28 Aug 2010 AI4U   » (Observer)

MindForth Programming Journal (MFPJ) 2010 August 28

Sat.28.AUG.2010 -- First-Person Consciousness

The declaration today of a "prsn" (person) variable in the MindForth robot AI has a bearing not only on the proper use of English verb forms in the first, second and third person, but also on self-awareness and artificial consciousness. There is no consciousness module in MindForth, because consciousness emerges not from a single location but rather from the overall functionality of the mind qua mind. Since the new "prsn" variable will help the robot Mind to think about itself and talk about itself in the first person singular, the person variable will reinforce the very concept of the robot self as the ego of a conscious mind. As the AI Mind speaks confidently and grammatically about itself during interaction with other persons -- human peers or robot peers -- the evolution of AI reaches the all-important milestone of self-referential thought.

MindForth did not previously have a "prsn" variable because initially all utterances of the proof-of-concept AI were in the third person plural by default. When the goal was to demonstrate thinking and not yet to trigger a Singularity, the simplest way to deal with grammatical person was not to worry about it at all. As the AI Mind has advanced in complexity and in functionality, bugs and glitches began to appear which could be resolved only by taking person into consideration. The issue was forestalled while special coding for be-verbs dealt with first-person forms like "am" and with be-verbs required for use with English pronouns, but now the general coding of general verb-usage requires the adoption of a person variable to make things work. The variable shall be "prsn" for two reasons, brevity and clarity. The chosen name of the variable has clarity because it refers not to a general concept of "person" as perhaps a legal entity or as perhaps a dramatic character, but rather to the specific idea of first person, second person and third person. The "prsn" variable will hold values of "1", "2" or "3" accordingly, and may hold a zero ("0") value for use with infinitive forms such as "to be".

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