Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Relationship between sentience and knowledge

Although my primary interest is in representation of knowledge, it makes sense to focus attention on how knowledge is generated and used by sentient entities, whether they are real people or artificial sentient entities such as robots and software agents.

I propose a fairly simple model of the structure of a sentient entity in terms of functional capabilities that somehow relate to consumption and production of data, information, knowledge, or wisdom:

  • Sense, observe, measure entities (both sentient and non-sentient) and phenomena in the environment
  • Feel, sense (at a higher level, processing what was sensed at the raw sensory level), react - emotions, instinctive processes
  • Remember and recall
  • Think - perceive, analyze, conceive, speculate, contemplate, believe, desire, intend, plan, decide, control
  • Express feelings, emotions, reactions (relatively unidirectional)
  • Communicate mental state, record information
  • Act, behave
  • Interact with other sentient entities in relatively intense conversational mode
  • Intuit
  • Read minds [Really? Well, at least conceptually.]

Data, information, and knowledge flow into each of these functional capabilities either from the environment or other functional capabilities, is processed to some degree and some new form of data, information, or knowledge is generated and made available to other functional capabilities or the environment.

The representation of data, information, and knowledge within any of these functional capabilities may or may not be comparable or synchronized with external representations of that data, information, and knowledge in a Semantic Web or Knowledge Web. There may be some boundary lines delineating internal versus external flows or availability of any or all of the data, information, and knowledge.

Note: I am not sure how the information from a neurological brain scan fits into this model. Maybe it is simply an indistinct composite or a composition of neurological state information. Conceptually, the same issue can occur with an artificial sentient entity, by examining raw data in state variables (e.g., a raw memory dump). Whether this might have some utility is unknown, but it could have some analogy to a signature such as is done with a computer virus scan.

One could also view the DNA of a sentient entity, or the code of an artificial sentient entity as data, information, and knowledge as well.

Ditto for the biography or history of the sentient entity as well.

-- Jack Krupansky


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