Consciousness and Commonsense Critics in Cognitive Architectures: Case Study of Society of Mind Cognitive Architecture

Consciousness and Commonsense Critics in Cognitive Architectures: Case Study of Society of Mind Cognitive Architecture

K. R. Shylaja (Department of CSE, Dr. Ambedkar Institute of Technology, Nagarabhavi, India), Vijayakumar Maragal Venkatamuni (Department of ISE & New Horizon Research Foundation, New Horizon College of Engineering, Nagarabhavi, India), Darryl N. Davis (Department of Computer Science, University of Hull, Hull, UK) and E. V. Prasad (Department of CSE, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Kakinada, India)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/jalr.2012040103


The research identifies the concepts of consciousness and commonsense. It also investigates and demonstrates how consciousness level of an agent and its common sense reasoning abilities can improve the performance and intelligence using SMCA (Society of Mind Cognitive Architecture) as a case study. Consciousness is a sense of awareness about oneself and the surroundings in which the animal or human being lives. This gives a connection between a non materialistic mind and a materialistic brain. Common sense in common world is one that is immediately perceived by everyone from a given environment. A six tiered (layers) SMCA control model is designed that relies on a society of agents operating using metrics associated with the principles of artificial economics in animal cognition. SMCA is a society or collection of agents, where agents tasks implemented on testbed, demonstrates simple to complex level of consciousness and commonsense.
Article Preview


The Artificial Intelligence (AI) era started with John McCarthy, who named “Artificial Intelligence” as the new topic for the 1956 Dartmouth conference. At the same conference, Alan Newell, J.C Shaw, and Herbert Simon demonstrated the first AI programme (Logic Theorist) that could construct logical proofs from a given set of premises. The major application area of AI is to build intelligence on machines similar to human mind principles proposed in cognitive science.

Cognition (derived from Latin), can be defined as “The process of obtaining knowledge through thought, experience and senses”. In general, cognition can be explained as “being aware or being conscious of self and the environment” (Newell, 1992). Cognition activity of the human or some high class animal is evident when they exhibit learning, remembering, perceiving, thinking, taking decision, recognizing visual and verbal language in their usual interactions.

Cognitive science is a field of science that focuses on study of mind architecture proposed theories, as cognitive architectures. Cognitive architecture is a theoretical entity, that built an integrated theory and explains the human cognition and performance. A cognitive architecture represents the three main events, (1) knowledge representation, (2) control structure and (3) control process (Vijaykumar, 2008) .

Consciousness and Cognitive Theory of Consciousness

Consciousness is derived from the Latin word “conscientia” which means moral conscience. In general consciousness is an awareness about oneself and the surrounding in which the animal or human lives. It is a link that connects our present and past experiences and makes a sense of current situation. The person in conscious can sense of being alive and be aware of his own state and the state of the environment.

The behaviour of a human or an animal is a result of conscious processes running in their minds. The consciousness demonstrated will be either phenomenal consciousness or access consciousness. The phenomenal consciousness is simply a raw sense such as our experiences of feelings, emotional thoughts, taste of chocolate etc. These raw senses are also known as qualia. The access consciousness is using these phenomenal qualias to remember something or learning some topics etc. The access consciousness is how we control our behaviour because of the qualias, hence is a process of acting on things which we have already experienced. Block says access consciousness and phenomenal consciousness are independent of each other but they interact with each other when required. Block excludes cognition and intentionality from phenomenal consciousness. Thoughts, beliefs and Intensions make a part of access consciousness. Ned Block argues that consciousness is presentable and definable in a program. The machines or robots can be easily programmed for access consciousness, but there are some conscious experiences that are difficult to be implemented by any computational algorithms, these are called as “Hard Problems of Consciousness” (Baars,1988; Block,1995).

The consciousness that has been demonstrated in SMCA discussed in the last section of this paper is a kind of phenomenal consciousness and also access consciousness. The agents can demonstrate goal specific consciousness where in an agent is conscious of the sequence of tasks that have to be carried out to achieve the goal. The agent is also aware of inner sensations that affect the performance such as hungriness and tiredness. The agents simulated in SMCA address the hard problems of consciousness.


Cognitive Theory Of Consciousness

Cognitive science provides theories for designing computational models of mind. The conscious and unconscious experiences are represented as psychological processes in our brain. The principle of cognitive psychology treats each cognitive process as an operation on a set of neurons. The cognitive theory can model computational conscious processes as mental process such as; information processing, knowledge representation, storage, retrieval, activation and knowledge transformation. The brain is considered as a collection of semi independent information processing devices and they are parallel in executing their mental tasks. These processing devices of the brain share and contribute their processed information with other mental tasks running in other parts of the brain (Baars, 1988; Baars & Katherine, 1997; Robin, Schmidt, & Shamantics, 2007).

Complete Article List

Search this Journal:
Open Access Articles: Forthcoming
Volume 8: 2 Issues (2018)
Volume 7: 2 Issues (2017)
Volume 6: 2 Issues (2016)
Volume 5: 1 Issue (2015)
Volume 4: 1 Issue (2014)
Volume 3: 4 Issues (2012)
Volume 2: 4 Issues (2011)
Volume 1: 4 Issues (2010)
View Complete Journal Contents Listing