Wednesday, 17 November 2010


In darkness my vice
Is a simple device
It's almost alive
To the way I contrive
The life is profuse
But too easy to lose
I wish I don't die
When It calls itself I

Monday, 1 November 2010

Unfree Will Paradox

Hello. I am a machine, robot. My Master is doing an experiment with me. They ask me to choose between two doors A and B. Death awaits me behind one of the doors. And I do not want to choose that one. The difficult part is that the master made a clone of me previously and did this experiment with my clone. Now Master put Death behind the door my clone have had chosen. So if my clone chose the door A, then Death is behind the door A. I cannot use any environment information to make my decision, only my internal reasoning – that is part of the experiment.

Had the clone not been told that he also had a clone, he would have chosen the door A; then I have to choose B. But if the clone had been told that he had been cloned as well and the clone of the clone did not known about being cloned, then my clone’s selection must be B and my selection have to be A. This means that my selection must depend on the depth of knowing which of the clone’s clone did not know about being cloned - whether it is odd or even.

The real problem is that my clone got exactly the same information as myself. Whatever I choose, that must be the same as the selection of my clone. So the Death will be behind the door I will choose. Whatever door I choose! I cannot deceive myself and choose the other, because any my reasoning had already been simulated.

Laws of Nature

The laws of Nature are simple, but too weird to discover.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

New York Game, Alien Test, and Pain - Random

New York Game
The brain makes mistakes. Mistakes are not a deficiency of the brain work, but its quality. They reveal a little bit how the brain works. This is not a game, rather a trick we did to each other when being kids. One asks another to constantly repeat the word “New York” and then answer a question as quickly as possible when suddenly asked. The question was what the capital of the USA is. We all new that the capital of the USA is Washington, but not perfectly – you had to have a second to think (we lived in SU and were kids!). The answer was “New York”. But when told it is not correct, one who answered was really surprised that he made a mistake to such a simple question.
The same mechanism of the mistakes exposed when you make a mistake when typing. Very often (at least to me) one types a letter of the word following the currently typing. This is because the task of pressing keys is interfered with highly active predictions of the next word.

Alien Test
When you see an alien how would you know that it is intelligent? What is the simplest communication which lets you know that the other side can think? I could not find any simpler way than the following. Present to it a sequence of 5 symbols (spatially or temporally) where the first and the second symbols are the same, and the third and the forth symbols are the same too, and the fifth is different, for example, AABBC. If the reply is the repetition of the fifth symbol, then (assuming a counter test that it is not just a repetition of the last symbol) the replying entity is able to process abstract patterns, which is a necessary condition. Processing abstract patterns may well be necessary and sufficient condition for a living intelligent alien, but probably not sufficient for an artificial intelligence. Because it is easy to write a computer program to pass this test which cannot be called intelligent.

Do you feel the pain? When you feel the pain what do you feel about feeling the pain? An interesting question arises if one thinks about the pain as a memory. If someone undergoes an operation under anaesthetics and does not remember feeling any pain during the operation, does it matter if the person felt the pain but forgot about it or did not feel the pain at all? What if we are unable to distinguish between these two? Now change the time of pain erasing from the memory from zero to infinity. The fact that the person felt the pain is true as along as he remembers it. But when the memory is erased the pain has not happened anymore.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Maps Offline with Tile Viewer (part II)

See Update Fuck Google Maps Offline III

Offline Maps Tile Viewer is a program I created quickly to use my netbook for viewing google maps without a network connection. I found frustrating not to be able to have full control over the cached images using web browser or google earth. Other different offline map viewers did not satisfy me.

My requirements were simple: there are a number of square (or rectangular) images which can be tiled together to construct a huge image; a viewer must have a viewing area moving around over this huge image; images can have different layers (as satellite, maps, topo etc) and different scales better or worse resolution; it should be possible to geographically reference them, i.e. have latitude/longitude coordinates associated with a position on the image. Cross referencing is necessary to switch between different resolution scales - hence geo-referencing is a natural way for that. Also images should not have some strict predefined format or organization, it is just a collection of small images named and grouped in directories in a particular way.

Download here.

It might not be very easy to start with it, but once you understand how it works, it gives you full flexibility of what is required from a simple map browsing program. You can even add GPS dongle and bind the viewer with the position obtained from GPS.

