Artificial neural networks were inspired by biological neural networks found in brains. Brain function, cognition and consciousness are all many orders of magnitude more complex than mere neural networks, so when I speak here of neural functions it must be understood that I am talking of a small subset of our hypothetical mental toolkit.
I am not an expert on biology, but I studied artificial neural networks in some depth as part of one of my degrees (albeit many years hence - I don't claim to be up to date on the field!) Here are some key properties:
- A single neural network processes a complex signal to simple outcomes - perhaps an image to a true or false outcome; a collection of data to a category. Let us call this system a processor - it turns complex signal into more simple signals, and presumably in the biological analogue the simpler signals corrolate to actions.
- Two neural networks connected to each other form an associative memory. In essence, one can teach such a system to remember signals - and once taught, even a fraction of the original signal is sufficient for the complete signal to be restored. I believe this is a principle component of human memory: interconnected neural networks functioning as a neural network. Let us call this system a memory.
- The storage capacity of a neural network is proportional to the number of neurons. The human brain has 100 billion (US) or 1011 neurons. (Just for reference).
- Neural networks have a particular capacity; when this capacity is exceeded, it is called saturation - signals within the network become confused and unpredictable. (I contend this is related to senility in biological organisms).
- Neural networks consist not just of the neurons, but their connections. The more interconnections in a neural network, the more complex proceses can be rendered. (A memory system, incidentally, thrives on a simple connectivity scheme.)
I am identifying these two functions of neural networks - processor systems and memory systems to speculate a connection between two of the four temperaments in Temperament Theory, namely Artisan (Tactical skillset) and Guardian (Logistical skillset).
(Incidentally, I contend that one way to look at Temperament Theory is to consider not which of the four patterns is paramount for an individual, but to determine which Sensing pattern - Artisan and Guardian - is paramount, and which Intuitive pattern is paramount - Rational and Idealist. This is just another model; pay it no especial heed. I mention it to explain that one can decompose Temperament Theory in certain ways).
The Tactical skills of the Artisan temperament may draw from the power of processor systems. People who strongly express Artisan have especial competence at, among other things, machine simulations - this might reflect the influence of processor systems in their neural architecture.
The Logistical skills of the Guardian temperament may draw from the power of memory systems. People who strongly express Guardian have especial competence at, among other things, remembering trivia (indeed, trivia games appear to be beloved by those who strongly express Guardian).
What of the remaining two Temperaments of this model? Both are dominated by the Intuitive function, whcih I believe might be related to the degree of interconnectivity in biological neural networks. Greater interconnectivity allows for signals to cross pollinate (I relate this to intuition) - but it also causes crosstalk which confuses one signal with another (I relate this to paranoia and schizophrenia).
Although I have no firm hypothesis for the value-oriented bias of the Idealist versus the logic-oriented bias of Rational, I believe both might be related to a higher degree of interconnectivity between neural networks - that is, whereas Artisan and Guardian represent the strengths of isolated neural structures, Rational and Idealist might represent interconnectivity of neural structures. Thus:
- The Strategic skills of the Rational temperament may draw from the interconnectivity of processor systems with memory systems, perhaps with memory systems dominating. Logical patterns are drawn. The more the Rational temperament is expressed, the greater neural connectivity would thus be implied (and thus the greater risk of descent into paranoia or schizophrenia).
- The Diplomatic (and Abstracting) skills of the Idealist temperament might also result from interconnectivity, but of a different kind - perhaps it results from interconnecting memory systems with processor systems, but with processor systems dominant. Since I am still studying this skillset, I am uncertain what to speculate here. But the more the Idealist temperament is expressed, the greater neural connectivity would thus be implied (but because of the importance of value systems, the risk might of descent into schizophrenia may be greater than the risk of paranoia).
But this is pure speculation. An Exercise for the Reader
An Exercise for the Reader
Nothing contained in this post should be mistaken for truth or Truth. Thank you for respecting my right to speculate.
The opening image is Cosmic Neural Network, by Shoshanah Dubiner taken from Cybermuse. As ever, no copyright infringement is intended, and I will take the image down if asked.