So I'm modelling conscious thoughts with 'perceptrons' and lower level thoughts with 'sensations' - which are fired automatically by 'receptors'. But at what point do sensations fire a perceptron?
If you touch something hot the sensation quickly gets upgraded to a perceptron - Ouch! Some receptors have a deservedly high priority - but what about more subtle sensations that need to coagulate and mingle before finally firing? - hmmm .... tricky.
Douglas Hofstadter conjures an amazing metaphor in his book, "I am a Strange Loop" to describe this process. He likens the human brain to a frictionless snooker table where tiny balls, called sims (small interacting marbles) constantly career into each other. Some sims bounce off each other, while others may stick together and form larger 'simmballs'. He suggests that consciousess emerges from the simms amd simmballs crashing around what he coins the 'careenium'.
I like the idea! So does The Goo need a careenium? Well currently I'm programming a 'See' Sensation to find filenames in emails, comments, web pages etc. Take this for example: Login.pm. Most of you will recognise this as a filename. The "." visual sensation, the mixed case, and the filename suffix (.pm) all combine to give this impression. But is that enough to fire a perceptron? Are there enough simms (i.e., sensations) for a simmball?
If you're a Perl programmer you will "see" a Perl module thanks to the ".pm" suffix and your mental model of what it is to be a Perl module. But this still may not be enough for a perceptron to fire. If Login.pm appears in an email from your boss, however, he may be referring to the Login.pm module that you wrote and suddenly there is a mental collision between your environment - the display of Login.pm in pixels on your screen and your internal simmball for Login.pm. Pop! And a perceptron is born -> Login.pm.
The firing process, in this example, is a combination of your current context, your memory (the trail) and the sensory forces in your environment (communicated via receptors). There's lots to do so back to implementing but for version one I'll settle for a very simplistic careenium.