Robot Dreams

Ray Scanlon rscanlon at wsg.net
Mon Sep 11 08:29:39 EST 2000


"George Bajszar" <gyuri at usa.net> wrote in message
news:8ph986$mts$1 at nnrp1.deja.com...
> In article <8pg9rm$k68$1 at nnrp1.deja.com>,
>   mentifex at scn.org wrote:
> > For a robot to have a dream, its AI mind software must shut down the
> > input sensorium of strong sensations coming in from the outside world
> > or from a virtual world.  In humans, the same process is known as
> > falling asleep.

There is confusion here between two processes. The thalamic reticular
nucleus (TRN) interrupts the flow of sensory input to the forebrain. This
interruption is followed by a period of "association". If momentary, it
passes without notice as part of what might be called the simplest type of
thinking (taking a slightly longer step to avoid a puddle}. If initiated by
a (possibly) life threatening event, it is called the startle reflex. If
prolonged during the awake period, it is called day dreaming. During sleep,
it is called dreaming.

The foraging strategy that is encoded in the DNA molecule results in all
mammals (including humans) having alternating periods of  "asleep" and
"awake". Operating a mammalian body is very expensive in energy. To survive,
a mammal must conserve energy by "sleeping" during periods when the energy
expended to eat exceeds the energy in the food. Also during periods when it
is more likely to be eaten than to eat.

A foraging strategy has the sole purpose of balancing the energy equation.
All the lovely things dreamed up in the philosophy department are
frivolities.

A robot would dream (associate) exactly as a mammal does if it were
constructed to do it.

> There are reasons people sleep. We know if we don't get enough sleep,
> our short and long term memory is stronly affected, so it is a natural
> conclusion to think that a cleanup or reorganization of our memory is
> occurring during sleep, more particularly the dreaming process is
> strongly associated to memory. For an AI system such cleanup could be
> setup daily, or simultaneously while it is awake.

We (as humans) sleep in response to a history when we were not nearly so
high on the food chain as we are today.

When the surachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus (the primary circadian
pacemaker) tells us to sleep, we sleep. All the rest are philosophical
daydreams.

--
ray

Those interested in the brain might look at
www.wsg.net/~rscanlon/brain.htm








More information about the Neur-sci mailing list