Hi Kevin,

"Trial and error" describes an approach to learning, and
I think the issue you are getting at is that thinking (i.e.,
reasoning and planning) must be grounded in learning, in
the same way that symbols must be grounded in sensory

This can be understood in terms of the general steps of
brain evolution:

1. sensors -> nerve cells -> actions

2. reinforcement learning of behaviors in response to sensory
   stimuli, including the beginnings of reinforcement values
   such as "eating is good"

3. simulation (i.e., brains processing experiences that are
   not actually occuring) in order to begin solving the
   temporal credit assignment problem (this is the problem
   of reinforcing behaviors when rewards occur significantly
   later than behaviors, and multiple behaviors occur before

4. increasingly sophisticated simulation (planning, simulating
   brains of other animals) and values (social values for

To see how planning fits into learning, consider that when
humans confront novel situations they consciously plan their
behaviors, based on simulated scenarios. As they repeat the
situation and it is less novel, those planned behaviors
become unconscious. Furthermore, those unconscious behaviors
become part of the repitoire for future planning.

This relation between planning and learning is illustrated
by the development of a beginning chess player into a chess
master. A beginner's plans may include as many alternatives
as a master's, but the master's plans are in terms of a
repitoire of behaviors learned through lots of previous plans
and reinforcement.

Note that this analysis is different from Skinner's behaviorism
because it deals with the way an internal mental life (i.e.,
simulation) fits into the learning of behaviors.

Bill Hibbard, SSEC, 1225 W. Dayton St., Madison, WI  53706
[EMAIL PROTECTED]  608-263-4427  fax: 608-263-6738

On Mon, 30 Dec 2002, Kevin Copple wrote:

> Ben Goertzel wrote:
> > Traditional logic-based AI has badly underemphasized the role of trial and
> >error, but I'm afraid you're swinging to the opposite extreme !!
> It has been said that it is easier to bring a wild idea under control than
> to give life into a lame idea, so considering an extreme position may not be
> a bad tactic.
> In further defense of trial and error, I would point out that much or most
> of our human knowledge and progress has been the result of countless random
> trials and errors of others.  If the pre-Columbian Native Americans had a
> strong value for seeking advancement through trial and error, I imagine they
> would have discovered much better archery techniques that would have
> dramatically altered human history.  Would those countless archers have met
> the criteria for AGI?  Surely they would have.  But they apparently lacked
> respect for random trial and error in the pursuit of progress.  Clearly they
> WANTED their arrows to have three times the range, speed and power.  Seems
> this is an obvious case of an AGI (minus the "artificial") that desperately
> needed the random trial and error problem solving method.
> In my life, I have found that various forms of negative feedback often
> taught me an effective lesson, even though I intellectually KNEW the lesson
> beforehand.  As in, "I knew that was a bad idea, tried it anyway, and will
> never again."  I have seen this behavior many times in others as well.  This
> is the type of observation that makes me wonder the extent to which emotion
> is the real driver in our intelligent behavior.  WANTING to succeed often
> seems to be the real factor in success at solving problems.
> What is the pattern matching that occurs in our biological neural nets?  Is
> it not a simple "trial and error," with more dimensions?  To me, seeing a
> pattern in a series of words, images, or numbers in an IQ test is a type of
> trial and error.   I am getting beyond my ability to express myself, at
> least without more energy and time than I have at the moment, but it occurs
> to me that what we perceive as logic in our brains is actually massively
> parallel trial and error processes with emotional reinforcement for success
> or failure.
> I do not want to say that random trial and error is the ultimate form of
> intelligent thought.  Far from it.  But given what nature and humankind have
> achieved with it to date, and that we may not even recognize the extent to
> which it is involved in our own thought, it seems to be an intriguing
> ingredient.  Perhaps artificial trial and error systems can lead us to "pure
> intelligence."  That is, if pure intelligence is not an illusion, a mirage,
> an unachievable holy grail.
> Cheers,
> Kevin Copple
> -------
> To unsubscribe, change your address, or temporarily deactivate your subscription,
> please go to http://v2.listbox.com/member/?[EMAIL PROTECTED]

To unsubscribe, change your address, or temporarily deactivate your subscription, 
please go to http://v2.listbox.com/member/?[EMAIL PROTECTED]

Reply via email to