The DME and control of output

<Martin Taylor 940204 18:30>

Bob Clark (9401202.1540 EST)

And, if I look at what _you_ are doing, Bill, it seems to me that
"you" are "choosing" and "selecting" "your" own lower level goals
exactly the same way that you describe in your post.

Also, if _I_ look at what "I" am doing, it seems to me that "I" am
also "choosing" and "selecting" "my" own lower level goals exactly
the same way.

These sound very close to statements that it is output that is controlled,
rather than input. Is that what you mean?

In order to "choose" or "select" it is necessary to have alternatives
available and to be capable of perceiving them. The existence of
such alternatives is independent of current sensory signals. They
are examined in the process of selecting goals for use in operation
of the hierarchy. Such examination can include "anticipation" of
possible results, based on previous experience -- memories.

In the "classic" hierarchy, this sounds a lot like the program level
operation in imagination. Are you saying something different? Is your
DME actually one of possibly many program level control systems?

Decision-making is not well treated in most discussions of PCT. People
DO make plans and prepare alternate courses of action, or "fall-back
positions." I have assumed that this is done by imagination loops in
program-level ECSs, but even so, the end point does seem a lot like
control of output rather than of input. One chooses the way to produce
a desired perception, which is to say that one chooses which lower-level
control systems to provide with what reference values. Nowhere else in
the classic hierarchy (so far as I understand it) is there any facility
for altering the output connections of an ECS to lower levels (other than
through reorganization).

It seems to me that no matter how you slice it, making decisions has to
involve a perception that incorporates the construct of a conditional--
an IF-THEN construction. That is part of the program level (and only
the program level?) in the classic hierarchy. It has to be part of the
DME as well.

Last year, if I remember correctly, you placed the DME alongside the
main hierarchy so that it could act at all hierarchic levels. That idea
parallels my notion that a symbolic-logical hierarchy parallels the
"classic" analogue hierarchy rather than being "above" the analogue
hierarchy as it is in the classic set of levels. In both structures, the
link between the analogue and the symbolic parts is an interface ("level"
in the classic structure) consisting of category perceptions, which (in
my version, anyway) are induced by a process I have described as "contrast."

It seems that the contrast process has to be involved where there are mutually
exclusive choices to be made. That is, again, an output phenomenon. There
is, so far as I can see, no requirement for category perception in which
"this is an A" contrasts with "this is a B" unless the world behaviour is
such that a distinctly different action is likely to succeed in controlling
some related perception under the two conditions. A perceptual contrast
then is likely to be associated with a choice of action, where intermediate
actions are useful in neither case.

Decision. Control of output. Choices. The "I" (who is that, in a case
of multiple personality?). The DME. Program-level perceptual control.
All difficult issues. I do not like to contemplate the possibility
of control of output, and I'd like to be shown how the DME and/or the
program-level control of perception do not involve it.

Martin