self_concepts

Self's foundational abstractions.

Self is a hybrid neuro/symbolic architecture for AGI. At its foundation are seven abstractions upon which all of Self's structure and behavior are built: Concept, Property, Relationship, Ontology, Blackboard, and Agent (plus one more meta abstraction, SelfException). Together with these abstractions are a set of inherent concepts, each of which builds on the foundational abstractions and collectively which provide a common vocabulary at a slightly higher level of abstraction for the purpose of making various important systemic patterns manifest. All of these abstractions are implemented in several different programming languages (Python, Java, C++, and Swift) as well as a set of microservices (which may be deployed to any containerized platform that runs in the cloud as well as on the edge, all orchestrated by Kubernetes). Unit tests for these abstractions may be found here along with a validation suite.

A Slack channel for this project resides at https://booch-self.slack.com

Architectural Principles

There are six principles that shape the architecture of Self's foundational abstractions:

  • Mindful systemic behavior emerges from a constellation of mindless agents.

This is Minsky's concept of The Society of Mind. There are many consequences to this architectural principle, the most important of which are that agents are reified to be the system's elementary units of behavior and so are designed to communicate opportunistially via blackboards (using a pub/sub mechanism) as well as deterministically via a mesh (using peer-to-peer signals and channels).

  • Assume that a system's knowledge of its outer context, the representation of that knowledge, and the knowledge of the system's inner state are incomplete, contradictory, multi-modal, sometimes intractable, and often wrong.

This is Brook's concept of intelligence without representation. There are many consequences to this architectural principle, the most important of which are that embodiment is treated as a necessary reality and that societies of agents are designed to work at different levels of abstractions (in what is called a subsumption architecture), yielding behavior that rises along a spectrum of agency from System 1 to System 2, using Kahneman's concept of Thinking, Fast and Slow.

  • Every system possesses a small set of inherent concepts.

This is Marcus's concept of innateness and is made further manifest with the ontological concepts of Storga, Marjanovic, and Andereasen. There are many consequences to this architectural principle, the most important of which are the presence of a sufficient but necessary set of innate abstractions and mechanisms (sufficient in the sense that they offer a vocabulary expressive enough to address a wide spectrum of domain knowledge and systemic behavior; necessary in the sense that while it can be assumed that every one of these innate concepts could evolve organically , we choose to not wait the several million years - in software time, that is - for a system to evolve them from the void).

  • Strange loops are the catalyst for yielding the illusion of highly complex behavior.

This is Hofstadter's concept first expressed in Godel, Escher, Bach. The primary consequence of this architectural principle is that Self's foundational abstractions are intentionally self-referential, making possible reflective knowledge and reflective action.

  • There must exist a clear separation of concerns between the logical and physical elements of the system.

The primary consequences of this architectural principle are to enable run-time replaceability of agents and ontologies, to make possible the implementation of agents and ontologies in any number of programming languages, to yield relatively transparent placement on and migration of artifacts across the edge and the cloud, and to relegate the complexity of concurrency to be a systemic mechanism, not a local one to which every artifact would have to attend.

  • Assume deployment at scale across an underlying computational fabric that is unreliable and insecure.

The primary consequence of this architectural principle is a decision to use encrypted microservices across containerized artifacts; coupled with the principle of strange loops, this means that - to the greatest degree possible - a system's computational fabric is known to the system itself.

Self Concepts

self_concepts

There are seven abstractions upon which all of Self's structure and behavior are built.

Concept
Property
Relationship
Ontology
Blackboard
Agent

SelfException

Concept

Concept is Self's central abstraction. Everything is a Concept (and even a Concept is considered to be a kind of Concept). The primary responsibilities of a Concept are to name an abstraction and to define its characteristics.

attributes:

    name
    properties

methods:

    addProperty
    removeProperty
    removeAllProperties

    propertyExists
    numberOfProperties

    iterateOverProperties

Attributes are protected so as to ensure a proper separation of concerns between interface and implementation. Type checking of names is not enforced; type checking of properties and property classes are strictly enforced.

Property

Property is a Concept defining a name/value pair. Dictionaries are a common way of representing key/value pairs, but Property is a subtly different abstraction: a Property reifies a name/value relationship, making it possible to define different Property classes and to manipulate individual Property instances. The primary responsibility of a Property is to define some characteristic of another Concept

attributes:

    value

The attribute is protected so as to ensure a proper separation of concerns between interface and implementation. Type checking of value is not enforced.

Relationship

Relationship is a Concept defining the connection between two other Concepts or Concept classes, each edge of which may have its own Properties. The primary responsibility of a Relationship is to define the meaning of how two Concepts or Concept classes are connected to one another.

attributes:

    edge1
    edge2
    edge1Properties
    edge2Properties

methods:

    addPropertyToEdge
    removePropertyFromEdge
    removeAllEdgeProperties

    edgePropertyExists
    numberOfEdgeProperties

    iterateOverEdgeProperties

Attributes are protected so as to ensure a proper separation of concerns between interface and implementation. Type checking of edges, properties, and property classes are strictly enforced.

