Cognitive Media Stack

It is prudent to ask what it might be like to actually use the proposed Universal Knowledge Machine. We ask: exactly how would a user go about interacting with a vast World Brain system? What would be the methods of entry, and then the results of query/access/way-finding; which data processing techniques / methods / mechanisms are employed; and how would the information results be input/presented?

Obviously in order to provide any kind of meaningful answer for such a vastly unifying, and wholly hypothetical system; then we must ruminate to some degree. It is helpful in this respect to introduce four new concepts as detailed below (ref. Cognititive and World Media Stack(s), Single and Collective Mental Framework(s)).

We wish to introduce the idea of the Cognitive Media Stack (CMS); which is a particular set of co-aligned media channel(s), visible/accessible to a single human mind, happening on a particular perceptive/thinking occasion; and which allows ITEMS – or Concepts (universals, class objects), Things (particulars, datums, images etc) and Principles (laws, structural rules) etc; to travel up/ down and hence through the various media layers; and thus to transform, mingle, co-exist and inter-relate as ideas/representations within a Single Mental Framework (SMF) or personal/collective: Thought-Space.

 

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Figure 1: Cognitive Media Stack

 

Universal Knowledge Machine

The role of the Universal Knowledge Machine (UKM) shall be (on each usage occasion) to generate a sufficiently detailed, true and useful Single Mental Framework or SMF that supports/ enables logical/creative/purposeful thinking processes; and accordingly to ‘expand the SEMANTIC APERTURE FOR ITEMS’ on the appropriate Cognitive Media Stack or CMT for a particular human user.

In other words, the UKM supports and enables the creation and operation of optimal (or sufficiently broad – that is high-capacity) Cognititive Media Stack(s) within useful thinking context(s); whereby it enables a maximum number and diversity of ITEMS to be found, gathered together, delineated, compared and contrasted, plus linked etc; and all within his/her mind.

Within a Cognitative Media Stack, constituent media layers through which the co-aligned channels communicate may include (for example):

  1. The object(s) of Attention (i.e. a perceived aspect of the Physical/Mental/Spiritual World (emanating from one of the ‘Six Worlds’));
  2. The Alphabetic/ Symbolic Layer (encoding/representation);
  3. Syntactic/Word/Sentence layer (encoding/processing);
  4. The Logical/Conceptual/Belief Layer (judgements); and also:
  5. The Mental layer (conclusions).

Each layer in the Cognitive Media Stack communicates with its neighbor layer(s) through one or more kinds of media interface(s); and the same typically consisting of one or more meaning transfer/coding/transformation: tools, methods, mechanisms, algorithms, techniques etc.

In summary, the UKM vastly amplifies the number and breadth (i.e. aperture size) of available Cognitative Media Stacks that a user can create and usefully employ on a particular thinking occasion. One might ask – within this new theoretical framework – how multiple minds relate, socialize and inter-communicate. They answer is that they do so by means of a World Media Stack.

World Media Stack

A World Media Stack (WMS) is the full spectrum (or cultural panorama) of potentially aligned media channel(s), visible/accessible to a particular social / cultural collective; and which allows Concepts (universals, class objects), Things (particulars, datums, images etc) and Principles (laws, structural rules) etc; to travel up/down and hence through the various media layers; and to transform, mingle, co-exist and inter-relate as ideas/representations within a specific and culturally determined: Collective Mental Framework.

Ergo, we can say that for each thinking occasion or series of such occasions; a number of Cognitative Media Stack(s) (CMSs) for an individual thinker/user are created with the aid of the UKM; and it is these CMSs that fully prescribe all of the ongoing perceptive and thinking processes. However it is important to note that each of these CMSs sit within a far larger World Media Stack that defines scientific and cultural knowledge etc; as a whole.

A World Media Stack is considered to be a major sub-component and/or supporting framework within which a particular culture develops, exists and operates; and consists of the:

  • Sum total (and available channel Semantic Aperture spans(s)) of all the culturally available media layers, communication channels and media interfaces;
  • The mechanism(s) by which meaning is captured by a culture as a whole, recorded and subsequently processed; including: all the encoding, representation and processing tools/mechanisms/methods/machines available to a culture at a particular epoch.

Put simply, and to repeat, the primary role of the UKM is to vastly amplify the number and breadth (i.e. Semantic Aperture size) of all those Cognitative Media Stacks that a user can create and usefully use on a particular thinking occasion.

However the degree, efficiency, and effectiveness of how the user is able to do so obviously depends on the size, span and extent of all available World and Cognitative Media Stacks; and these in turn will be determined by the overall size, organization and operational efficiency, plus ease-of-use factors, present in all available Knowledge Machine(s) – that in effect contains and/or allows access to these various Media Stacks.

Topic Spaces

 

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Figures 2, 3: Example Depictions of Topic Spaces within a CMS or WMS

Six Worlds

According to Kim Veltman we can usefully transform Popper’s 3 Worlds, referred to here as the object(s) of attention, into 6 Worlds as follows:

  1. Metaphysical (In Brain)
  2. Mental (Obviously In Brain)
  3. Physical (Nature)
  4. Man-Made (Includes Media + Machines etc)
  5. Social (Communication Tools / Languages)
  6. Natural Built Environment (Life)

These 6 Worlds are what the UKM is designed to enable humans to perceive, understand, organize and manage; in all its variety, mystery and wonder. They are the sum total of everything known, and everything that we can ever know; or all that exists in human terms.