One of the delicate problems is maps itself. It is very easy to download automatically (more on this here)
from google maps; but it is not very polite, and distributing is not too.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Pyramidal intelligence

Consciousness is an intelligence phenomenon. The intelligence is based on three interconnected functions: language, abstract thinking, and self-awareness. Those three are just internal mechanisms which have their own place in neural processing. In this sense consciousness and self-awareness are two distinct concepts, which some confuse. Self-awareness is a placement of self into the internal model of the world, but consciousness is kind of side effect of intelligence. Consciousness is responsible for conscious behaviour and decisions which is pertained only to intelligent entity. Unintelligent robot or animal cannot make conscious decision although it can possess self-awareness.

"Saccade hypothesis" is an important detail when modelling information processing. In this processing predictions are models of the environment. Predictions are hardwired to the higher order motor levels bringing the environment into the loop of the information circle. So "saccades" and behaviour allow to keep the current model activated, inhibiting all potential concurrent models. One noticeable effect of this is when you stare for a while at a wall you can see come patterns or pictures, but once you move your eyes the images disappear.

If the prediction is wired to behaviour, then 'free will' is automatically shifted into prediction area. In other words we chose what to do next by thinking what happens next. That makes sense because we do whatever we think we will be doing. A thought of moving arm moves the arm. But a thought of it is a prediction of the current active model. That is how micromovements manifest suppressed actual movements.

In this view conscious behaviour of people and behaviour of animals are based on the same principle, and the processing of information is exactly the same. This is why our brains have the same structure. The difference is only at the level of abstraction in the model of the environment. A human brain can consume or process more abstract models (even the models created by itself) due to sufficient cortical capacity.

Friday, 7 May 2010


There is an unclear area in the term multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is promoted as a beneficial feature for a society. What people often miss is its application to a community. Community is a number of interacting individuals. And the community has to be multicultural, not a society composed of multicultural communities. If this is not understood clearly enough, it appears to be a big dilemma by the promoters of multiculturalism.

In other words I would like to live with my neighbours being from different cultural backgrounds assuming that our neighbourhood is a community. But I do not want to live in society broken by different communities on cultural basis.

Electrons and Qualia

One of the conclusions from my previous post is that no idea or concept inside a human mind can be expressed in one hundred percent precision. Language is a mechanism for putting thoughts into sentences. A sentence is only a projection of a thought; in the same way as two dimensional images in our retina are projections of three dimensional objects. But the brain does not usually have problems to reconstruct the real objects. This provokes a question: what is a real object? Take, for example, an electron. We can distinguish one electron from another, because they may occupy different parts of space. However there is no way to distinguish them if you exchange their positions. That means that the electron is really the same at this place and at another place. Now, is it really two different electrons, or just one, the same electron appearing to us at two different places? There is no answer to this question. You can only believe in one or the other way. If it is the same electron at different places, then in our perception it is equivalent to a pattern. Suppose you look at a sequence of numbers, and you notice a particular pattern in that sequence. Does the pattern really exists or is it your brain that creates that concept? As far as you can differentiate something (electron, pattern) from something another, this is a real concept which can verbally be transferred using language. But this concept can be expressed only as a difference, not the concept itself. It is the same as you are not able to explain what red colour is, but you can show and confirm with others that you can differentiate red and green colours. So if you loose, for some reason ability to differentiate positions (plus maybe some other quantum states such as momentum and spin) of electrons, then a particular electron would become a quale - a not expressible concept like red colour! Then if electron, the basic element of the material world, can be a quale, what is the material world? Qualia?

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Space, Information, and Consciousness

Correlations in space are objects.
Objects exist in time.
Correlations in time is memory.
Memory exists as information.
Correlations in information are abstractions.
Abstractions are expressed in language.
Correlations in language are concepts.
Concepts exist in minds.
Correlations in minds is consciousness.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Faces of consciousness and free will

1. Self-awareness is contemplating self inside the model of the world. It is like you watching a chess board with all the pieces moving by themselves except one piece which moves at your will. This builds strong association between the perceived object and self. This piece you call 'I'. 2. Conscious behaviour is a prediction of the future of the world model with implications of the potential action of 'I'. You may drive a car unconsciously. But when a policeman stops you, you immediately become aware of all possible future scenarios of the current situation. Hence what you are about to do is a conscious decision. 3. Conscience is the ethical judgement of personal actions and thoughts. It is not only a perception of the facts, but also colouring them and placing on the scale of desirable and undesirable. Conscience is not really consciousness since it serves for establishing moral dogmata in relation to the behaviour. 4. Free will phenomenon appears on two levels. On micro-scale, actual movements and other muscle control is the result of a mental decision made by brain. A free will sense on this level comes from self-awareness. On macro-scale, deeds or life decisions are the result of conditional beliefs and circumstances. The beliefs or truths are a remembered result of combining the information coming from outside and internal emotional state and feelings. The truths are formed inside during the life and they condition our behaviour.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

On consciousness

What is the difference between conscious and unconscious action? Unconscious action is autonomous. It is executed according to a set of rules, although the action may be quite complex. Conscious action has a context – the environment, in which it takes place. Conscious action happens only after modelling of consequences. It implies perception of the implications in advance.

