Systematic Political Science


Political Implications of Human Heuristics as the Analogue(s) for an Input Decision Tree for Autonomous Agents

Dallas F. Bell, Jr.

1. Explanation

Heuristics (Greek meaning to discover) is said to involve the exploration of problem-solving techniques which serve to improve performance by self-education. It can be narrowly debated that this process is best described as a methodology or a type of logic for discovery using already existing rules, while heuristics are the rules of discovery. For our purposes, the components that allow and set the parameters of human heuristics or discovery will be examined. An infinite being is omniscient and has nothing to discover but finite beings with self-awareness, humans, can and do heuristically discover.

The heuristic structure can be seen as an analogue (meaning to be similar in structure yet different as in an analogy) for the human creations of robots and other machinery. Those creations are called autonomous agents and will be discussed in the next section of this paper. Autonomous robots and machinery can have the input modeled from a basic human decision tree.

The accuracy of complex human decisions has been questioned by many researchers. Philip E. Tetlock's 2005 book, titled Expert Political Judgment, reported on a two-decade long study of predictions by experts. He had 284 subjects that ranged in status from expert to non-expert. Tetlock collected 82,361 forecasts to be evaluated from his experts, informed non-experts, and uninformed non-experts. The experts barely, if at all, outperformed the informed non-experts. That result was not new. In 1980, J. Scott Armstrong suggested that no matter how much evidence exists that seers do not exist, suckers will pay for the existence of seers.

Jerome Groopman wrote in his recent book, How Doctors Think, that studies indicate as many as 15 percent of hospital patients receive inaccurate diagnoses. Doctors are not generally taught heuristics in medical school. However, doctors are coming to reason from flow charts and algorithms much like computers. This may prevent diagnoses largely based on how often a symptom has been seen or diagnoses made from reluctance to pursue less likely diagnoses from fear of being criticized if inaccurate.

Obviously, as mankind increases epistemologically so will the potential for better performance when applied to his creations.

2. Autonomous Agents

2.1 Humans

Autonomy is a Greek word referring to a state where one gives themselves their own law or is self-governing. Humans are self-aware and have freewill to choose a course of action from various alternatives. The human agent has autonomy in pursuing individual needs within compliance or noncompliance of behavioral parameters or natural law. Those natural laws are widely known as the Decalogue and its subsets. The individual choice of theology will determine how those parameters are accepted or rejected as will be the characteristics of personality, such as love and justice.

Locke saw natural law as epistemologically empirical. The reality of intangible natural law is empirically evident in the efficiency of behavioral compliance with the laws and the inefficiency of behavioral noncompliance with the laws. (Spurious objections to this truth have been analyzed in earlier papers in this series.) Kant argued that an autonomous agent is demonstrated by decisions on a course of action based on morals and autonomous moral agents should not leave moral decisions to authorities or experts.

Autonomous agents are entities in an environment that sense and act on that environment to pursue a purpose. That purpose comes from its programmed drives and goals. An example of non-human biological agents would, of course, be plants and animals. Non-biological examples would be autonomous robots and autonomous machinery.

2.2 Autonomous Robots and Autonomous Machinery

Autonomous robots and machinery are made to perform harmlessly in an environment without continuous human guidance. This might include adapting a new preprogrammed strategy to adjust to the surroundings. The human analogue begins with a computer (brain) with a program and logic gates (neurons). Input is received through the senses by seeing (laser, radar, etc.), hearing (sound and voice recognition etc.), smelling (vapor sampling for molecular profiling technologies), tasting (particle sampling technologies), and feeling (thermal etc.). Those capabilities can be augmented by television, radio, internet, and satellite positioning, etc.

Proprioceptive sensors analyze one's own internal status and are necessary for maintenance. Humans need proprioceptive sensors to balance, i.e. muscles, the vestibular in the inner ear to track the position of the head, and the eyes. Robots and machinery could proprioceptually determine if a battery source is low and needs charging or whether it has parts that are overheating.

A simple decision tree can be created from input as indicated in the following basic examples.

