Functional Brain Anatomy for AIs
At any given moment you might feel you are aware or conscious of the world at large and as a whole but that is merely an illusion, in reality you can only process a very small fraction of things, at this very moment for instance you are really only aware of a few mm on your screen ( about a words length ) and if you are looking at your computer screen you are probably unaware of what’s happening behind you and only vaguely aware of your surroundings, attention is evolutions answer to this very problem and here we will look in brief at the anatomy and mechanisms from a systems point of view and their significance and use in current and future AIs.
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A first pass at defining attention involves an environment with many things in it and our limited capacity to process them, so attention is the mental ability to increase fidelity ( focus on or isolate ) a stimulus, thought or action while ignoring or lowering fidelity on others:
Consider the following illustration, out of all the solids presented here you can only pay attention to one or a few at any given time, this usually means that you can extract, see in more detail or hold in memory one or a few ( called selective attention ), try for instance focusing on the donut shaped one... if you change your focus to another one (the cube) you simultaneously increase detail in the cube and lose fidelity on the donut, the other shapes might as well be absent while you do this.
There’s an overarching division in attention and a few modalities that are worth exploring to round up the definition, the first one being the origin of attention which usually goes by top down, voluntary or internal and bottom up, exogenous or reflexive.
If I ask you to focus on the…