introduces two general classes of K-lines he calls 'nemes' and 'nomes', which are analogous to the data and control lines in the design of a computer. Nemes are concerned with representing aspects of the world, and nomes are concerned with controlling how those representations are processed and manipulated.

Nemes invoke representations of things, and are mostly produced by learning from experience. Minsky gives examples of a few types of nemes, including polynemes and micronemes.

Polynemes invoke partial states within multiple agencies, where each agency is concerned with representing some different aspect of a thing. For example, recognizing an apple arouses an 'apple-polyneme' that invokes certain properties within the color, shape, taste, and other agencies to mentally manufacture the experience of an apple, as well as brings to mind other less sensory aspects such as the cost of an apple, places where apples can be found, the kind of situations in which one might eat an apple, and so forth.

Polynemes support the idea that a thing's 'meaning' is best expressed not in terms of any single representation, but rather in a distributed way across multiple representations.

Micronemes provide 'global' contextual signals to agencies all across the brain. Often, they describe aspects of our situation that are too subtle for words and for which we otherwise have no more determinate concepts, such as specific smells, colors, shapes, or feelings. Micronemes are also used to refer to aspects of a situation that are difficult to attach to any particular thing such as a particular object or event , and are instead more diffuse or indefinite in their reference.

Minsky suggests that nemes are organized into 'ring-closing networks', great societies of nemes and recognizer-agents for those nemes in which activity spreads in both bottom-up and top-down directions, so as to engage in context-sensitive pattern matching processes for recognizing objects, parsing sentences, producing plans, reducing ambiguities, and so on.

Because these kinds of parsing and recognition processes are subject to garden path phenomena and other forms of getting stuck, Minsky suggests that many additional agents are involved in regulating the ring-closing process to 'weed out' problems in the network's activity.

Nomes control how representations are manipulated. Minsky gives examples of a few types of nomes, including isonomes, pronomes, and paranomes. Isonomes signal to different agencies to perform the same uniform type of cognitive operation. For example, they may cause a set of agencies to save their current state to short-term memory and load in a different state, or cause them to begin training a new long-term K-line to reproduce the current state, or cause them to imagine the consequences of taking a certain action.

Pronomes are isonomes that control the use of short-term memory representations. A pronome is often associated with a specific 'role' in a larger situation or event, such as the actor who takes an action, or the location an event occurs. Some pronomes connect to very restricted types of short-term memories that can store only very specific types of knowledge, for example, places, shapes, or paths.

Other pronomes may be much more general-purpose and influential, reaching most of the agencies of the brain. Minsky calls these 'IT' pronomes, and they connect to a great many representations that together can describe virtually anything. There may be only just a few of these 'IT' pronomes, because of the great many connections required to implement them.

Paranomes are sets of pronomes linked to each other so that assignments or changes made by one pronome to some representation produce corresponding assignments or changes by the other pronomes to related representations. Minsky introduces the concept of a paranome to describe how knowledge represented in different ways could nonetheless be related and treated together in a somewhat uniform manner.

For example, a 'location' paranome might be connected to location pronomes attached to two different representations of spatial location, one in terms of an egocentric or 'body-centered' coordinate system, and the other in terms of an external or 'third-person' coordinate system.

Using paranomes, one can coordinate the use of these multiple representations. Minsky gives several examples in the Society of Mind of how one might combine primitive agents into larger agencies that can do more complex things. Several of these examples are concerned with how larger representational systems might be built from simpler agents, and in particular, he describes how several types of frames might be built from simple elements like pronomes and recognizer-agents.

Frames are a form of knowledge representation concerned with representing a thing and all the other things or properties that relate to it in certain particular ways, which are attached to the 'slots' of the frame.

Minsky describes how simple frames may be built from sets of pronomes that control the attachments to the slots of the frame. These pronomes are bound together so that when the frame is invoked, those pronomes cause their associated representations to invoke partial descriptions of aspects of the thing being described.

We can describe a thing richly by using not just one frame, but rather a collection of frames where each frame describes the thing from some particular perspective or point of view. Frame-arrays are collections of frames that have slots or pronomes in common. Minsky gives the example of representing the appearance of a cube from multiple different viewpoints, where each of those viewpoints is described with its own frame, but whose common parts e.

The reason for sharing slots is that when one frame description is inadequate for solving some problem or representing some situation, it is easy to switch to one of the other frames, because some of their slots are already attached to relevant information. The shared slots of frame-arrays are the ancestors of paranomes. Transframes are a central form of knowledge representation in the Society of Mind theory. Transframes represent events and all of the entities that were involved with or related to the event.

They may have slots for representing the origin and destination of a change the before and after states , who or what caused the event, the motivation behind the event or the goal it is intended to achieve if there was indeed an intention , what objects are affected and how, when it occurred, what tools or objects were involved in producing the change, and other important aspects of the event.

