Are You Sublime or Ridiculous?

Sometimes I wonder at the simplicity of us humans. Its often hard to see the simplicity though, when we act in such complex ways, but I think the following describes our ‘behaviour‘ quite succinctly.


Pretty simple huh? Well it looks a bit like this when you draw a graph:

See what I mean? You sate a need, and over time its intensity increases till it starts to get unbearable. Obviously this graph represents my dependency on caffeine, and is based on entirely randomly chosen numbers, scales & so on. But you get the picture? It’s fairly indicative of how we react if we don’t attend to our needs over time.

You may be wondering why (in addition to taking a rather dismal tone in this post) on earth I felt the urge to create such a model. Well the answer is (in addition to giving me a chance to play with gnuplot, mathomatic and \LaTeX all in the one post) that I’m producing the rules to go with the little Freudian drive ontology I showed you in my previous post. There, in the 20-odd lines of N3 notation, I was able to produce a nice little model of our baser urges – what you might call our reptilian heritage :-)

What amuses me is that we can describe such deeply felt aspects of our personalities in such simple terms. I mean, that equation earlier wasn’t that complex was it? It’s not like it needed quaternions or new fields of analysis! It reminds me of a blog post I read a few months back by some guy who’d discovered how to initiate a transition in the state model of his grizzly daughter. Whenever she started to cry, and he or his wife couldn’t console her, they put her into her cot. After a while she forgot why she was crying (remember FSAs are stateless:) and so when they lifted her out of her cot, she immediately thought she’d gotten what she wanted and stopped crying. She’d transitioned from in_cot/[Cry] to the out_of_cot/[Smile] state.  It also made me remember that the common house-fly’s visual navigation algorithm is about as complex as the equation I just gave. It’s not that the algorithm is complex, but that the environment it reacts to is.

So, are you a meaty algorithm, or the pinnacle of god’s creation? Me? I’m just off for a coffee and a fag, before going to sleep. :-)