Program Control

[From Rick Marken (940615.0900)]

Bob Clark (940614.2205 EDT) --

Your demonstration of controlling programs by simply pressing buttons
was neat!

Thanks :slight_smile:

YOU (not some modelled version of you), pushed a button to select the
program to be displayed.

Yes.

YOU monitored (observed) the perceptions composing the displayed sequence of
numbers.

Yes.

YOU compared these perceptions to the perceptions as YOU imagined them.

I would say that I compared these perceptions to a reference for what I
wanted them to be -- at least, that's what the model says I was doing; I was
only aware of keeping the program (perception) happening. I was not imagining
anything (well, this kind of experiment can get a bit boring so I suppose I
might have been imagining _something_ but it sure wasn't programs;-).

This process could be described as: "a comparison of this [sequence of
numbers]" with a remembered (imagined) preselected [sequence of
numbers].

Yes. Except that in both cases it is neural signals (not actual sequences)
that are compared and the perceptual signal does not represent a particular
sequence; it represents a _program_. So two very different sequences could
still be examples of the same program, which was "if odd then >5 else =< 5".
So both of the following sequences are the "same" at the program level:

1 10; 2 4

8 3; 3 9

If YOU perceive an exact match, zero error, hence no "disturbance,"

If YOU perceive a mismatch, there is an error, YOU perceive a "disturbance,"

You are making "Martin's mistake". What I perceive is the state of the
(program) perception; if that state is not at the intended level then it's
not; but the system controlling the program perception doesn't know why the
perception is not at the intended level; it could be due to the effects of
the disturbing variable but it could also be due to my own output (pushing
the button) or it could be due to _both_ disturbance and output at the same
time. The disturbance (the disturbing variable or it's effect on the
controlled perception) cannot be perceived by the system controlling the
disturbed perception.

YOU appear to have controlled your perception of a sequence of numbers by
"generating a program (sequence of perceptions) of outputs used to push the
button."

Not at all. I have controlled the perception of a _program_ of numbers
by generating outputs that are opposed to a disturbance that changes the
program. There is no program of button press outputs; my outputs, o, simply
mirror the disturbance variable, d, so that o = -d. The relationship between
o and d is not a program (though it could be _described_ as one --ie.
"if o then -d"); but the relationship between o and d is really just a
functional relationship that results from the operation of a negative
feedback perceptual control loop.

How could YOU manage to "push a button" without generating a "program
of [button-pushing] outputs?"

Here is a model of what's going on:

S----> |f| -- > p -->|c|<--r

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽>
<-------------o<-----|

d

S is the sequence of numbers occuring out there on the computer screen. The
sequence goes through a perceptual function, f, (in me) that determines
whether this sequence is consistent with the program "if odd, then >5 else
=< 5". The function f is the crucial part of the model; I imagine that it's
output is binary, being 1 as long as S is consistent with the program and 0
otherwise. So p (the perceptual signal that indicates whether or not the
program is occurring) is either 1 or 0 . The reference signal is set to 1 (if
I want to see the program) or 0. When the program perception, p, doesn't
match the reference signal there is an output -- ie. a button press. The
actual sequence, S, that appears on the screen depends on both the
disturbance and the output. In my experiment both are binary variables; the
distrubance is either 1 or -1 and the output is either 1 (button not pressed)
or -1 (button pressed). The product o x d determines whether or not the
sequence, S, is being generated by the program "if odd, then >5, else =<5" or
not. If o x d = 1 then S is being generated by the program; if o x d = -1
then it is not.

Actual implementation of this model would probably require some integration
of variables in order to achieve the proper dynamics. But it should work --
and when it does work, it will be keeping the perceptual signal equal to the
reference signal (approximately) and it will be doing so by generating
outputs that oppose any changes in the disturbing variable. Behavior (in this
case, the behavior of producing a particular program of numbers on the
screen) is the control of perception.

I have not yet built this model; I thought that it might be difficult to
build the function f that detects programs. But, now that I think about it,
it's probably pretty easy to just cluge it up. So maybe I will build this
just to show how a control system can control a perceptual variable that
happens to represent a complex environmental event -- a program.

Where do you put all this within HPCT?

At the program level. Obviously, if I actually built the simulation I would
not be simulating the lower level perceptual functions that produce the
perceptions that go into the program detection function. So my cluge "program
detection" function, f, would unquestionably NOT be perceiving the occurance
of the program the way people do. But I think that would be fine; our line
control models don't perceive line position the way people actually do it
either.

And how do YOU account for YOUR independence?

