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Oh, The Fun We Have At Railway Stations

So I spend more time sitting at railway stations than I used to. Which isn't necessarily bad; it's a good time to sit down with a cup of tea and do idle things, like reading books, watching people (and checking out possible hot chicks), and reflecting upon life.

The central train station in Gothenburg has a café (one among many) where you can buy an Italian-inspired sandwich and sit down and eat. There are usually some birds flying around in there, jumping between tables and feasting on the breadcrumbs on the floor.

So as I sat there, I began to ponder doves. What does a dove think? What intellectual capacities does it have? What emotional factors does it carry? I sat there watching them jump seemingly randomly from table to table, looking for things to eat; and as I did, I grew increasingly fascinated by them. And lo, before long I began sketching on a systematic simulation model of a dove.

It seemed to me that there was a sort of Evaluation Program (EP) at the core of the dove's mind, that would weigh different impulses - neurons - and decide on a corresponding course of action. Impulses would be things like hunger, thirst, fear etc. Pretty basic stuff. To prevent the course of action from changing and locking up indefinitely (continually and rapidly switching between two different actions), the EP would only run when one of the impulse states changed. This would cause a reevaluation of the scenario, and possibly adjust the action. The impulses would be back-fed with simulation results to optimize the EP process in different situations. Of course, the same model could be applied for different AI entities; like, for instance, computer-simulated enemy soldiers in a war game.

I got quite far before I had to leave for my train.

Another time, I got stuck and nearly missed my bus, trying to formulate a redesign of cell phone user interfaces to dramatically increase the usability for elderly. But that's a different story.


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