Ontology

Ontology is a Concept defining a collection of Concepts together with their Relationships. An Ontology is guaranteed to be closed (a Relationship can only refer to a Concept that is part of that Ontology) and complete (a Relationship cannot have a dangling edge). An Ontology is sometimes ephemeral (meaning that its state persists only for the lifetime of its parent) but most often is meant to define a more permanant artifact (one whose state persists across time). The primary responsiblities of an Ontology are to define the vocabulary, the meaning, and/or the state of particular domain.

attributes:

    concepts
    relationships

methods:

    addConcept
    removeConcept
    removeAllConcepts

    conceptExists
    numberOfConcepts

    iterateOverConcepts

    addRelationship
    removeRelationship
    removeAllRelationships

    relationshipExists

    numberOfRelationships

    iterateOverRelationships

    conceptIsBound
    numberOfUnboundConcepts
    numberOfBoundConcepts

    iterateOverUnboundConcepts
    iterateOverBoundConcepts

Attributes are protected so as to ensure a proper separation of concerns between interface and implementation. Type checking of concepts, relationships, concept classes, and relationship classes is strictly enforced.

Blackboard

Blackboard is a Concept defining a collection of Concepts, each of which is published by an Actor and each to which an Actor may subscribe, such that the publisher and/or the subscriber can be signaled about interesting events concerning that Concept. An Actor may subscribe to a Concept class, such that when an instance of that Concept class is published by some Actor, a subscription to that Concept is made manifest. A Blackboard is guaranteed to be closed subscriptions can only refer to a Concept or a Concept class that is part of the Blackboard). A Blackboard is generally ephemeral (meaning that its state persists only for the lifetime of its parent). The primary responsibility of a Blackboard is to define a bounded context for a society of Actors who wish to collaborate around the state space of a shared collection of Concepts.

attributes:

    concepts
    conceptClasses
    publications
    conceptSubscriptions
    classSubcriptions

methods:

    publishConcept
    unpublishConcept

    publisher
    signalPublisher

    conceptExists
    numberOfConcepts

    iterateOverConcepts

    subscribeToConcept
    unsubscribeFromConcept

    subscribers
    signalSubscribers

    subscribeToConceptClass
    unsubscribeFromConceptClass

    classSubscribers
    signalConceptClassSubscribers

Attributes are protected so as to ensure a proper separation of concerns between interface and implementation. Type checking of concepts, concept classes, publications, and subscriptions are strictly enforced.

Agent

Agent is a Concept defining a self-directed locus of activity. An Agent is an actor that has identify (it can be distinguished among all other Agents), agency (within its bounded context, it exhibits independent activity), concurrency (it carries out its activity in parallel with all other Agents), and state (it can act and react to as well as alter the state of its contex and/or its internal condition). Agents are typically organized into societies that collaborate with one another around the state space of a shared collection of Concepts as defined by a Blackboard; those societies of agents are typically further organized into nearly independent, hierarchical layers. Agents may communicate directly with one another via synchronous and/or asynchronous channels. An Agent is partly emphemeral (meaning that its state is vibrantly active during its lifetime) and partly permanant (meaning that some internal state may be preserved across invocations of the Agent). The concurrent behavior of an Agent is made manifest at deployment; at the logical level, an Agent neither assumes nor provides any intrinsic mechanisms for threading or for synchronization. The primary responsibility of an Agent is to reify an independent activity.

methods:

    activity

    start
    stop
    pause

    isAlive
    status

    signal
    connect

This base class serves to define the essence of every well-formed Agent. As such, its specification is minimal; it is expected to have subclasses that provide attributes, implementations of these base methods, and additional methods. Type checking of parameters, sources, messages, and channels are strictly enforced.

SelfException

SelfException is a class whose instances are used to report on Concepts that are not well-formed or that behave badly. The primary responsibility of a SelfException is to name the dysfunctional behavior.

attribute:

    errorMessage

The attribute is public. Type checking of the error message is not enforced.

Inherent Concepts

inherent_concepts

There are eighty-one abstractions organized in eleven categories that build on Self's foundational abstractions and collectively which provide a common vocabulary at a slightly higher level of abstraction for the purpose of making various important systemic patterns manifest.

Meta Organizational
Identification
Classification
Role
Compositional
Spatial
Temporal
Causal
Relational
Blackboard
Agent

Meta Organizational

Mesh
Model
Society
Layer
Subsystem
System

Mesh is an Ontology representing collaborative fabric among set of agents.

Model is an Ontology representing past/current state.

Theory is an Ontology representing potential/future state.

Society is an Ontology representing a collection of collaborating agents.

Layer is an Ontology representing a collection of societies, all at the same level of abstraction

Subsystem is an Ontology representing a collection of ontologies, agents, and blackboards.

System is an Ontology representing a collection of subsystems that form a whole.

Identification

Identity

AliasFor
IsA

Identity is a Property representing an internal/secret name for a concept.

