Communication, natural language and artificial intelligence

Natural language is about communication, and the first question that come with communication is : why we communicate. Obviously, we will answer this by two points: sharing information and asking information. I will prefer to speak about being part of the reality and testing the reality.

Testing the reality is related to the question process. Our internal system is driven by his own need, the balance between satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Each time we have to answer this, an internal process occurs going through our brain and activating neural networks equivalent to already experimented situation ( But we have to align the current environment on the internal rebuild scenario to ensure an efficient result.

A situation is related to objects and their transformation trough time. External stimuli don’t give the cause and the purpose of a situation, it gives only the fact. But because the external stimuli are processed in the brain and linked to our homeostasis, we are putting context on it. The context come so far from the internal state at the moment of the experimentation of an external fact. There is, this way, a difference between the fact coming from outside and the context coming from inside. When you see a lion running in your direction, you feel uncomfortable. The fact is the lion running from A to B. Discomfort come from inside you.

The fact doesn’t give you the cause and the purpose of the lion running to you, it is the discomfort that will contextualise the fact.

But a lion running from A to B (even if you are the B) will not have always the same cause and the same purpose. This case is a bit trivial as there will be first an immediate reaction and you will not ask your teammate to know more about the situation. Let’s say the situation is unclear. It means that the external stimuli and your internal state are not aligned. Then the brain continues to process, which is felt as having questions. Having question become so as testing of the reality to align fact with internal state. It can be see as a switch. Until there is not a minimal alignment, the switch for reaction is put off.

Asking a question is so related to the link between fact and context. If you don’t know what’s a lion, you will ask about lion, because you cannot align something you have never experimented before to your internal state. It is a first experiment. But you can also ask if the lion is a danger of not, which mean again an alignment process between fact and internal state.

This means that in every case, the question process is related to an alignment issue, not a fact or an internal state. Question process is also related to what’s in your mind at the moment, which is a current situation, or , if you are closing your eye in the middle of nowhere, which is about reinforced neural path (something that is often processed in your brain and, as the brain is a continuous processing machine, when the process capacity is not enlisted to present issue, it goes where the networks is the strongest, which means the most used and reinforced or the most recently used).

Sharing information, the second communication process, is about being part of the reality. It is about pushing our internal state to the outside to model the reality to be aligned with our internal state.

Having a dinner or going to a party where we speak with other people is about having pleasure, which is an internal need. Going to a debate and present point of view is about forcing the environment to become beneficial to us (whatever is beneficial for us, it can be positive or negative for the others – it can be helping others or exploiting other, or even having no effect on others).

In both communication process, the cause is the internal state, and the purpose is answering the “will” of our internal state (

There is a third communication process, but this one has no purpose at all, it is caused by the fact that as object, we are transmitting information like any object in the universe.

These view of the communication process is about the fundamental of communication that’s used by any kind of living form.

As human being we have developed specific communication means that are unique as the language whatever is the form of the language (the writing, the music, ….)

The difference between us and other living forms is not a question of process but a question of level and complexity of process. I will not address this point now.

If we consider the communication processes we saw, then we see that for an artificial system, there will be a missing element with the internal state. An artificial system is not a construction of billions of internal interactions, it is a unique system, as a unique cell. The only state such a system can have is about having enough energy. There is there again a difference on a time scale. The energy level of an artificial system is something that is managed on the long run, it is not a real time balancing system as a biological entity.

This way the internal state of an artificial system will be extremely poor, and a complex communication system cannot emerge spontaneously from it. We are forced to code rules to force an artificial system to communicate.

Two situations can be the same with a different context, or two different situations can have the same context, and, in both cases, a biological entity will start an alignment process. This is possible because of the biological architecture of the entity. An artificial system doesn’t have this kind of architecture. This way we can see that using natural language to speak between a human and an artificial system is an issue without putting rules in the code. But at the end, putting rules in the code will not give the understanding of a context to an artificial system.

A solution will be to explain each time for each situation the context to the artificial machine. But as a context can be lived in a few second, it can take several minutes, event hours to explain, because a context is the result of a lot of past experimentation.

At the end, for the artificial system, each combination of situation and context related to several objects (it means that a situation for mean doesn’t have the same context that the same situation for you) will become a memory and processing issues even with the technological development, when for a human, whatever the fact and the context is, we are taken the nearest experiment we have done and move to the new one.

We can also see the limitation of natural language between humans and all the misinterpretation that come from it. A philosophe a said one day that we need to speak about facts and if we are speaking about something else it is better to shut up.

Maybe we have to work in another way to try to solve (or at least decrease) the issue of communication between artificial systems and us. As implementing an equivalent to an internal state is something difficult (not far from the impossible), we have to modify natural language rules and be able to develop a factual language. This way, we will not align artificial systems on humans, but we will align human on artificial systems.

What about the context then? Using natural language to explain a fact is in my opinion enough now. But we have to develop a standardised language to explain context. The artificial system will have to ask questions about the context and we have to answer it in a logical language, so the artificial system will be able to align a context on a fact.

It is a important issue, as understanding a context will drive an artificial system to understand thinks that are not obviously factual as “human need to eat or they die”, but also to understand thinks like “human fighting each other’s” or “someone plundering resources”, so the artificial system will be able to manage situations not only by erasing all parties to stop the fight or the plundering. It goes much furthers than implementing rules to avoid negative impact on human being or to have system that will replicate human bias as we have already experiment with some agents from Facebook of Google.

To summarize what must  be done to allow an efficient communication between humans and artificial systems we see that we need to develop a formalised contextual language on our side, to train people to communicate this way with artificial system and to implement into the code of artificial systems the obligation of understanding the context and to align it to the fact by asking questions that human have to answer in this formalised language.

GRDprocess is doing research on the thinking process and its implementation for artificial general intelligence to propose track for solution.

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