Because so much of ordinary life concerns the relationship between events of various types, the transframe representation is central to everyday thinking. Other types of frames.

In addition to transframes, Minsky describes several other types of frames, including story-frames that represent structured collections of related events, and picture-frames that represent the spatial layout of objects within scenes. Presumably these are only a few of the many types of frames that are required to represent and organize the world as well as cognitive processes themselves.

While Minsky argues that there no single method that societies of agents use to solve problems, he does suggest several ways one might build or organize problem solving agencies.

What does it mean to 'solve' a problem?

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Solving a problem can be regarded as reducing or eliminating the important differences between the current state and some desired goal state.

Minsky proposes a simple machine called a difference-engine that embodies this problem solving strategy. Difference-engines operate by recognizing differences between the current state and the desired state, and acting to reduce each difference by invoking K-lines that turn on suitable solution methods.

Minsky elevates the GPS idea to a central principle, and one might interpret Minsky as suggesting that we view the mind as a society of such difference-reducing machines that populate the mind at every level. But ultimately, there is no single mechanism for building difference-engines, because there is no single way to compare different representations. Censors and Suppressors. No method of problem solving or reasoning will always work, especially when it comes to ordinary, commonsense reasoning.

Thus Minsky proposes that in addition to knowledge about problem solving methods themselves, we also have much knowledge about how to avoid the most common bugs and pitfalls with those methods. He calls this type of knowledge negative expertise [12]. In the Society of Mind he describes this knowledge as embodied in form of censor and suppressor agents.

Censors suppress the mental activity that precedes unproductive or dangerous actions, and suppressors suppress those unproductive or dangerous actions themselves. Minsky suggests that such negative expertise could even form the bulk of what we know, yet remain invisible because knowledge about what not to do does not directly manifest itself. Further, he suggests that there is an intimate connection between humor and such negative expertise; when we laugh at a joke, we may be learning about a particular type of problem or pitfall with ordinary common sense reasoning!

Minsky discusses these ideas extensively in [13]. A-brains and B-brains.

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Some types of unproductive mental activity are not specific to any particular method, such as 'looping' or 'meandering', which might occur in any problem solving method that engages in search.

Minsky introduces the notion of the 'B-brain' whose job is not so much to think about the outside world, but rather to think about the world inside the mind the 'A-brain' , so as to be able to notice these kinds of errors and correct them. This division of the mind into 'levels of reflection' is an idea that has become even more central in Minsky's more recent theories.

In the Society of Mind, agents use different internal representations, and so they must interact with each other without knowing very much about how the others work.

Minsky recognized early the difficulty in trying to formulate a theory of cognition that assumed consistent meanings for cognitive signaling: For agents to use symbols that others understand, they would need a body of conventions.

We want to bypass the need for dispersed but consistent symbol definitions. This is not because there are too many meanings, but because there are too few.

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The fewer things an agent does, the less likely that what another agent does will correspond to any of those things. The simplest method of communication is for an agent to just arouse some other sets of agents. An agent can turn on a polyneme to arouse agents that think about some particular object, event, or situation; or it may turn on micronemes that cause other agents to think about some general context; and so forth. For this type of communication it is not necessary for the sender agent itself to know how to express an idea in terms of the representations available to the recipient agent.

Rather, that information is stored in the intervening K-lines that result from successful past communications. Connection lines. Many agents are not directly connected to each other but rather communicate via 'connection lines', buses or bundles of wires that transmit signals to other agents attached to the bus. These wires can be thought of as simple agents in themselves, and while they are initially meaningless, over time the individual wires begin to take on local significance, that is, they come to acquire dependable and repeatable 'meanings'.

Agents communicate over these connection lines by connecting K-lines to random subsets of the bus wires.

This strategy of random connection, first invented by Calvin Mooers, allows a relatively small bus to simultaneously represent a great many independent symbols or states with a low probability of collision between them. On the other side, agents can observe these connection lines to begin to recognize patterns and signals in the wires. Just as the senders do not initially know what the wires mean, neither do the recipients, and so the agents that connect to the bus need to make guesses and hypotheses to come to understand their meanings.

Internal language. For agencies that need to communicate more complex, structured descriptions of things, as in a system of linked frames, Minsky proposes a more elaborate communication mechanism in [14], modeled after his 're-duplication' theory of how people communicate with each other through natural language.

If one agent wishes to convey a complex idea to another, it attempts to re-construct the idea expressed in its own representational system by a sequence of frame retrieval and instantiation operations. For each of these operations there is an associated 'grammar-tactic' that produces words or signals that are sent to the recipient agent.

This method of communication requires that the two communicating agents agree well enough on the meanings of these 'words' or representation-construction operations.

