Machine Dreaming

Machine Dreaming

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7368-5.ch011
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Active sleep modes, alternative logics, non-parametric programming, and extended interfaces are being incorporated into the processing capabilities of complex computer systems. While system disconnected FSMs have only minimal capacities for achieving dream-like forms of cognitive processing, internet-connected systems can meet human-based criteria for dreaming. The internet includes periods low data flow (system sleep). Non-parametric and fuzzy logic processing extends system capacity and increases the possibility of alternative and/or unexpected outcomes. Neural-net processing increases the chance that results attained will be indeterminate and hallucinatory. At the interface, such machine dreams are bi-directionally incorporated into the dream consciousness of interacting humans. In order to function in the human-defined environment, artificial systems require the capacity to achieve dream equivalent states.
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Background: The Problem Of Dream Defintion

Dreaming is an almost ubiquitous personal experience, and as such, many definitions for dreaming have been developed and routinely utilized. For each individual experiencing dreaming, the experience seems concrete and obvious. There has been a strong tendency for each individual dreamer to presume that what he or she experiences as a dream is the same for every other individual who dreams. However, what one individual understands to be a dream is often far different from what another experiences or construes to be a dream. This has led to a situation in which there are multiple definitions and no concrete or overall inclusive definition, so that for any group, a series of often different, recurring and set definitions are used for dream (Pagel & Meyers, 2002). This problem of confused and even contradictory definitions has led to significant problems for researchers and investigators in the fields of dream study. For the sleep physician dreams are sleep-associated mental activity. For the psychoanalyst, dreaming defined by bizarre and/or hallucinatory content occurs in both wake and sleep. For one group, dreaming is a state of consciousness. For the other, dreaming is a form or type of thought. In some epistemologies, even the oldest of definitions, such as the dream as a message from god, are still used and believed (Buckley, 2009).

The problem of definition was confounded further in the last decades of the twentieth century when a wide spectrum of neuroscientists and clinicians decided, despite a lack of experimental evidence, that the electrophysiological state of Rapid Eye Movement Sleep (REMS) was equivalent to dreaming. Defined as REMS, dreaming apparently needed no further definition (Pagel, 2011). Aristotle described a definition as a description of the “essence or essential nature” of the topic and as such, each definition applies and reflects an aspect, an essence of the state (Eco, 1984). In an attempt at clarification, in the year 2001, a multi-specialty panel of dream researchers and therapists developed a multi-axis definition paradigm for dreaming (Table 1) (Pagel, Blagrove, Levin, et. al., 2001).

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