God just made me that way :wink:

Best

Rick

[From Rick Marken (980726.1110)]

Bruce Gregory (980725.0836 EDT)

It appears that when you adopt a Plan, the level that activated
the plan no longer experiences the error that it did before the
Plan was adopted, even though perception that the upper level
goal has been reached may be many years away.

Yes. I'm a list-maker myself and I find that making these kinds
of Plans can be very stress-reducing. But I don't think that making
these kinds of Plans is an example of actually controlling a
program perception. I think what I am doing when I make these
Plans is controlling an _imagined_ perception of a program: first
I'll pay all the bills, then I'll work on project X at work and
then I'll solve world hunger. Doing this gives me the sense that
I are working to achieve whatever higher level goal (like "living
a satisfying life") that I am trying to achieve by adopting the
Plan. But I know that when I actually get down to trying to control
for the Plan (program), things are not as they were when I made
the Plan; I might carry out the "paying bills" program and then
find that project X has been temporarily shelved and sex scandals
replaced world hunger as the most immediate policial concern.

My point is that "adopting a Plan" is probably an imagination
phenomenon. Controlling a program is a very different phenomenon;
it is the real-time process of controlling a program perception
(like the recipe for apple pie or the process of solving a
differential equation).

This seems to me at least a very good reason for paying attention
to the program level, as MGP do.

I think it's important to pay attention to the program level because
people _do_ seem to control program perceptions. I think MGP did
pay attention to the program level of their _own_ perceptions;
they saw _all_ behavior as a process of carrying out a particular
program -- TOTE. What they didn't see was that the people they were
observing were controlling _program perceptions_. This is some-
thing they could not possibly have seen because they did not have
PCT. In order to determine whether or not a person is controlling
a program perception it is necessary to _test_ to determine whether
a program is _under control_. This is basically what I did in my
prgram control study; I tested (by introducing disturbances) to
determine whether a person would act to maintain the perception
of a particular program.

It's necessary to test for program control because it can _look
like_ a person is controlling for a particular program when they
are _not_. For example, a person might be controlling for seeing
the sequence 3,7,6,2. This sequence is consistent with the
program:

if N>5 then N = Even else N = Odd

so an observer could (incorrectly) conclude that this person
is controlling this program, In fact, the person is only
controlling for the sequence 3,7,6,2, a fact that would become
obvious when the observer disturbs the sequence and have 1 follow
2; the number 1 at that point is consistent with the program but
a violation of the sequence. Since the person is controlling the
sequence he will try to correct the "error"; if he were controlling
the progran there would be no error.

By the way, I thought of a conventional research study that
seems to demonstrate control of program perception; it is the
study of "problem solving set" (I forget the name of the person
who did it). He had people learn to solve water jar problems.
First, he had people solve an initial set of problems that could
all be solved by the same _algorithm_ (program): for example,
the algorithm might be "fill jar A, remove jar C amount from
jar A, fill jar B and add to jar A". Once people had learned to
solve the problem using this algorithm (the capacities of jars
A, B and C were always different during the learning trials)
they was very reluctant to give it up (this was called problem
solving set). What people seem to have been "set" on in this study
was perceiving a particular _program_ -- the algorithm that
solved the initial set of problems.

Best

Rick

路路路

---

Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates e-mail: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken/

[From Bruce Gregory ((80726.1607 EDT)]

Rick Marken (980726.1110)]

My point is that "adopting a Plan" is probably an imagination
phenomenon. Controlling a program is a very different phenomenon;
it is the real-time process of controlling a program perception
(like the recipe for apple pie or the process of solving a
differential equation).

Yes, I think that's an important distinction. In the example I gave a while
back about pedaling your bike into the village to get milk, I originally
thought of the perception "no-milk" error signal as driving the cycling
motion. I now suspect that the cycling is being driven by a program called
"getting more milk". If the cycling stopped, the perception "I am getting
milk" would experience a significant error. Cycling keeps this error from
increasing. Somehow the error associated with "no milk" is not intrusive
once control shifts to the "I am getting milk" program.

> This seems to me at least a very good reason for paying attention
> to the program level, as MGP do.

I think it's important to pay attention to the program level because
people _do_ seem to control program perceptions. I think MGP did
pay attention to the program level of their _own_ perceptions;
they saw _all_ behavior as a process of carrying out a particular
program -- TOTE. What they didn't see was that the people they were
observing were controlling _program perceptions_. This is some-
thing they could not possibly have seen because they did not have
PCT.

Yes, they clearly lacked this fundamental insight.

In order to determine whether or not a person is controlling
a program perception it is necessary to _test_ to determine whether
a program is _under control_.

