Ethnography and Networks, 2006

“Over the course of life, a person will have encountered myriad visual attributes and visual stimuli, and each of these will have associated with it particular sets of sensorimotor contingencies. Each such set will have been recorded and will be latent, potentially available for recall: the brain thus has mastery of all these sensorimotor sets. But when a particular attribute is currently being seen, then the particular sensorimotor contingencies associated with it are no longer latent, but are actualized, or being currently made use of.”1

Here is a possible solution to how these tactile responses are created by defined sets predefined and latent in the brain. How are these stored? What does this memory entail? The reproduction or simulation of the tactile response via visual acuity seems to predicate a certain level of recognition or piecing together of prior experiences with similar materials. Perhaps a runtime of taking into account the material, then shape and form, and then related elements of temperature, context or placement, and function of object.

An example can be taken from looking at the non slip pads on train station curbs, were we recognize the use of them, the presence of ice, the color, the shape, the raised circles, etc to predict how are feet will move across them. The context, in which these pads are placed, along with the recognition of certain definable sets of parameters, allows us to make a simulation of how these pads will engage our body prior to having walked across them. There is historical significance in this process.

For instance, “at the check-out counter of supermarkets the person bagging groceries operates in a strongly skill-driven manner. Owing to their accumulated knowledge about the items that must be packed, and the space available for buffering, baggers build up regular ways of solving their bin packing problems. Among their other tricks, they rely on arrangements in the buffer zone to help call attention to obvious properties of the inventory”.2

This creates a situational element of how relationships are made between objects and the confinement of the bags. Cueing relies, slightly, on the historical, or how the objects come down the conveyor and I would suspect that this is in turn affected by how the items are placed in the cart (store layout). So it would make sense that there are sets of related objects that can be bunched together (related objects). I think that inference making of how cueing is happening is related to that.

“Clustering helps solve these problems because it is harder to lose big things than little ones, and harder to miss seeing what a whole group is good for. For instance, memory for location, as was mentioned before, is regularly overestimated. It is harder to remember where a pen is, than its color. But if the pen is in a group of like colored objects, the sheer size of the colored group will simplify the visual search problem. 
Color can be used as both a memory aid and a visual cue.”3

In defining how objects are related, Clustering depends upon a level of localization in pattern creation to be effective. I am unsure if visual searches are being made using color when making a visual search however or if there is some other or combination of factors such as line or boundary definitions. The relational sets of data that are derived are situational for a specified context.

Communication relies on the meaning of actions and events, where meaning is expressed directly through language and indirectly through symbols. Network nodes utilize meaning systems as a way to organize their behaviors, understand a position or role, and to understand the environment. Are these protocols, which may function as control mechanisms, a result of individuals functioning within the cultural model? Communications between nodes inform, and through codification are also authoritive as inherent in their medium and thus, restrict data according to protocol. By building a network that utilizes communications between individuals, I want to further investigate the above concerns.

There are relative effects of engagement between objects and between self and objects. The idea of causality is present, in that for perception to be effective it relies upon the motor control or activity to determine sensations. I am asking whether these perceptions are in their own adequate, or are they effects of action. If they are effects of action, as seems to be indicated, then how determined (in the presence of noise) are they by action. Even in the presence of noise, the detection of the movement of an object with hand and eye coordination can determine speed, density, spatial moment, position, or velocity.

“The question of whether any perception is possible in space is in fact the problem of whether it is possible to conceive of separate events as being simultaneous. But how can the diversity of sensations that are perceived by the subject as successive in time be thought of as referring to simultaneous objects? This requires an activity whereby the succession of different sensations over time is synthesized, according to a certain rule.”4

The connectivity between objects is based on rules derived from gather sets of relationships between these objects. The more closely defined (logically) two objects are to one another the greater the perceived implications of simultaneous actions are. I think this is important in that the sensations can be connected to particular events, and through an active parsing can then be condensed into more relative terms (i.e., concreteness). The where how when, etc, then may take form in space.

Culture can be discussed in terms of an individual’s engagement in transference of data, or communications. Where the information that is most relevant is related to the context in which the individual are interacted, (what is culturally appropriate, what are the expectations, what are the predicates and predictions)? The relationships that develop from these engagements could be based on rules of cultural engagement. Some of these are related to social norms, values, or historical meaning.

“Some of our thinking is repeating conversations we have already had. But some of our thinking points forward rather than backward. We think about what we are going to do. If the most important things we have to do are our social relationships, then we sill spend much of our time thinking about we are going to encounter and what we will say to them. This is done more emotionally and consciously and explicitly.”5

This serves as an example of sociological rule of engagement where prior to conversation people agree on the basic communication structures. The context in which these interactions are taking place predicate the roles and create a social institution, which then further defines the type of information being transferred and communicated. These social institutions exist on several sub/super structures and are related to memory in that as engagements are taking place if certain conditions are repeatedly met and the compatibility between two individuals to communicate exists, the possibilities then enlarge and allow other types of roles, institutions, situations to come about.