AliasFor is a Relationship representing an alternate for a concept.

IsA is a Relationship representing that a concept is an instance of another concept.

Classification

AKindOf
SimilarTo
UnlikeA

AKindOf is a Relationship representing that a concept is a subclass of another concept.

SimilarTo is a Relationship representing that a concept shares characteristics with another concept.

UnlikeA is a Relationship representing that a concept has characteristics orthogonal to another concept.

Role

Event/Action/Occurrence
State/Condition
Operator
Instrument
Operand
Resource
Input/Sensor
Output/Acutator
InputOutput

Event is a Concept representing an instance in time/space, typically demarking a state change. Action and Occurrence are alias for Event.

State is a Concept representing an instance or region in a landscape of n-dimentional potentials. Condition is an alias for State.

Operator is a Concept representing an instigator of stateless/stateful activity.

Operand is a Concept representing a target of stateless/stateful activity.

Instrument is a Concept representing a mechanism contributing to stateless/stateful activity.

Resource is a Concept representing finite/infinite material used for stateless/stateful activity.

Input is a Concept representing a Signal entering a system boundary. Sensor is an alias for Input.

Output is a Concept representing a Signal leaving a system boundary. Actuator is an alias for Output.

InputOutput is a Concept representing a Signal entering and leaving system boundary. SensorActuator is an alias for InputOutput.

Compositional

ComponentOf/PartOf
ElementOf
MaterialOf
MemberOf
PortionOf

ComponentOf is a Concept representing a structural part of another concept. PartOf is an alias for ComponentOf.

ChildOf is a Concept representing a product of another concept.

ElementOf is a Concept representing a functional part of another concept.

MaterialOf is a Concept representing an elemental part of another concept.

MemberOf is a Concept representing a community member of another concept.

PortionOf is a Concept representing an quantifiable member of another concept.

Spatial

Location
Position
Orientation

HasContactWith
HasNoContactWith
InteractsWith
NoInteractionWith
EnclosesA
PlacementIn
PlacementWith

Location is a Property representing a named place in logical or physical space.

Position is a Property representing an instance or region in the landscape of three-dimensional space.

Orientation is a Property representing an absolute or relative dirction in three-dimensional space.

HasContactWith is a Relationship representing a concept has direct connection to another concept.

HasNoContactWith is a Relationship representing a concept has no direct contact to another concept.

InteractsWith is a Relationship representing collaborative connection with another concept.

NoInteractionWith is a Relationship representing no collaborative connection with another concept.

EnclosesAs is a Relationship representing concept contains another concept.

Intersects is a Relationship representing concept intersects another concept.

PlacementIn is a Relationship representing an absolute or relative position and/or orientation within another concept.

PlacementWith is a Relationship representing an absolute or relative position and/or orientation to another concept.

Temporal

Date
Time
DateTime

Before
After
CoOccurs

Date is a Property representing an absolute or relative date.

Time is a Property representing an absolute or relative time.

DateTime is a Property representing a date and time.

Before is a Relationship representing a concept precedes another concept in time.

After is a Relationship representing a concept follows another concept in time.

CoOccurs is a Relationship representing a concept is concurrent with another concept in time.

Causal

Goal/Aim/Purpose/Reason
Cause/Stimuli/Factor
Consequence/Result/Response/Effect

PreconditionOf
ConstraintOn

Goal is a Concept representing a desired state. Aim, Purpose, and Reason are aliases for Goal.

Cause is a Concept representing a precipitating concept. Stimuli and Factor are aliases for Cause.

Consequence is a Concept reprsenting the outcome of some causal chain. Result, Response, and Effect are aliases for Consequence.

Relational

Weight
Directed

Describes/Represents/Specifies
Realizes
Satisfies
Delivers
Influences
Encourages
Inhibits

Weight is a Property of a Relationship edge, representing a value-based qualification.

Directed is a Property of a Relationship edge, representing directionality.

Describes is a Relationship representing a concept that describes another concept. Represents and Specifies are aliases for Describes.

Realizes is a Relationship representing a concept that makes manifest another concept.

Satisfies is a Relationship representing a concept that meets the conditions of another concept.

Delivers is a Relationship representing a concept that makes manifest a concept for another concept.

Influences is a Relationshp representing a concept that encourages or inhibits another concept.

Encourages is a Relationship representing a concept that promotes the activity of another concept.

Inhibits is a Relationshp representing a concept that discourages the activity of another concept.

Blackboard

Publication
Subscription

Publication is a Relationship representing the reification of an agent publishing or withdrawing a concept.

Subscription is a Relationship representing the reification of an agent subscribing or unsubscribing a concept or a concept class.

Agent

Source
Message
Parameters
Channel
Status

Source is a Concept representing the reification of a signal source.

Message is a Concept representing the reification of a signal message.

Parameters is a Concept representing the reification of agent method parameters.

Channel is a Concept representing the reification of a connection path.

Status is a Concept representing the reification of agent state.

Self Concepts

Self's foundational abstractions

Self Concepts Info

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