Qualia Learning?: Innerbodiment Construction and Machine Self-Learning by (Emotional) Imitation

Qualia Learning?: Innerbodiment Construction and Machine Self-Learning by (Emotional) Imitation

J. Vallverdú (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7278-9.ch008
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Abstract

Humans perform acts and imitate other humans' actions by innate mechanisms that imply the unconscious notion of innerbodiment. In this chapter, the author suggests a mechanistic method to capture, discretize and understand human actions, following a semi-supervised WOZ system that could allow robotic learning by imitation or even self-learning. A syntax and semantics basic model of human actions guide is provided as well as a philosophical analysis of the notion of action.
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1. Programming Qualia?

1.1. Defining Qualia

One of the most elusive and complex concepts in cognitive sciences is that of ‘qualia’´. The MITECS define them as:

The terms quale and qualia (pl.) are most commonly used to characterize the qualitative, experiential, or felt properties of mental states. Some philosophers take qualia to be essential features of all conscious mental states; others only of SENSATIONS and perceptions. In either case, qualia provide a particularly vexing example of the MIND-BODY PROBLEM, because it has been argued that their existence is incompatible with a physicalistic theory of the mind1.

By ‘qualia’ we mean those qualities that are accessible to you introspectively and that together make up the phenomenal character of the experience2. In a simple way to explain it: our feelings about things. As you can see, the qualia has to do with internal and non-verifiable state and for these reasons you could conclude that there is nothing to be understood, nor useful. But there is one case, propioception, in which qualia shows us a way to understand brain subsumption architectures in order to improve to our HRI models. Other qualia experiences, like empathy have shown to have a neural correlate and can be located into human brains (Keysers and Gazzola, 2010). Therefore, perhaps there is a realm of dark and occult intern experiences but at the same time qualia must be neural processes and consequently, we should be able at least to figure out their functional and evolutionary meaning. It has also been said that propioception is the sixth sense: taste, smell, touch, sound, hearing, sight…and propioception (Abbott, 2006; Smetacek and Mechsner, 2004).

After this brief introduction to the nature of qualia, we could ask ourselves if do exist different kinds of them, something that becomes a priori a nonsensical debate. The reasons are easy to understand: if qualia are internal and private states, then their classification cannot be objective (except in the case of latest fMRI studies on objective pain measurement, a truly debatable topic; see Brown et al 2011)3. Perhaps we could talk about internal or external inducers of the emergence of qualia, as our own thoughts or other people interaction, just as an example of internal and external inputs. They could also be naively classified by the source of the information (sound, touch,….) but we must to remember that the cognitive processes are multidimensional, and that they are the result of an evaluation processing. After all these explanations, we conclude that qualia exist, but that we cannot map them clearly. Four practical purposes, we’ll talk only about the feeling of having a body that obeys us. A limit example, the dicephalus twins (as a specific type of conjoined or Siamese twins): Abigail and Brittany Hensel, now 21, have two spines, which join at the pelvis, two hearts and stomachs, three kidneys, two gall bladders and four lungs. Below the waist all organs including intestines, bladder and reproductive organs are shared. Each twin controls her half of their body, operating one of the arms and one of the legs. This means that as infants, the initial learning of physical processes that required bodily coordination, such as clapping, crawling, and walking required the cooperation of both children. While each is able to eat and write separately and simultaneously, activities such as running and swimming must be coordinated and alternate symmetrically. Other activities as diverse as brushing hair and driving a car require that each twin perform a sequence of quite separate actions that coordinate with the other. As a curiosity: Hensel twins both successfully passed their drivers license exams, both the written and driving tests. They had to take the tests twice, once for each twin. Abby controls the pedals, radio, heat, defogger, and other devices located to the right of the driver's seat, while Brittany controls the turn signal and lights; together, they control the steering wheel4. This example shows us several things about mind, body and propioception, basically the intertwined nature of:

  • 1.

    Body coordination.

  • 2.

    Plasticity: Human mind is open to embrace more parts or to share actions.

  • 3.

    Propioceptive Skills Enables Shared Tasks (Very Useful for Human-Robot Interaction): Allows the creation of a common working map to be solved with several bodies or parts of the body working together.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Emotions: In psychology and philosophy and emotion is a subjective, conscious experience characterized primarily by psychophysiological expressions, biological reactions and mental states. It is often associated and reciprocally influential with mood, temperament, personality, disposition and motivation. They are managed and influenced by hormones and neurotransmitters.

Innerbodiment: The innerbodiment proposes to create HRI technologies that make possible to the robot not only to learn by direct imitation but also by internal co-activity of the human teacher. The human being uses the robot as an avatar and perceives the world by the same and only information channels that have the robot. At the same time, the human teacher can move the robot with its own body.

HRI: Human–robot interaction is the study of interactions between humans and robots. It is often referred as HRI by researchers. Human–robot interaction is a multidisciplinary field with contributions from human–computer interaction, artificial intelligence, robotics, natural language understanding, design, and social sciences.

Embodied: Cognition is embodied when it is deeply dependent upon features of the physical body of an agent, that is, when aspects of the agent's body beyond the brain play a significant causal or physically constitutive role in cognitive processing. Embodied cognitive science encompasses a loose-knit family of research programs in the cognitive sciences that often share a commitment to critiquing and even replacing traditional approaches to cognition and cognitive processing

Action: An action is a complex sum of several movements, that is, the sum of a discretizable event. There is syntax of actions, that is, the sum of a discrete number of (ontologically defined) events which constitutes an action, and at the same time a semantics of actions, the meaning of an action into a holistic framework.

Qualia: The terms quale and qualia (pl.) are most commonly used to characterize the qualitative, experiential, or felt properties of mental states. Some philosophers take qualia to be essential features of all conscious mental states; others only of SENSATIONS and perceptions. In either case, qualia provide a particularly vexing example of the MIND-BODY PROBLEM, because it has been argued that their existence is incompatible with a physicalistic theory of the mind.

Self-Learning - Machine Learning: a branch of AI, concerns the construction and study of systems that can learn from data, and when these processes are performed alone by the machine we are talking about ‘self-learning’.

WOZ: One commonly employed technique in the HRI researchers’ toolkit is the Wizard-of-Oz (WoZ) technique. WoZ refers to a person (usually the experimenter, or a confederate) remotely operating a robot, controlling any of a number of things, such as its movement, navigation, speech, gestures, etc. WoZ may involve any amount of control along the autonomy spectrum, from fully autonomous to fully tele-operated, as well as mixed initiative interaction.

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