Yes, but presumably the person knows if he or she is controlling a program,
even if we don't.

By the way, I thought of a conventional research study that
seems to demonstrate control of program perception; it is the
study of "problem solving set" (I forget the name of the person
who did it). He had people learn to solve water jar problems.
First, he had people solve an initial set of problems that could
all be solved by the same _algorithm_ (program): for example,
the algorithm might be "fill jar A, remove jar C amount from
jar A, fill jar B and add to jar A". Once people had learned to
solve the problem using this algorithm (the capacities of jars
A, B and C were always different during the learning trials)
they was very reluctant to give it up (this was called problem
solving set). What people seem to have been "set" on in this study
was perceiving a particular _program_ -- the algorithm that
solved the initial set of problems.

Thanks for the example.

Bruce Gregory

[From Bill Powers (980727.0536 MDT)]

Rick Marken (980726.1110) --

Nice discussion of Plans. Another thing that MGP didn't understand is that
plans consist of a series of perceptions to be achieved, not a series of
actions to be generated in the hopes that they will produce the wanted
results. There is no way to predict what actions you will generate when the
time comes actually to carry out a plan.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bruce Gregory (980727.0935 EDT)]

Bill Powers (980727.0536 MDT)

Rick Marken (980726.1110) --

Nice discussion of Plans. Another thing that MGP didn't understand is that
plans consist of a series of perceptions to be achieved, not a series of
actions to be generated in the hopes that they will produce the wanted
results. There is no way to predict what actions you will
generate when the
time comes actually to carry out a plan.

This is certainly true, but should not detract from the importance of
control at the program level. Most of our actions seem to be the result of
control exercised at the program level of perception.

Bruce Gregory

[From Bill Powers (980727.1027 MDT)]

Bruce Gregory (980727.0935 EDT)--

This is certainly true, but should not detract from the importance of
control at the program level. Most of our actions seem to be the result of
control exercised at the program level of perception.

I hope so, since that's the basis of HPCT. Also, all actions organized by
the program level are also organized by the principle and system concept
levels, since they are hierarchically above the program level and account
for the choice of programs to be run.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bruce Gregory (980727.1355 EDT)]

Bill Powers (980727.1027 MDT)

Bruce Gregory (980727.0935 EDT)--

>This is certainly true, but should not detract from the importance of
>control at the program level. Most of our actions seem to be the
result of
>control exercised at the program level of perception.

I hope so, since that's the basis of HPCT. Also, all actions organized by
the program level are also organized by the principle and system concept
levels, since they are hierarchically above the program level and account
for the choice of programs to be run.

Indeed. My concern is that we sometimes seem to forget about these higher
level and concentrate on a controlled variable without paying attention to
the higher levels that account for the fact that this particular perception
is being controlled. The speeding motorist may be motivated by a variety of
principles. The TEST may show that she is intentionally speeding without
giving us a clue as to why. To understand why, we have to conduct the TEST
on still higher level perceptions. Some exchanges on CSGnet suggest that it
is easy to lose sight of this fact.

Bruce Gregory

[From Chris Cherpas (980727.1200 PT)]

Bill Powers (980727.1027 MDT)--

...all actions organized by the program level
are also organized by the principle and system
concept levels, since they are hierarchically
above the program level and account for the
choice of programs to be run.

Bruce Gregory (980727.1355 EDT)--

Indeed. My concern is that we sometimes seem to
forget about these higher level(s)...

Designing educational programs, which explicitly
aim towards developing control systems above
the program level, seems very difficult when
it gets down to specifying the details, including
designing relatively optimal sequencing of
educational experiences.

Who hasn't heard of the confusions in math education
wherein students can perform algorithmically, but
don't seem to automatically be able to choose
the correct programs? Typically, the education of
these higher levels amounts to 1) sink-or-swim problems
that overwhelm the student, and 2) overly-guided
problems which can be solved without any new
or improved principles or system concepts. I haven't
seen anything that advances beyond, or greatly builds
in detail upon, Polya's heuristics. In the best
efforts to date, it seems the spirit is willing,
but the science is weak.

Regards,
cc

[From Rick Marken (980727.2110)]

Bill Powers (980727.0536 MDT) --

Another thing that MGP didn't understand is that plans consist
of a series of perceptions to be achieved, not a series of
actions to be generated in the hopes that they will produce
the wanted results. There is no way to predict what actions
you will generate when the time comes actually to carry out a plan.

Bruce Gregory (980727.0935 EDT)--

This is certainly true, but should not detract from the
importance of control at the program level.

