Good Morning. Thank you all for coming today.
I will be speaking today about some clarifications of the basic functions of my department, officially known as Head Quarters. Many common terms about humans and their “mind”—self-aware, highly intelligent, idealistic, i—indicate misunderstandings of how Head Quarters operates. My hope is that the human Units we are responsible for will benefit from less lofty and more precise concepts of how HQ coordinates their functions.
I will begin with our Mission and basic operations. Head Quarters’ mission is to keep the Unit functioning and to prepare a replacement Unit to carry on after the present one becomes inactive. Different operations needed to carry out this mission are indicated on diagram here of Head Quarters’ various departments. HQ continuously interprets streams of data that come in from around the Unit’s Network. It receives especially detailed data from the hands, mouth, and tongue. Data from external sounds and light sources arrive from the two pair of audio and visual receivers located adjacent to Head Quarters. Other data is handled routinely in round-the-clock monitoring of the Unit’s internal conditions, including levels of fuel, water, waste build-up, oxygen, and blood flow. Together with Lower Quarters, Head Quarters coordinates the processing of food intake.
The data is stored in Archives. Data that is retrieved often can be easily accessed. Older and background data can decay and is difficult to access accurately, if at all.
Head Quarters is closed for business about a third of the time every twenty-four hours in order to perform such functions as offline consolidation, re-sorting of Archives, and resource replenishment.
Head Quarters implements certain Conditions—C-States—that bring on mild or intense sensations in the Unit for various lengths of time. Such Conditions trigger behaviors that are considered to support the Unit’s well-being in the short or long run. They are brought on by changes in the Unit’s surroundings, often by the presence or behavior of other Units.
Examples of common C-States include:
C-Joy, an energized state, short-lived but recurring, often activated by and reinforcing successful interactions with other Units;
C-Sadness, a low-energy condtion in which the Unit tends to withdraw from activity to recover from a setback;
C-Pain, a distressing state in part or all of the Unit that signals injury or dysfunction;
C-Arousal, the set of conditions leading to copulation; and
C-Anger, an energized state in anticipation of physical conflict with hostile Units.
A major portion of Head Quarters’ operations is the tracking of other Units. A few of these Other Units, or O-Units, have exchanged signals with Head Quarters since it first began functioning. They go by various generic indicators: mother, father, sister, parents. Archives contains full records about them. Additional O-Units are encountered frequently but briefly and are less familiar.
All O-Units are continuously assessed for how they are probably assessing this Unit. Assessments in both directions are made as to whether an O-Unit seems friendly, trustworthy, indifferent, a possible sexual partner, higher or lower in status. For reasons of safety, O-Units are crudely classified as friendlies, neutrals, or hostiles. HQ views the formation and preservation of alliances as an essential component of Unit well-being. To this end, the smile expression and the laughter sound are important but not fully reliable signals.
Head Quarters is very skilled in the use of sounds to exchange information. The structure of this complex sound code is in place early in every Unit’s functionality. The sound code is in almost constant use between Units. It enables unit to communicate about items that are physically present or out of sight, in the past or anticipated in the future. Such topics include strategies for food procurement, the expression of C-States, and the behavior of O-Units. The code is compelling and often runs silently within Head Quarters itself. A visual version of the code is also in common use.
The code includes identification markers for all Units. Early in their functionality, each Unit receives a set of two markers, one that indicates its Unit group, the other indicating the Unit itself and its gender. An example is Petersen, a group marker, preceded by Mary, a female member. The Mary Petersen Unit identifies itself as Mary Petersen as well as I and me depending on the situation, and the Mary Petersen’s HQ continually reviews the Mary Petersen past, the assessments of Mary Petersen by O-Units, and the optimal plans and schedules for Mary Petersen.
Cumulatively, these processes result in the formulation of, and the belief in, what are known as Mary Petersen’s self and her life.
In conclusion, the multiple and multi-level processes coordinated by HQ are demanding. While every Unit operates in the present, it must constantly attend to the past and the future as well. Head Quarters is a forward-looking instrument—flexible, capable, in constant adjustment as the present moment changes and changes again. For the well-being of the Unit, no single time frame is secure or complete without consideration of the other two.
Thank you for your attention. I’ll take questions.