“In behavior-based Artificial Intelligence the modules that are defined are behavior producing. Typically these modules might be an obstacle avoidance behavior, standing up behavior, a gaze control behavior, etc. The components directly participate in producing behaviors such as avoiding obstacles, standing up, controlling gaze, etc. Intelligent functionality of the system, such as perception, planning, modeling, learning, etc., emerges from the interaction of the components.”6

Behaviors are pre-sets of data relationships. Programming then is deterministic (like to think of genetics in this way, but not sure if this is true). Through processing, functioning, learning patterns develop from these behaviors and their interactions. I am curious if the interactions taking place are meant to be between conditions/response or between one another (i.e., relationships made between modules). Are emergent behaviors deterministic, do they evolve?

Instead of biological references being made in robotics or networks (emulation of behaviors), this indicates possibility for technological adaptation of existing biological models for computation methods. The question then, is if biologic is being used, and resulting behaviors are investigated, do they retain their bio-functionality? Are these behaviors really computed or just expressions of what biology has been doing all along, and if so, are they synthetic or abstractions of existing models.

There is an indication of control in environmental factors to affect internal processing. (I/O relativity to environmental variations). However, if a system is reflecting changes in output in terms of input, where models are initiated at fixed starting point, is learning really possible? If changes in environment = changes in processing then there are equilibral development, seems that biological functions would reflect some, but not all, of environmental changes and have marked differences in system failures or successes.

Intelligence for one system and environment is not true for different system in same environment. Intelligence may be emerging as ability to produce (accuracy, effectiveness) behavior appropriate to conditions. However, non-appropriateness may lead to other forms of cognition. Where and how is intelligence valued? It is important to understand complexity of sub-processing in module interactions in defining behavior sets. I am curious what research child development, behavior modification, and pharmaceutical technology has been done in determining intelligence as effect of systems theory.

“Can no more explain an ontogenetic sequence of outcome by attributing it to a developmental system than by saying that it was meant to happen, was once useful, or is universal in a species or groups of species. Casual explanations require the analysis of relations within the system, the identification of combinations of factors necessary or sufficient for constancy and variation in particular events.”7

Therefore, genetical production is detracted from relative aspects of external sources, that essentially understanding the mode of operation within a culture or subsystem of environment (events that are happening, localization) is going to indicate why what develops is going to develop. I interpret this to mean that it is not genes, or traits, that make decisions so much as how well the developmental system they are derived from has survived. And that genes, and traits, are simply utilities between different historical contexts.
Genetics then becomes a system of making relationships between what previous knowledge predicates with current expectations. While we make attempts to define or we have presumptions about behaviors, it always comes to down to an empty unknowing in determining what the reason for gene encoding. Because we cannot find a source, we create false representations of ourselves (god, creation, divine, demons) to then create theories of practical science. Genetic science, or divinity studies, is really a psychological impairment of feeling inadequate.

“Behavior is a relational phenomenon that we, as observers, witness between organisms and environment. Organism’s range of possible behavior is determined by its structure. This structure specifies its realms of interaction. ‘Structures that develop independently of the peculiarities of their histories of interaction are instinctive’ and ‘but if the structures develop only if there is a particular history it is learned.”8

The production of behavior as relative to environmental affects seems to preclude anything to do with independence. In some sense all structural patterns will have a history and particular. The example of a baby suckling its mothers breast as instinctive I think is a good example of this, because the breast is the environment and the structure is changing (i.e. behavior being observed) based on structures which developed from all of human development.

How does this change or affect the function of a system during observation? Maturana describes the observer as conscious of observation and therefore unable to make prediction, which sort of creates a paradox in some ways in that you are observing your course of action so you should be able to control/predict what is happening but I don’t think this so. What is necessary is what is present in a given context in relation to our position to stimulus, but haphazardness still would require something to make it applicable or existent. Objects are able to make relationships between something that is unnecessary and our particular viewpoint. It seems to me that functioning would be dependant on the relationships we make, and that this in turn affects our structure.


1)O’Regan, K. and Noe, A. (2001). A sensorimotor account of vision and visual consciousness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences (2001) 24(5).(

2,3)Kirsh, D. (1995). The Intelligent Use of Space. Artificial Intelligence, 73, 31-68. (Http://

4)Lenay, C., Canu, S., & Villon, P. (1997, August 25). Technology and Perception: The contribution of sensory substitution systems. 2nd International Conference on Cognitive Technology (CT ‘97). Aizu, JAPAN. (

5)Randall Collins: Sociological Insight: An Introduction to Non-Obvious Sociology (1992)

6)Brooks, R. (1991). Intelligence without reason. MIT artificial Intelligence Laboratory memo 1293

7)Oyama, S. (1985). The ontogeny of information developmental systems and evolution. Cambridge NY: Cambridge University Press Pp73-139

8)Maturana, H.R. & Varela, F.J. (1987) The Tree of Knowledge- the biological roots of human understanding. Boston: Shambhala