Perhaps the most common method of communication in the Society of Mind is actually for there to be no active communication at all. Instead, agents often find that the information they need is already available when they need it. This is the result of the use of paranomes. As described earlier, when one pronome of a paranome produces a particular state in terms of one representation, the other pronomes simultaneously update their representations so that they enter corresponding states.

Here, communication happens not by sending explicit messages, but rather at all times different agencies are separately looking at the same property, object, event, situation, or other type of thing from their own unique perspective, and any changes to one representation are immediately reflected in the other corresponding representations. While this is not so much a communication mechanism in and of itself, an important consideration in how agents communicate in a Society of Mind is that precise communication may be unnecessary, and in fact, may be impossible, between different agents.

It is tempting to blame this on the ambiguity of words, but the problem is deeper than that. As both neuroscientist themselves and the uses of basic cognitive theory in social sciences and the humanities demonstrate, our brain and the way it interacts with culture and society is amazingly creative and flexible.

Metaphors we think with and live by Today the fields of cognitive studies described by Varela et al. This can partly be explained by the influence of Gerorge Lakoff and Mark Johnson beyond linqustics, but also by cognitive studies of creativity, aesthetic and the arts.

Varela et al. Very neurological representations of the brain and how it works is combined with more experiental dimension of our mind. George Lakoff and Mark Johnsons book Metaphors we live by is a very early and extremely important book, because it turned linguistics and thus central parts of the humanities completely upside down. Taking metaphor away from just poetic language and into the centre of everyday language and ways of thinking, Lakoff and Johnson not just went against traditional linguistics but also against the sharp line between rationality and emotion in Western thought and philosophy.

What the book suggested was that our language and our way of thinking was embodied, and in some of their later writings this notion was further expanded through the discovery of the role of mirror neurons, and the role they play in explaining how language and metaphors were indeed embodied, changed and developed into networks of meaning structures Lakoff, Just as Varela et al. There is no other choice. Thought is physical. Reasoning is the activation of certain neuronal groups in the brain given prior activation of other neuronal groups Lakoff, , p 17 The neurological starting point allows Lakoff to describe more precisely how connectivity via the brain works in our language and way of thinking.

This basically means that metaphors and metaphorical networks are built in our mind in such a way that certain metaphorical connections are stronger than others, although it also means that in our everyday interaction with the world, metaphors are constantly changed, developed or modified. In when Metaphors we live by came out neuroscience and cognitive psychology was not as far advanced as today, where the mapping of the brain and how the embodied mind functions has taken giant leaps.

Here the criticism of traditional objectivist linguistic theories of meaning went even deeper and they formulated a broader, embodied theory of imagination, metaphor and meaning.

Also here the embodied mind theory is crucial. In Philosophy in the Flesh. How Liberals and Conservatives Think he moves into media and political communication. Their study of metaphor and the whole embodied dimension of language and thought again underlines the interaction between our bodily capacities and the sensori-motoric aspects of our embodied mind and the context we act in.

There is therefore a clear link between cognitive linguistics and the basic dimensions in cognitive science as such. In their description of cognition as embodied action Varela et al.

The interaction between world chicken and embodied mind egg is such that the interactions forms a new whole: Cognition depends upon the kinds of experience that come from having a body with sensorimotor capacities, and second that these sensorimotor capacities are themselves embedded in a more encompassing biological, psychological and cultural context … sensory and motor processes, perception and action, are fundamentally inseparable in lived cognition , f.

Cognitive sociology: the perception of self and others In cognitive science the relation between the brain, the body and the social and cultural context is crucial, it is the interaction between the embodied human mind and our everyday experience, which is in focus. This means that our interaction with other humans is crucial, and the way we understand and experience our own self and that of others of equally strong importance.

Such questions are classical questions in philosophy, which have taken new forms in both philosophy and in psychology and sociology under the influence of cognitive science. Psychology and psychoanalysis have, since the days of Freud and Jung, been a varied, scientific field of their own, but have also inspired other areas—especially in the social sciences and humanities. With the vastly increased empirical and clinical data on how the brain and the embodied mind work, the field that used to be social psychology has moved in the direction of a broader field of cognitive sociology—and so has psychology in general.

The two authors of one of the most used textbooks in cognitive sociology Social Cognition , 5th edn, many revised new editions , Susan T. Fiske and Shelley E. Taylor, came out of mainstream American psychology, and the book was written explicitly to counteract the dominance of behaviourism.

The book goes through attribution theory, that is how we ascribe value, meaning and causality to social events, through the important social categories and schemas we use in a top down way to understand both others, ourselves and social actions.

