|Creating A "Conscious" Agent|
| Bernard Baars' Global Workspace Theory is a leading cognitive science model for human consciousness. Creating A "Conscious" Agent is a design specification for part of the first software implementation of Global Workspace Theory. Conscious Mattie, being developed by the University of Memphis' Conscious Software Research Group, is the name of the software agent where this implementation is occurring at the time of this thesis' submission.
There are several motivators for this research. First, it is hypothesized that a Global Workspace gives a multi-agent system several advantages. For example, it offers individual agents in the system a means of recruiting other agents in the system to help solve novel and ambiguous problems. Also, it gives a method for attentional focus for the over-all system. This provides a means for associative learning and metacognitive functions to take place. Chapter five gives an in depth discussion of the specific functions of the Global Workspace in Conscious Mattie. Chapter five attempts to lend insight into the software implementation advantages gained when using a Global Workspace.
As a second motivation, the Conscious Software Research Group hopes to provide new hypotheses about human consciousness for cognitive scientists and neuroscientists. As a cognitive science theory, Baars' theory does not contain many of the low-level design specifications necessary for a computer scientist's implementation of the theory. Many of the design decisions made through this research can be considered hypotheses on human consciousness. It is hoped that the members of the above disciplines will view these implementation decisions as springboards for the further study of consciousness.
This thesis first gives an overview of Baars' Global Workspace Theory. Virtual Mattie, Conscious Mattie's predecessor agent, is then discussed. A general discussion of Conscious Mattie's numerous components such as learning mechanisms, memory, and perception follows. The author has been actively involved in both Virtual Mattie's and Conscious Mattie's overall design. The author's primary research contribution is found in chapter five. Chapter five describes the design of a Global Workspace mechanism for Conscious Mattie. The Conscious Software Research Group's implementation decisions for Conscious Mattie are related back to Baars' theory in chapter six as justification for their use. Finally, a future direction of the Conscious Software Research Group is presented.
This thesis describes the design for a software implementation of Global Workspace Theory. It is beyond the scope of this thesis to address whether or not Conscious Mattie's "conscious experience" will be similar to the human conscious experience. This author plans to implement and experiment with a Global Workspace for Conscious Mattie. It is hoped that these results will generate several hypotheses about human consciousness.