Unconscious actions are not remembered, but conscious are. Why? Because the brain cannot predict the result of the modelling: it can predict environment, but it cannot predict its own imagination. So unpredicted experience is recognized as valuable and remembered.

Why do I have only one consciousness in my head? Can I develop two and allow them to communicate? Indeed, if a part of cortex can model, predict, and imagine the environment why it cannot develop its own conscious behaviour? Or maybe we have multiple conscious agents in our head, but they so aligned with each other that they are not distinguishable. Have you ever heard voices in your head?

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

What is Intelligence

you understand something only if you can program it (Chaitin)

Intelligence is Abstract thinking plus Language plus Consciousness. Although all three are not independent, they can be understood in simple definitions.

Abstract thinking is thinking in terms and concepts produced by mind, not sensors. The world mind perceives mostly consists of introspective data.

Language is an agreement between communicating parties. Language serves as a port between the mind and the world.

Consciousness is perception of the abstract representation of self in the world.

The world is the model which the mind builds and holds to predict its future state.

Self is the object in the world the mind has control on. Self does not have well defined boundaries, for example, a governor may associate himself with a state.

Knowledge requires memory. Knowledge transfer requires language. Language is a simpler concept because it can be seen as a collection of symbols or rules. Knowledge is more complex because it is bound to language and behaviour. Any attempt to define knowledge immediately brings up a language. For example, storing any meaningful data requires some format, which is a language. But when we talk about knowledge, language is not necessary. For example, an ant knows where to crawl and does not need a language.

To a simple question "What is memory?" the dictionary answers "The ability to recover information about past events or knowledge" or "a part of a computer in which information is stored". But then what means "information"? What means "information stored"? Is it just a cause forwarded in time to make something behave different?

Friday, 1 January 2010

How to browse Google Maps offline

(See also Crumbles: Maps Offline with Tile Viewer (part II), update Oct 2010)

Once I had a problem that I required my laptop to browse Google maps offline. I looked on the Internet but with no satisfying result. A simple task turned out to be quite complex.

My idea was to have abstract and reliable way to cache and reuse the online content - tiled images. Here what I tried first.

1. I wrote a crawler - a javascript program to force the browser crawl across a particular area. The input specifies latitude and longitude box and steps, zoom level, crawling speed, and satellite or map type.
2. I made my own web server to be used browser instead of going directly to the Internet. I set up 2 machines (one could be virtual). Edit 'hosts' file on the machine A with the list of servers I would like to make cache pointing to the IP address of machine B.
3. Machine B has to accept requests and re-request files from the Internet or retrieve from its cache. I wrote a simple program to do this task.
4. The program running on the machine B did not directly request the data from the Internet. Instead it used wget program. It was a simpler solution since wget allows more advanced way of downloading, e.g. using proxy.
5. Once the cache is full and ready the service program could be run on the machine A with no Internet.

This approach did not work quite well. First complication was that the browser opens simultaneously many connections and my server was one threaded and was not fast enough to serve all of them in timely manner. To overcome this problem I wrote a serialiser - a program getting many connections simultaneously, but requesting only one at a time while keeping others on hold. This worked somehow, but slowly - not to my satisfaction.

Finally I thought that I will download automatically tile images from Google using wget and later worry about viewing them. To my surprise after downloading tiles for about half an hour, I start getting response from the Google servers with the message something like "We are sorry but you are trying automatic downloading. To protect our customers we have to block your IP."

An even simpler solution had been required. I noticed that Microsoft Internet Explorer saves files in its cache directory with proper sub-address names. I wrote a simple program to rip the files from the cache recoding their names. Using Internet Explorer I navigated IE over desired area, and then ran the program and all necessary tiles were successfully stored at my place with proper cataloguing.

The last step was to cook a program (since I was not able to find appropriate application) to view the tiled images which I did very quickly and a bit dirty.

Here are the tile ripper and tile viewer for Windows

I used this program when driving along Eastern Coast. The maps itself were on maximal resolution level 15 and occupied around 500Mb.