Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 24

smart person usually has the ability to define his or her
Awareness
goals (including short-, medium-, and long-term goals)
For a system (subject) to be the self-governable, it should
properly and can reach the goals efficiently and effecat least have the following types of awareness:
tively. That is, brains of high-level animals and humans
◆ an awareness of the goals (including short-, medium-,
are both self-governable and intelligent.
and long-term goals) to reach
Although intelligence is not a necessary condition for
◆ an awareness of the current state or situation of the
a system to be self-governable, it is a high-level property
object and that of the environment
of a self-governance system. In addition, results obtained
◆ an awareness of the ways or methods to reach a goal
in AI or computational intelligence may also be helpful
from any initial state of the object.
for constructing governable or self-governable distribAccording to [29], awareness is a relative concept. An
uted systems.
animal may be partially aware, subconsciously aware, or
acutely aware of an event. Awareness may be focused on
an internal state, such as a visceral feeling, or on external
Consciousness
events by way of sensory perception. Awareness provides
We are often confused by the relationship between
the raw material from which animals develop qualia or
awareness and consciousness. Briefly, we may define
subjective ideas about their experience. In computational
consciousness as the wakefulness of a system to some
awareness (CA), we define awareness as a mechanism for
situation. A system is wakeful if it knows, given a certain
obtaining information or materials that are useful for the
situation, what the situation is, what to do, and why. That
users, for other systems, and for other parts of the same
is, consciousness is relatively a high-level awareness.
system to make decisions [30].
For example, a fly may escape when it is aware of some
In recent years, CA has been
change in the environment. This
studied ex tensively [31]-[37].
kind of behavior is reflective and
However, most studies have been
subconscious. By contrast, a boy
application oriented. We think it is
may help his mother wash dishes
A smart way to
necessary to study awareness more
after dinner when he is aware
scientifically to understand the
that his mother needs help. This
govern a society well
awareness mechanism better [30],
behavior is conscious.
is to provide people
[37]. Awareness is very important
Animal brains can be aware
for self-governance. A system canwhile
not conscious, but they are
with good education
not be self-governable if it does not
self-governable. A conscious sysopportunities and to
possess the aforementioned awaretem is more aware of the goal to
reward well-behaved
ness abilities.
reach and/or is more aware of the
The ontology of a distributed
way to reach the goal. That is, a
people.
system can be realized based on
conscious system can have a highawareness. In a brain, for example,
er ability for self-governance.
each neuron functions as an atomA human brain may be conic or a prime awareness unit. One
scious of a goal to reach, and
neuron can be aware of some simple concept and make
moreover, it may be conscious of an efficient way to reach
positive responses when some input patterns belonging
the goal. However, even the human brain is not conscious
to this concept are detected. A group of neurons can funcof the detailed mechanisms for decision making inside
tion as a higher-level awareness unit for representing more
the brain. We call this tacit knowledge [38] because in
complicated concepts. Each awareness unit realizes a conmost cases, we cannot describe clearly what it is. In fact,
cept for the ontology, and all awareness units of different
most concepts defined in the ontology of a self-governable
levels together define the ontology.
system are tacit. They are just the basic materials for
the building-up of higher-level concepts. Both tacit and
explicit concepts are memorized into the system through
Intelligence
learning and evolution.
When talking about self-governable systems, people
usually think intelligence is a necessity. In fact, it is
Relation Between Search and Cybernetics
not. Again, take an animal brain as an example; it is
Search is a process for finding desired solutions, which
self-governable and purposeful, but it is not intelligent.
may not be optimal, from a given problem space. NorHigh-level animals such as wolves and lions show some
mally, search can be considered a cybernetic problem.
cooperative behaviors during hunting. We may guess
Each point in the search space is a candidate solution,
that the brains of these kinds of animals may have a cerand finding the desired solution is to govern the search
tain level of intelligence. If we consider the human brain,
point to move from any initial position toward the
we can see that different goals are usually generated,
desired goal. On the other hand, any problem can be
or more precisely, defined in different time periods. A
24

IEEE Systems, Man, & Cybernetics Magazine A pr il 2015 	



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015

Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover1
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover2
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 1
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Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover3
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