There is a focus on how we perceive our selves and the role of memory and emotions and the forming of attitudes. Compared to traditional psychology cognitive processes play a fundamental role, although the book was written at a time where modern neuroscience and cognitive studies was not as advanced as today. At least that is what Eviatar Zerubavel argues for in his short but interesting book, Social Mindscapes.

An Invitation to Cognitive Sociology.

However, Zerubavel also warns against a too strong and rigid cognitive universalism, and argues for the interaction between what he calls the collective subcultures linked to social and cultural structures, which influence the way we think. In the same way he argues for a stronger focus on also cognitive individualism.

His aim is clearly to link the understanding of the individual cognitive mind and the social cognitive mind with the more universal mind that are common to the whole of mankind. In this sense he continues the trend in cognitive studies to undermine any simple determinism in the understanding of the relation between our universal mind and the social and cultural context this mind of ours is living.

We must be aware of universal commonalities based on how our mind and body function, no matter who we are and where we are. Such studies have in fact already appeared, for instance Nicholas Christakis and James Fowlers fascinating study of social networks, Connected. Based on rich data on how people on social networks connect, they clearly show how technologies in general are built on the same principles as those we know real life and traditional theories and studies of cognitive sociology.

Connections and networks are based on social and cultural proximity and similarities, and very often emotions pay a central role. Our contacts are based on mirror-acts, and the fundamental way we form networks, even in this hi-tech complex world of ours, are deeply structures by rules and mechanisms that have evolved over a long time of genetic evolution.

In their book they exemplify this by studying political networks in several parts of the world.

Emotions and Psychopathology

Looking at for instance the Iranian political blogosphere and the American we find exactly the same structure. The networks on the social media in both countries are similar to social and political networks in real life. We connect and talk to those we are alike and agree with already, so social networks only to a very small degree expand our network to people we do not know or already agree with Christakis and Fowler, , ff Networks, according to Christakis and Fowler, may therefore seem very creative and different from the kinds of networks we have seen before, but in reality they are expansions and variations of rather fundamental, evolutionary mechanisms of social interaction: We deliberately choose to form social connections with specific individuals, with whom we share greater or lesser intimacy and affection, for brief or lengthy periods of time.

And unlike other social species, we have a special capacity to imagine what others are thinking and feeling, including what they are thinking of us.

Our embeddedness in social networks means that we must cooperate with others, judge their intentions, and influence or be influenced by them Christakis and Fowler, , p Blending theory and our creative mind Cognitive science is perhaps often seen as a rather simplifying theory and way of understanding humans and the way humans interact with the world and each other.

However, as we have seen with cognitive linguistics and sociology, the basic cognitive understanding of communication and social encounters is clearly used to develop quite complex and dynamic models of the human mind and human activities. The fundamental call for a combination of a neurological and biological understand of the embodied mind with the human experience in all its dynamic cultural and social experience and diversity we find in Varela et al.

There is a direct link between Varela et al. The basic principle of blending is connected to the theory of neurological metaphorical networks and to schema theory in the sense that blending theory is trying to explain how basic schematic structures make very complex and dynamic variations possible.

As Turner and Fauconnier point out, humans have developed an exceptionally flexible and creative mind and many aspects of the working brain and the embodied mind cut across different activities in our everyday life and work. Minsky said that the biggest source of ideas about the theory came from his work in trying to create a machine that uses a robotic arm, a video camera, and a computer to build with children's blocks.

A core tenet of Minsky's philosophy is that "minds are what brains do". The society of mind theory views the human mind and any other naturally evolved cognitive systems as a vast society of individually simple processes known as agents. These processes are the fundamental thinking entities from which minds are built, and together produce the many abilities we attribute to minds.

The great power in viewing a mind as a society of agents, as opposed to the consequence of some basic principle or some simple formal system , is that different agents can be based on different types of processes with different purposes, ways of representing knowledge, and methods for producing results.

What magical trick makes us intelligent? The trick is that there is no trick.

The power of intelligence stems from our vast diversity, not from any single, perfect principle. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.The fundamental advantage of working with formal methods--the advantage of making falsifiable claims--is that we are forced to address these difficulties, to confront the nasty surprises that lie between speculation and practice.

Some pronomes connect to very restricted types of short-term memories that can store only very specific types of knowledge, for example, places, shapes, or paths. The Mind We are embodied spirits and inspirited bodies, or, if you will, embodied minds and minded bodies. It was this body of experience, more than anything we'd learned about psychology, that led us to many ideas about societies of mind. Taylor, came out of mainstream American psychology, and the book was written explicitly to counteract the dominance of behaviourism.

He acknowledged the problems encountered in attempting to restrict the mind to the brain. In [8], Minsky describes the Society of Mind as follows: The present paper is in part a sequel to my paper Minsky and partly some speculations about the brain that depend on a theory being pursued in collaboration with Seymour Papert.

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