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A Postulate of Mind

A mind is a system of thinking, analyzing and predicting. Simple organisms have simple minds that react to their environment in simple ways. Mostly, it involves a process of observation and some form of copying or replicating. A simple trial and error program might respond to a stimulus by either moving toward it or away from it. If the organism survives the resulting experience, it lives to repeat (copy) the behavior, encode it and pass it on (replicate) genetically to offspring, and if it does not survive the experience, the response pattern is lost.

This is a primitive way of learning. It involves some form of observation, or way of sensing stimulus. It involves the ability to abstract the stimulus or separate it from other input, the ability to abstract the response from other functions and the ability to link the two abstractions together.

At a higher level of intelligence, some animals can observe another solving a problem, and then apply that learning themselves to solve the same problem with fewer attempts. The next step beyond this is when the observer can abstract patterns from the learned behavior and adapt the learning to apply it to different circumstances. This kind of thinking is based on comparison of similarities in abstracted patterns and circumstances.

At human levels of intelligence, the observer can modify the abstracted pattern and add in negative distinctions in addition to similarities. The negative comes from observing differences in the abstractions and can be used as a filter by NOT applying a learning pattern in certain circumstances or NOT using part of an abstraction.

By using both similarities and differences, the observer can abstract the concept of point of view and note the effect of changing point of view on abstraction. At an advanced level, this becomes an ability to “invert” perspective or turn the abstraction inside out or backwards or transform it in many ways.

With all these tools in place, it becomes possible to accurately predict (through both extrapolation and interpolation) trends and future possibilities. The ability to predict futures is at the core of ethical analysis and moral behavior.

The ability to synthesize new abstract patterns and apply them to new circumstances and in new ways depends upon the previous elements. A mind system capable of operating consistently at a high level of intelligence must have these core elements.

The core reasoning functions of a mind system are:

  • Observe (input data and collect it)
  • Abstract (separate pieces and patterns)
  • Replicate (copy and mass produce)
  • Modify (filter, negate, transform)
  • Extrapolate (and interpolate)
  • Synthesize (create new stuff)