Society of Mind

To explain the mind, we have to show how minds are built from mindless stuff, from parts that are much smaller and simpler than anything we'd consider smart. Marvin Minsky.

The parts make the whole. Many mindless agents make the mind.

Most people still believe that no machine could ever be conscious, or feel ambition, jealousy, humor, or have any other mental life-experience. To be sure, we are still far from being able to create machines that do all the things people do. But this only means that we need better theories about how thinking works. The book will show how the tiny machines that we'll call agents of the mind could be the long sought particles that those theories need. site

Consider what would happen if we actually could confront the trillion-wire networks in our brains. Scientists have peered at tiny fragments of those structures for many years, yet failed to comprehend what they do. Our self consciousness sees things, less as they are, and more in view of how they can be used?

There is one way for a mind to watch itself and still keep track of what's happening. Divide the brain into two parts, A and B. Even though B may have no concept of what A's activities mean in relation to the outer world, it is still possible for B to be useful to A.

Our memories are only indirectly linked to physical time. We have no absolute sense of when a memorable event actually happened. At best, we can only know some temporal relations between it and certain other events.

We'll take the view that nothing can have meaning by itself, but only in relation to whatever other meanings we already know.

Meaning itself is relative to size and scale: it makes sense to talk about a meaning only in a system large enough to have many meanings. For smaller systems, that concept seems vacant and superfluous.

Paradoxically, it is smart to realize that one is confused — as opposed to being confused without knowing it. For that stimulates us to apply our intellect to altering or repairing the defective process. Yet we dislike and disparage the sense of confusion, not appreciating the quality of this recognition.

However, once your B-brains make you start to ask yourself What was I really attempting to do? you can exploit that as an opportunity to change your goals or change how you describe your situation.