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Perceptual Control and Human Data Fusion

1. Introduction

2. Modes of Perception

3. Perceptual Control Introduction

4. Perceptual Control and imagination

5. Hierarchic Perceptual Control

6. Multiple data sources

7. Learning and Conflict

8. The Bomb in the Hierarchy

9. Degress of Freedom in the individual

10. Degrees of Freedom in the organization

11 Modes of Perception (Reprise)

12. Side Effects and Military intelligence

13. Communication

Outline: Human Data Fusion

1. Introduction to concepts of Perceptual Control Theory.
2. The Perceptual Control Hierarchy: Conflict and Learning.
3. Information overload and modes of human perception.
4. Side Effects of Perceptual Control: Stealth and Deception.
5. Communication between "intelligent" entities

This report is an annotation of slides used in a presentation to the Joint Directors of Laboratories seminar on Data Fusion, at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, June 14, 1993. It considers the data fusion problem from the viewpoint of a psychological theory called Perceptual Control Theory (PCT), initially proposed about 40 years ago by W. T. Powers (ref: Behavior—the control of perception, Aldine, 1973). PCT seems well suited to the analysis of Command and Control systems, and to the data fusion issues that arise in C2 systems.

The fifth section of the talk was prepared for delivery, but was not presented. The slides and annotations are, however, included in this report.

Why consider Human Perception?

  • Humans have evolved in a competitive world, and are likely to have developed efficient solutions to problems of survival.
  • Many survival problems are based on mathemathematical facts that apply equally to the human and to the army in the field.
  • Perceptions are the only knowledge a human (including a commander) has of the state of the world. All actions (including commands) are, in the end, devoted to attaining or maintaining perceptions at desired states.

The problem facing a military commander is very like the problem faced by any biological organism—the effective and efficient use of resources in an environment that contains competitors and enemies, as well as opportunities. Over the long period of evolution, biological organisms have developed very effective techniques for dealing with the challenges of life, and it may be very helpful to the military to understand something of these techniques and their possible application to C2 systems.

The central fact of life is that an organism has no information about the state of the world, its threats and its opportunities, except what it acquires through its sensor systems and converts into its perceptions. A biological organism, such as a human being, incorporates a first-class data fusion system.