World Trees / Axes

Kim Veltman has identified a number of interesting examples of the so-called Tree-Of-Life and the related World-Trees / Axes; and it is useful to consider / ruminate on the following quote:

Both Plato and Aristotle discussed a ladder of life (scala naturae). It was described in Gnostic texts. But it was the Neoplatonist, Porphyry (246-305 A.D.), who first drew these principles as a tree of life. In the centuries that followed, the tree of life was also called the Great Chain of Being, distinguishing between animal, vegetable and mineral.

In the early fourteenth century, Raymond Lull pursued this metaphor, drawing a Ladder of Life or Ladder of Intellect (1304) and a Tree of Nature and Logic (1312). This imagery was adopted by Linnaeus when he developed his system for classifying life into: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Tribe, Genus, Species. The tree of life metaphor continued into the mid-19th century with Haeckel (1866, 1879).The rise of Phylogenetic Trees of Life, introduced an evolutionary dimension into the imagery. Hereby, the tree image, which had begun with a few minimal branches now reflected all living organisms.

 

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Accordingly, we naturally ask, how can the UKM help is to identify, delineate, visualize and to explore/use the many different kinds of Concept-Trees, Life-Trees and Cosmic-Unity diagrams that can be usefully created? Perhaps a useful starting-point might be to create 2D and 3D visualizations (course-grained) of the Cognitative and World Media Stacks for top-level regions of each of the Six Worlds (see figures above).

In summary, I think we can say that for any World-Brain questing to become a global media system; top- level overview must be a primary consideration; supporting both panoramic exploration of all plus focussed views; with a concordant ability to drill-down / aggregate through universal-classes, particular datum granularities/aggregations etc.

Improved Thought-Spaces / Thinking Processes

The subject of the present section has been the design and construction of a Universal Knowledge Machine – or UKM. This Global-Brain would comprise a universal media system – within which the combined sum of all human/natural: ideas/ facts/theories/claims/goals/plans/activities would be faithfully recorded. Building such a system will not be easy – and neither could it happen by accident. Rather much organization (partially centralized) plus distributed planning and effort will be required. But the benefits of so-doing would be epoch-making.

Only in so-doing (building the UKM), could humanity possibly obtain a vastly improved collective intelligence, concordant with the properly unified and fully cohesive integration of all individual and social-forces/understanding/effort worldwide.

Accordingly, we have presented an analysis of individual/collective human thinking processes; in an attempt to learn how we may ‘think better thoughts’—or develop more useful, relevant, ethical, moral and true: thought-outcomes/ideas. Here we define a thinking machine as the grouping/ representation/usage of certain causally related elements—thoughts and concepts—which accurately reflect things (atoms, physical structures), and processes (mental, physical or metaphysical)—existing in one or more of the three worlds; respectively the physical, mental worlds, plus products-of-the-human mind.

Evidently, despite the fact that the envisaged thinking-machine consists of physical and also metaphysical components, it is still to be embodied as an eminently useful physical/meta-physical machine within human society – or as a (hopefully) properly socially integrated system. It is known that suboptimal or poorly specified systems exhibit a mismatch of actual relationship(s) between—the operational structures—and the planned functional outcomes and/or desired functional outcomes—for a system’s design/operation/management (i.e. relations of internal/external structures and functions).

Why the Internet Fails (Hint: Wrong Design!)

Unfortunately, for the biggest and/or most top- level – and poorly specified – systems the actual relationship(s) may be overly complex and/or ungainly, or be unknown/invisible and/or out-of- reach in some way; and hence be poorly understood/represented/modeled and/or be incorrectly mapped. Problems include flawed/ incorrect logic, data capture problems, wrong scale/ level/plane/granularity for analysis, miss-classification, lack-of-unity, poor-centrality, ignored wrong or unknown items/relationships, unfettered abstraction and/or fragmentary thinking etc.

One example of a poorly specified system is the Internet; which reduces knowledge to questions of Who and What; and ignores the When, Where, How and Why dimensions almost entirely. For example, Kim Veltman has demonstrated that behind every: symbol, letter, word, sentence etc; are a myriad of interrelated: time-lines, places, methods and motivations. Missing from the Web are vast numbers of: common-sources, true connections and interlacing- histories; and parallel/back/omni links are not represented.

One example of a poorly specified system is the Internet; which reduces knowledge to questions of Who and What; and ignores the When, Where, How and Why dimensions almost entirely. For example, Kim Veltman has demonstrated that behind every: symbol, letter, word, sentence etc; are a myriad of interrelated: time-lines, places, methods and motivations. Missing from the Web are vast numbers of: common-sources, true connections and interlacing- histories; and parallel/back/omni links are not represented.

All human knowledge is mis- represented as a type of monumental palimpsest—a conglomeration of temporary items, loosely held together, being fragile manuscripts (or web-pages) (and events/actions) which are regularly (partially/ fully) scraped, re-sued, and overwritten. Knowledge units become isolated/temporary, and ideas/opinions (history) is/are continually rubbed-out/lost.

Towards a World Brain

We suggest building a new mechanism (or World-Brain); to provide detailed (permanent) mapping of, plus evolving and systematic access to: all of humanities thoughts, ideas and knowledge— a vast Memory Palace comprising ALL the universals and particulars—and on multiple scales, timelines and levels/spans/planes-of-analysis.

Accordingly, in order to better model/reflect/understand—plus manage—the natural, human and technological worlds; our UKM facilities study of micro-thoughts (things of mind) and their interrelations in terms of flow, structure and combination. Cross your fingers!