I don't see how what Bill said could be construed as in any way
detracting from the importance of program control. In fact, before
PCT (and my little unpublished experiments) no one even knew that
program control _existed_. They knew that people carry out what
can be seen as programs of action but they had no idea that people
_controlled_ for program perceptions. So rather than detracting
from the importance of program control. Bill's discussion of
program control (above and in B:CP) is, to my knowledge, the
first recognition of the _fact_ of "control at the program level".

Most of our actions seem to be the result of control exercised
at the program level of perception.

Yes. That is the illusion that MGP fell for; actions seem to be
the result of program control if this is the level of your
_own_ perceptions of the behavior to which you attend. You can
even see a program of actions when a person controls a cursor;

if cursor moves left then move hand right
if cursor moves right then move hand left

Of course, this apparent program of action exists as a perception
in the observer; it is not controlled by the person controlling
the cursor. And, as I'm sure you know, when people do control a
program perception, the program that is controlled is a program
of lower level _perceptions_, not actions.

Bruce Gregory (980727.1355 EDT) --

My concern is that we sometimes seem to forget about these
higher level and concentrate on a controlled variable without
paying attention to the higher levels that account for the
fact that this particular perception is being controlled...Some
exchanges on CSGnet suggest that it is easy to lose sight of
this fact.

Could you give an example of what you mean. Are you suggesting
that there is something wrong with some exchanges on CSGNet
because the participants in those exchanges lose sight of the
fact that perceptions at one level are controlled as a means
of achieving higher level goals? Could you explain this?

Best

Rick

路路路

--
Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates e-mail: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken/

[From Bruce Gregory (980728.0635 EDT)]

Rick Marken (980727.2110)

Bill Powers (980727.0536 MDT) --

> Another thing that MGP didn't understand is that plans consist
> of a series of perceptions to be achieved, not a series of
> actions to be generated in the hopes that they will produce
> the wanted results. There is no way to predict what actions
> you will generate when the time comes actually to carry out a plan.

Bruce Gregory (980727.0935 EDT)--

> This is certainly true, but should not detract from the
> importance of control at the program level.

I don't see how what Bill said could be construed as in any way
detracting from the importance of program control. In fact, before
PCT (and my little unpublished experiments) no one even knew that
program control _existed_. They knew that people carry out what
can be seen as programs of action but they had no idea that people
_controlled_ for program perceptions. So rather than detracting
from the importance of program control. Bill's discussion of
program control (above and in B:CP) is, to my knowledge, the
first recognition of the _fact_ of "control at the program level".

Point taken.

> Most of our actions seem to be the result of control exercised
> at the program level of perception.

Yes. That is the illusion that MGP fell for; actions seem to be
the result of program control if this is the level of your
_own_ perceptions of the behavior to which you attend.

Are you speaking metaphorically? If I am watching you control a cursor I am
not sure how I can perceive you at the level of program control. Is this
different from saying that I interpret your actions as if you were following
a program? It is also unclear to me why the fact that I am controlling at
the program level should necessarily lead me to interpret your actions as
demonstrating control at the program level.

You can
even see a program of actions when a person controls a cursor;

if cursor moves left then move hand right
if cursor moves right then move hand left

Of course, this apparent program of action exists as a perception
in the observer; it is not controlled by the person controlling
the cursor.

Unless, of course, the person _is_ controlling the cursor via such a
program. This would have to be determined by using the TEST. (This is not to
say that actions are being controlled, but rather that perceptions of
actions might be controlled by such a program.)

And, as I'm sure you know, when people do control a
program perception, the program that is controlled is a program
of lower level _perceptions_, not actions.

Yes, indeed, that does sound familiar.

Bruce Gregory (980727.1355 EDT) --

> My concern is that we sometimes seem to forget about these
> higher level and concentrate on a controlled variable without
> paying attention to the higher levels that account for the
> fact that this particular perception is being controlled...Some
> exchanges on CSGnet suggest that it is easy to lose sight of
> this fact.

Could you give an example of what you mean. Are you suggesting
that there is something wrong with some exchanges on CSGNet
because the participants in those exchanges lose sight of the
fact that perceptions at one level are controlled as a means
of achieving higher level goals? Could you explain this?

In my view, much of the exchange about coercion and RTP focussed on control
at one level (the disrupting child will leave the classroom) and ignored the
possibility that the teacher was controlling at the program level on the
basis of a perception at the principle level that the child, with support,
can work out his problems and return to the classroom. Or at least, I never
saw any mention of possible higher level perceptions.

Bruce Gregory