1. bookVolume 12 (2021): Issue 1 (January 2021)
Journal Details
First Published
23 Nov 2011
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
access type Open Access

The Synthesis and Decoding of Meaning

Published Online: 22 Apr 2021
Page range: 26 - 70
Received: 14 Aug 2020
Accepted: 12 Apr 2021
Journal Details
First Published
23 Nov 2011
Publication timeframe
2 times per year

Thinking machines must be able to use language effectively in communication with humans. It requires from them the ability to generate meaning and transfer this meaning to a communicating partner. Machines must also be able to decode meaning communicated via language. This work is about meaning in the context of building an artificial general intelligent system. It starts with an analysis of the Turing test and some of the main approaches to explain meaning. It then considers the generation of meaning in the human mind and argues that meaning has a dual nature. The quantum component reflects the relationships between objects and the orthogonal quale component the value of these relationships to the self. Both components are necessary, simultaneously, for meaning to exist. This parallel existence permits the formulation of ‘meaning coordinates’ as ordered pairs of quantum and quale strengths. Meaning coordinates represent the contents of meaningful mental states. Spurred by a currently salient meaningful mental state in the speaker, language is used to induce a meaningful mental state in the hearer. Therefore, thinking machines must be able to produce and respond to meaningful mental states in ways similar to their functioning in humans. It is explained how quanta and qualia arise, how they generate meaningful mental states, how these states propagate to produce thought, how they are communicated and interpreted, and how they can be simulated to create thinking machines.


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