Thought Process

As illustrated by the swirling red arrow in Fig. 6.3, and now summarized using Fig. 6.4, the sentence continuation thought process involves a cyclic "tightening" of ongoing, parallel, unlocked phrase (P4, P5, P6, and P7) and word (W4, W5, W6, and W7) module confabulations until, progressively in temporal order, each phrase module confabulation converges to a single conclusion (which o o •

O P5

O P6

o P4

O P5

O P6

Fig. 6.4. Multiconfabulation; explanation for the power and speed of thought. Here, the four confabulating phrase modules are illustrated (with details simplified). Before beginning a multiconfabulation, available external context can be used to restrict subsequent processing to not-unacceptable sets of viable symbols (red-filled circles in A). Multiconfabulation then invokes knowledge links from each viable symbol to symbols of the other modules involved in the multiconfabulation. A small subset of the links from only one viable symbol on P5 to symbols on other modules is illustrated in A (each viable symbol, of which each module frequently has thousands, often has links to hundreds of symbols on each other module). These knowledge links are shown in colored groups to illustrate that the set of all links from one module to a second module form a knowledge base. Each knowledge base is independently deliberately enabled, and often employed multiple times, during a multiconfabulation. In the beginning stages of a typical multiconfabulation (A), millions of these relevant knowledge links (meaning that each such knowledge link emanates from a viable symbol on one of the modules) are often being employed. As the multiconfabulation progresses (B), module P4 converges to a conclusion (black symbol) first, which then automatically deactivates all knowledge links from all other P4 symbols. This significantly restricts, and reorders, the other modules' remaining sets of viable conclusions (expectations). Eventually, only one symbol on each of W4, W5, W6, and W7 (see Fig. 6.3 and text) remains: the confabulation consensus, which, in these experiments, is the sentence continuation jointly constitute the confabulation consensus). At the beginning of this process, billions of feasible permutations of four phrases in sequence are being considered in parallel. At the end, only one of these remains. After all phrase module confabulations have converged, the four consensus conclusions (the continuation) are read out from word modules W4, W5, W6, and W7. Sample continuations are shown in Fig. 6.2.

The sentence continuation thought process implemented in these experiments is a discrete-time approximation to the continuous-time process that confabulation theory hypothesizes takes place in human cortex and thalamus. First, context is applied via knowledge links brought in from the words and phrases of the starter and (if present) from the context sentence. These inputs, and the module tightenings that briefly follow them, serve to establish expectations (Chaps. 3, 5

and 9) (subsets of symbols that future steps in the thought process will be restricted to) on each of the four involved phrase modules. This establishes the "initial configuration" shown in Fig. 6.4A.

The function of the thought process is to continue the sentence by selecting an ordered sequence of four word symbols from the tens of billions of candidate sequences typically included within the initial configuration. As multiconfabula-tion proceeds, knowledge links from subsequent phrase and word modules are used by each confabulating module to identify those symbols, from among the ever-shrinking expectation sets, which are the most highly excited. Low-excitation symbols are dropped as the number of symbols on each module's expectation is gradually reduced (i.e., the thought control input level to the module is tightened).

The key to this convergence is cyclic application of millions of knowledge links, which causes elimination of symbols which were (earlier in the thought process) considered potentially viable conclusions, but which this newly applied knowledge does not support. These knowledge link applications also serve to reorder the remaining viable symbols in terms of their updated approximate cogencies.

The goal of the particular thought process employed in these experiments is to complete each phrase module's confabulation in its proper order (P4, P5, P6, and P7). As each module's expectation shrinks, the combinatorial collection of remaining possible continuations plummets rapidly, as illustrated in Fig. 6.4B. This ongoing "mutual consultation" process ensures that the final confabulation consensus (i.e., sentence continuation) chosen is that one which has one of the "highest levels of consistency" with both the external context and between its individual conclusions.

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    Is confabulation part of thought process?
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