Shifting and drifting attention while reading: A case study of nonlinear-dynamical attention allocation in the OpenCog cognitive architecture

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Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures, ISSN: 2212-683X, Vol: 25, Page: 130-134

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Misgana Bayetta Belachew; Ben Goertzel; Matthew Ikle’; David Hanson
Elsevier BV
Psychology; Neuroscience; Computer Science
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article description
A simple experimental example of the general principle of “cognitive synergy” underlying the OpenCog AGI architecture is explored: An OpenCog system processing a series of articles that shifts from one topic (insects) to another (poisons), and using its nonlinear attention-allocation dynamics (based on the ECAN Economic Attention Networks framework) to spread attention back and forth between the nodes and links within OpenCog’s Atomspace knowledge store representing the words in the sentences, and other nodes and links containing related knowledge. With this setup, we study how the ECAN system shifts the attentional focus of the system based on changes in topic – in terms of both the speed of attention switching, and the contextual similarity of the content of attentional focus to the sentences being processed at a given point in time. This also provides an avenue for exploring the effects of particular design choices within the ECAN system. For instance, we find that in this particular example, if the parameters are set appropriately, ECAN indeed causes the system to assign particular importance to nodes and links related to the “insecticide” concept, when it is reading sentences about poisons in a situation where it has been primed by sentences about insects. This is an example of what we call “drifting” attention – the system’s attention moves to something suggested by its perceptions, even if not directly presented in them.