Brain Architecture and Consciousness flow
Based on the Jeff Hawkin's book "On Intelligence".
So there is the cerebral cortex, thalamus, and hippocampus, and ancient brain, other parts of nervous system.
In this I keep on mixing up neural cortex, neocortex, cerebral cortex, the way I use them, they mean all the same thing. Thalamus
This controls your consciousness, where it is focused to. This controls where your attention is focused to. This controls what you are focused on. This controls the pathways where information flows in the neural cortex. This controls what thoughts happen and where the thoughts flow at in your brain.
(so for a source, until I return, just google "thalamus directs attentions") Cerebral Cortex:
This is your subconscious = not conscious at all. It is smart like the hardware of a computer is smart, but it is not conscious. Your conciousness directs the computing resources of your subconscious. You conciousness programs your neocortex, subconcious. It is arranged in a hierarchy. This hierarchy is very important.
This is where long term memories are stored. This is where skills i.e. motor, recognition, language, intuition, whatever smart thing you can do that is hard to program a robot to do, but that you can do automatically. All skills/long term memories are stored in what are called Invariant Representations. I define Invariant Representations below. They are very important.
Basically any computation your mind does without having to consciously think is done here. When you are trying to learn something, your neural cortex has to rearrange itself to form new Invariant Representations (acronym IR) and then you can apply a label to a IR like, "cat", "red", "jump", "move my hand". Each IR has a physical region in the neural cortex. Because the neural cortex is arranged in a hierarchal structure, and each IR has a physical location in the cerebra cortex then each IR can have its own sub IRs. These store goals and such. see below for Invariant Representation. Hippocampus
This is where intermediate memories are formed.
Hippocampus replays activity from the current day while sleeping, so that it can train the cerebral to store long term IRs while you sleep, which is why you have dreams. So where does your consciousness go when you sleep? ... still thinking about this one. Invariant Representations:
Very important. These are made automatically inside your neocortex when it is fed information from either your thoughts or your sense like sight or feeling. No matter what the source of the information is, the neocortex always processes it in the same hierarchical way. It treats all internal (thoughts/feelings) and external (sense) sensory information exactly in the same way.
An Invariant Representation, IR, is a chunk of information that represents a concept. For example, any thought, "red", the word "Hello", the letter "l", your ability to kick a ball, your master plan to take over the world... basically anything... any concept, goal, skill that you can assign a label to is an invariant representation inside your neocortex.
Invariant Representations have a hierarchy structure as well, because the neocortex is a hierarchy structure. For example, the invariant representation of "Turn on TV", has a whole tree of sub IRs. First of all there is TV. It can be broken down into the parts that make up the TV, for example, the shape, the buttons, the tube, the right corner, basically any concept that you can apply to a TV is an IR which has its own physical region inside of the neocortex.
And then "Turn on the TV" can be the IRs of the goal of turning on the TV, which has the sub goals/IR of getting off the couch, move your legs, move your hand, press the button, move back, plop back down to the couch, and each of those IRs can be further broken down into finer and finer hierarchies of IRs.
So when your consciousness decides to tell the thalamus (or does the thalamus tell the consciousness?) to send the IR of "Turn on the TV" to your motor cortex section of the neocortex, then that IR of "Turn on the TV" opens up specific channels of information flow which goes down the hierarchy of the neural cortex / IRs which ultimately tells the motor cortex how to do the steps to fulfill the goal of "Turn on the TV"
So all the goals that you have are IRs. When you visualize your goals, you are making new higher order IRs that are constructed from the lower level IRs that are your thoughts, which are either verbal or nonverbal. When you constantly think of lower level thoughts (=lower order IRs) in your mind, the higher level areas of the neocortex takes those as input and are therefore able to create the higher order IRs which is the visualization or problem that you are trying to solve. Really cool eh? How your brain learns Invariant Representations:
So the information can also flow up the hierarchy of the neural cortex.
The cerebral cortex, from the time you are a baby, beings to learn the IRs of the world automatically when sensory information is applied to it. So first it learns the very lowest level in the hierarchy IRs. Like for vision, first it makes IR for recognizing lines, then using those IR of lines, it makes new IR of shapes, and from those IRs, it makes IRs of bigger objects like faces.
And it does not matter what type of sensory information it receives, it treats it all the same and forms IRs in the same way no matter if it is visual, audio, skin, taste, smell, or even its own sub IRs, because after all, all the information is converted into electric signals so that it can treat it all the same.
For example, that's how a baby learns to speak language. It hears sounds, the lower levels IRs are created that can understand pitch, then phoneme, and then it gets more complex and the next level up in the neocortex uses those IRs to create new IRs that can understand the words, and then from the words, goes the phrases, sentences... ect. ect.
The reason that there are certain language centers in the brain, like Wernickies Area, is because the sensory information of hearing is always fed to the same area of the brain in all humans, so that spot happens to specialize in langauge processing. I think I remember reading that there was some child early on that had half of its brain removed, or didn't develop right, but still learned how to speak, but of course the language center ended up in a different area. Prediction:
Is when information flows down the hierarchy. Like you predict your friend is going to hit you in the face, so your brain reacts and makes a prediction/activates the correct IR that is then propagated down the hierarchy until that prediction is transformed into movement. Yes prediction causes movement, that is how you move, is when you make predictions but is sent down into the motor cortex.
[will be clarified...]
This is just information flow.
There are verbal and nonverbal thoughts. The verbal thoughts are when you speak things in your mind of course. They are caused when the thalamus lets the information flow into the IRs that represent language skills. You can have visual thoughts when you direct thoughts /IRs/ Consciousness /information to your visual IRs structures of the cerebral cortex.
[to be clarified when I return. check out the Numenta paper, linked at the top]
For the people who are deaf, they think thoughts in sign language of course by having the thalamus direct the thoughts/IR to the motor cortex: In what language do deaf people think?
Observation = consciousness = when information flows up the hierarchy:
"In what language do the profoundly deaf think? Why, in Sign... Research suggests that the brain of a native deaf signer is organized differently from that of a hearing person. ...He met a woman in her 90s who would sometimes slip into a reverie, her hands moving constantly. According to her daughter, she was thinking in Sign. "Even in sleep, I was further informed, the old lady might sketch fragmentary signs on the counterpane," Sacks writes. "She was dreaming in Sign."
so curious thought here :
Every atom of the universe has a small piece of consciousness in it, after all how else would a rock know when it gets kicked by your foot? But that you become conscious because your brain organizes that consciousness using the IRs, and that "you" (the part of you that says "I") is when the consciousness converges at the top of the of the hierarchy of the cerebral cortex, so that you can command and think of higher order goals/IRs and they are higher order more complex goals because they are higher up in the hierarchy. And so now it is a question of is there a genetic DNA program that directs the thalamus to direct the consciousness? So that we are just biological robots? Or does the consciousness somehow direct itself? But I don’t think that makes sense if the consciousness directs itself, because consciousness is part of every atom in the universe, so we must be biological robots... oh well :-) ... thank goodness evolution programmed in our human morals right?
But I have not thought through of how the consciousness converges into I. [will be clarified too...]