OFF/SLEEP MODE—Continuous -or- scheduled duration

--Monitor circuits (sensors)

--OK -or- not OK

--If not OK repair -or- bypass

--If repair self-solve -or- not self-solve

--If not self-solve seek assistance

ON/AWAKE MODE--On from demand -or- scheduled duration

--On function check circuits (sensors)

--OK -or- not OK

--If not OK (same process as OFF/SLEEP MODE)

--If OK proceed to task -or- not proceed to task due to wait mode

--No problems in tasking -or- problems

--If problems (same steps as if not OK and complete task when the problem is solved)

--If no problems complete task and continue ON MODE -or- start OFF MODE

--If ON MODE begin new task -or- wait mode

--If wait mode refuel -or- not refuel

George A Bekey, sometimes called the father of autonomous robots, would include the concepts of motion in the biological analogue of robots such as swimming, crawling, and walking. Whatever the machinery and its closeness to the human analogue, it is not self-aware nor has freewill. Thus, even types of computers that may handle information fusion, which humans use for morals, cannot understand morality and cannot now or ever be autonomous moral agents in the strict sense of the meaning.

3. Political Implications

--The idea that there are human heuristics, or an art to discovery, indicates intellect. This process is greatly used as an analogue for human design for autonomous agents like robots and machinery. Those manmade creations use human sensory analogues and cannot use the moral analogues. They can never procreate nor have a personality of love and justice, grace and mercy, hope and charity, humor and irony, or worship and joy. Political decisions should take into account those limitations as finite resources are allocated.

--Neuroscience acknowledges personality analogues of humans in the area of study of depressive personality analogues. Matter (atoms and molecules) has no ability or reason to communicate personality characteristics, i.e. love and justice, with other matter unless a designed program is superimposed onto neurons (logic gates) creating self-awareness and thought. The Being of intellect that created humans and other biological autonomous agents would likely have created humans as an analogue of Himself.[Gen. 1:26-28] Such a being would be a God of love.[1 John 4:8, 16] It is described in the Bible that He commended His love toward us as sinners (noncompliant with His Decalogue and its subsets) yet Christ (the only atonement and perfect moral analogue) died for us. [Rom. 5:8] It is only reasonable that man accept salvation and love Him with all our hearts, souls, and minds and love our neighbor as ourselves.[Matt. 22:37-40] Thereby a First World political system can be made possible. Anything less would create inferior and cruel Second World or destructive Third World political systems.

--The creator of humanity would be the God of the first cause of all effects. He would have created with purpose as man creates autonomous agents for a purpose(s). Divine autonomous creations would not have unlimited freedoms nor should finite man desire that destructive possibility. Man's limited epistemological ability allows truth to calibrate the will and avoid harm. Our wills could not be wholly satisfied and joyous apart from knowing the Creator. Looking to other creations for eternal hope would ultimately lead to disappointment but would point to their creator--Almighty God. His Holy Spirit must open man's theological eyes to see, love and bless or the logical concepts [2 Cor. 5:17] will seem foolish, hateful and cursed.[1 Cor. 1:18] (All things being equal i.e. IQ, health, education, chronological age, etc.) Following God's purpose should be recommended because it leads to individual and societal efficiency.

--Hope, from God, explains why humans want the righteous underdog to win as told in the David (a good boy) and Goliath (an evil giant) story.[1 Sam. 17] That intelligent design is contrasted by the Darwinian evolution precept that there is no hope or compassion and the evil giant, Goliath, should have prevailed around 1015 B.C. over the good boy, David. Since we humans are all, at times, righteous underdogs the negative evolution belief causes cognitive dissonance for its followers due to the innate will for the just to survive. Darwinian evolution also vainly opposes other needs such as being loved by family and friends, and receiving affection from acquaintances. Those needs must have positive reinforcement for political cohesiveness and a stable economy. (The J Curve, written by Ian Bremmer, poses a simple model for nation-state stability. In an e-mail exchange between Bremmer and Dallas F. Bell Jr. during August 2007 Bremmer said his model does not account for the variations of gender, IQ, and theological beliefs to include eschatological beliefs.)

--Man's autonomous robots and machinery cannot ever exceed their program potential. Neither can man know or do more than their programs. Unlike the infinite God's creations, finite mankind's creations are subject to the Law of Unintended Consequences. Unintentional consequences always result from a lack of infinite knowledge by the human creator/programmer and may result from the creation not operating as thought when its input was designed. All things consistent with natural law should, in a sense, be considered as truth such as harmonic music and mathematics. They were designed by God and are therefore moral. Then there would not be any divinely created non-moral analogues. This concept may help when defining international laws and pragmatic terms e.g. terrorism. "Morally justified causes for violence (like freedom fighting) if intentionally enacted upon defenseless civilians is terrorism and not moral." (The preceding quote is an excerpt from an e-mail exchange in August 2007 between a representative of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism and Dallas F. Bell Jr.)

Hopefully, the few implications listed heretofore can lead to a greater self understanding and discovery of man's intelligently designed environment.

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