Or more generally: complex fast-changing qualia
(To be expanded)
This file is accessible at:
This is one of many discussion documents on the same web site identifying problems about biological vision (not only in humans) that I think have not been considered by most researchers in vision, especially researchers in machine vision, who set themselves targets that omit many of the features of biological vision systems, including the role of vision in making discoveries in geometry, topology and other areas of mathematics. Even blind mathematicians may be using brain mechanisms that evolved as parts of visual systems in their ancestors.
NOTE: (Added: 24 Dec 2015)
There are some more detailed challenges related to static images here:
A not very high quality video camera was moved around in a Birmingham garden. Several short video recordings were made.
CHALLENGES FOR VISION RESEARCHERS
Consider what goes on in you
While looking at these videos consider the question:
How could you demonstrate that this was happening when the robot viewed the videos, or when it moved round this garden following the trajectory and gaze directions of the camera used for these recordings?
VIDEO 1: Two versions of the same video: MP4 and WEBM
(I hope all browsers can cope with at least one of them.
Both work with vlc on my linux machine.)
(Apologies for sneeze in the middle)
VIDEO 2: Two versions of the same video: MP4 and WEBM
VIDEO 3: Two versions of the same video: MP4 and WEBM
VIDEO 4: Two versions of the same video: MP4 and WEBM
VIDEO 5: Two versions of the same video: MP4 and WEBM
MY BRAIN CAN'T DO THAT, SO WHY SHOULD AN INTELLIGENT MACHINE BE ABLE TO?
What does a human brain do with visual information? There has been a vast amount of research on human and animal vision. Most laboratory research either investigates failures or limitations, or very narrowly focused competences.
Finding out what a nest building bird, or a squirrel uses vision for, or how a
pre-verbal toddler uses vision to make discoveries in 3-D topology is much
I don't think anyone has a comprehensive answer -- though many fragments of human and animal visual competences have been documented.
Some of the issues are addressed in this very short survey paper:
Alexander Thiele, "Vision: A Brake on the Speed of Sight"
Current Biology, Vol 15 No 22 (2005)
Part of the answer that is usually omitted is: we make
mathematical discoveries. For more on that take a look at this web site, after
looking at the videos and questions above.
Some (Possibly) New Considerations Regarding Impossible Objects
Their significance for mathematical cognition, and current serious
limitations of AI vision systems.
The garden videos seem to illustrate Austin's dictum.
We could generalise what he wrote, to: "Seeing is richer than doing".
Another challenge to human and machine vision, drawn to my attention by Aviv Keren, involves flame-breathers: https://vimeo.com/132024990
The apparatus required to produce that video, shown here https://vimeo.com/129062369 was far more complex (and costly) than my cheap little camera, used in the garden videos.
There's much self deception in this
NOTE ON A PAPER IN JCS 2003
In 2012 Marcel Kvassay wrote
"Machines, Intelligence, Consciousness",
a tutorial overview of the paper
comparing our theories with those of
David Chalmers and others:
Most philosophers are ignorant about virtual machinery, unfortunately. Working out how to extend current virtual machines to support human and animal visual consciousness is a hard research problem. Part of the problem is to specify the requirements. This web site makes a small contribution.
The 2003 paper claimed "consciousness" is a cluster concept'. I now think that's a mistake. Gilbert Ryle (in The Concept of Mind 1949) came closer to the truth in use the notion of a polymorphous concept. Since then the importance of parametric polymorphism has emerged in the context of programming language design (for example) and that captures more accurately the diversity of usages of concepts like "conscious", "efficient", "better", and many more. See also
A paper on evolution of consciousness is in preparation here:
Dynamic metaphysical grounding of consciousness in evolution.
QUESTIONS THAT COULD BE ASKED ABOUT EACH VIDEO
How much 3-D structure can you see?
Does it make any difference whether you look at the video with your left eye, your right eye, or both eyes?
If you watched the video in its natural size (width 640 pixels) try again with a full-screen view, and vice versa. Are your answers to the questions different for the natural and full-screen views. (If you are viewing on a tablet or mobile phone this distinction will not make any sense.)
Please email answers to a.sloman AT cs.bham.ac.uk
There are some snapshots from one of the videos, with questions for the viewer,
in a separate file here: