Colin Hales wrote:
> Hello again Jesse,
> I am going to assume that by trashing computationalism that Marc Geddes 
> has enough ammo to vitiate Eleizer's various predilections.... so... to 
> that end...
> Your various comments (see below) have a common thread of the form "I 
> see no reason why you can't ..X.". So let's focus on reasons why you 
> can't ...X.  These are numerous and visible in real - empirically 
> verifiable physics...let's look at it from a dynamics point of view. In 
> saying 'you can see no reason....' would mean that if you chose a 
> computationalist abstraction level (you mentioned atoms) that you would 
> claim the resultant agent able to demonstrate scientific behaviour 
> indistinguishable from a human.
> I would claim that to be categorically false and testably so. OK. 
> Firstly call the computationalist artificial scientist, COMP_S. Call the 
> human scientist HUMAN_S. Call computationalism COMP. This saves a lot of 
> writing! The test regime:
> HUMAN_S constructs laws of nature tn using the human faculty for 
> observation (call it P) delivered by real atoms in the brain of HUMAN_S. 
> If COMP_S and HUMAN_S are to be indistinguishable then the state 
> dynamics (state vector space) of COMP_S must be as sophisticated, 
> accessible as HUMAN_S and ALSO /convergent on the same outcomes as those 
> of HUMAN_S/. Our test is that they both converge on a law of nature tn, 
> say. Note: tn is a abstracted statement of an underlying generalisation 
> in respect of the distal external natural world (such as tn = ta, a 
> model of an atom). Yes? That is what we do... the portability of laws of 
> nature tn proves that we have rendered such abstractions invariant to 
> the belief dynamics of any particular scientist.. Yes?
> HUMAN_S constructs a model of atoms a 'law of nature' =  ta.  Using that 
> model ta we then implement a sophisticated computational version of  
> HUMAN_S at the level of the model: atoms. We assemble an atomic-level 
> model replica of HUMAN_S. We run the computation on a host COMP 
> substrate. This becomes our COMP_S. We expect the two to be identical to 
> the extent of delivering indistinguishable scientific behaviour. We 
> embody  COMP_S with IO as sophisticated as a human and wire it up....If  
> the computationalist position holds, by definition, the dynamics of 
> COMP_S must be (a) complex enough and (b) have access to sufficient 
> disambiguated information to construct tn indistinguishably from HUMAN_S.
> If computationalism is true then given the same circumstance of original 
> knowledge paucity (which can be tested), A demand for a scientific 
> outcome should result in state-vector dynamics adaptation resulting in 
> the delivery of the same tn (also testable), which we demand shall be 
> radically novel.... If they are really equivalent this should happen. 
> This is the basic position (I don't want to write it out again!)
> ================================================
> I would claim the state trajectory of COMP_S to be fatally impoverished 
> by the model ta. (abstracted atoms). That is, the state-trajectory of 
> COMP_S would fail to consistently converge on a new law of nature tn and 
> would demonstrate instability (chaotic behaviour). Just like ungrounded 
> power supplly voltage drift about, a symbolically  ungrounded COMP_S 
> will epistemically drift about.
> Indeed I would hold that would be the case no matter what the 
> abstraction level: sub-atomic, sub-sub atomic , sub sub sub atomic 
> ...... etc ... the result would be identical. Remember: there's no such 
> 'thing' as atoms...these are an abstraction - of a particular level of 
> the organisational hierarchy of nature. .... also note ... so-called' 
> ab-initio quantum mechanics of the entire HUMAN_S would also fail 
> because QM is likewise just an abstraction of reality, not reality. COMP 
> would claim that the laws of nature describing atoms behave identically 
> to atoms. The model ensemble of ta atoms should be capable of expressing 
> all the emergent properties of  an ensemble of real atoms. This already 
> makes COMP a self-referential question-begging outcome.  HUMAN_S is our 
> observer, made of real atoms. COMP assumes that P is delivered by 
> computing ta when there is no such 'thing' as atoms! Atoms are an 
> abstraction of a thing, not a thing. Furthermore, all the orighinal 
> atoms of HUMAN_S have been replaced with the atoms of the COMP_S substrate.
> What is NOT in law of nature ta is the relationship between the 
> abstraction ta and all the other atoms in the distal world outside 
> COMP_S. (beyond the IO boundary). Assume you supplied all the data about 
> all the atoms in the environment of the original human HUMAN_S used to 
> construct and initialise COMP_S. You know all these relationships at the 
> moment you measured all the atoms in HUMAN_S to get you model 
> established. However, after initialisation, when you run the COMP_S, all 
> relationships of the model with the distal world (those intrinsic to the 
> atoms which the model replaced) are GONE .... 

I can't tell from your exposition whether you are assuming that the external 
world is modelled along with the comp-s or whether the comp-s is provided with 
sensory mechanisms so as to interact with the world.

>the instant the 
> abstraction happens, from that moment on you know NOTHING about the 
> current state of the distal environment...all you have is IO 
> measurements. 

And that's all a human scientist has too - IO measurements by his senses.

>You cannot claim that the model includes all those 
> relationships because you are doing SCIENCE and you cannot a-priori know 
> these....
> That is, the very thing you mention below - interaction between 
> component parts - cannot be claimed to be 100% complete because all the 
> relationships with the distal natural world are GONE - the relationship 
> of the original atoms with space and everything else has been replaced 
> by a model inside a totally different substrate where the relationships 
> are abstracted and cannot even be guessed. They are GONE. You can't 
> replace them because you are doing science and you don't know where the 
> items are, nor do you know their nature - for you are doing science to 
> find that out! The IO is fundamentally degenerately related to the 
> distal world and there is no supervision.
> RE: No free lunch theorem (NFL)
> The scenario around which NFL is constructed is functionally 
> indistinguishable to COMP. Your "machine learning" mission is to choose 
> functions to match measurements, not match laws of nature to 
> observations. The former happens at the periphery (in data). The latter 
> happens in the phenomenal consciousness of an appropriately endowed 
> scientist who has a view of the origination of the measurements and can 
> then contextualise them into a law of nature.  There is no a-priori way 
> of distinguishing a 'law of nature' describing the origination of 
> measurements from the measurements themselves. It is impossible to 
> construct such a thing from the peripheral measurements alone....QM 
> degeneracy prohibits that. A function that predicts the behaviour of 
> data is *not a law of nature*. The data in COMP_S arrives, just as it 
> arrives in the NFL scenario... without context - no amount of IO cross 
> correlation restores access to the distal real world- remember the 
> artificial scientist is demanded to be fundamentally unsupervised 
> 'learning' of tn.
> *Game over!*

Don't think so.  I think all your argument shows is that some form of 
is needed for intelligence.  But that doesn't show that computationalism is 
false, only that it's impractical - one has to know to much to duplicate human 
intelligence because it includes duplicating so many relations.  This may be 
true - or it may not.  But it doesn't show COMP-S is impossible in logical or 
nomological sense.


> ======================================
> Note that thios does not mean I hold that an "artificial scientist" is 
> impossible. Far from it: it is my mission in life (artificial general 
> intelligence). I hold that it will not happen with ABSTRACT computation. 
> I aim to build chips with all the REAL molecular electrodynamics in them 
> where everything important to cognition is conserved... It's what my 
> science is about. I am not building a COMP_S. I am building an 
> INORGANIC_S with all the physics in it. Such a creature does NOT do 
> abstract computation (manipulate abstract symbols) Yes there are 
> manipulation of the abstraction called the 'action potential'... but 
> this is < 50% of reality.
> So once again I reiterate: COMP is FALSE, but not in the way you think. 
> It's false as a general claim because it can't simulate a scientist in 
> the act of doing an original scientific act on the a-priori unknown. 
> Indeed the use of the word 'simulate' is an oxymoron. You can't simulate 
> an original scientific act. If an artefact does the science then there 
> is no simulating going on - the act is REAL SCIENCE. Conversely if you 
> get an artefact to simulate a scientific act then it cannot be original 
> (you must have all the knowledge a-priori) ... and therefore, when faced 
> with radical novelty the same agent will fail because ultimately it 
> relied on human supervision - humans defined what novelty looks like.
> This position is not a trivial/simplistic position. It clarifies a great 
> deal in an unexpected way. Throughout this whole discourse it has been 
> the assumption that you can 'simulate' everything. This is almost 
> true.... 99.9999999% true... except for this one special 
> circumstance.... simulating an original scientific act... where 
> simulation is merely meaningless/useless, not wrong!
> A final nuance.
> In claiming COMP to be false now I make the claim based merely on the 
> balance of probabilities - after proper critical argument in respect of 
> design choices. Maybe one day when we've built INORGANIC_S with the 
> full  electrodynamics of real brain material and acquired more knowledge 
> of the possible roles of abstract computation in such an entity - maybe 
> then we'll be in a better position to entertain 100% COMP_S. I doubt it 
> but I'm willing to entertain the possibiltiy d from a vantage point of 
> HINDSIGHT, not assumption.....What I claim is that right now the COMP 
> assumption is a critically inferior choice for very practical, 
> empirically testable reasons. As such COMP is to be eschewed as an AGI 
> design choice. yes COMP can be used to model brain behaviour and the 
> science will be useful... but "COGNITION is COMP" is an invalid stance. 
> It was 50 years ago and it daily grows more erroneous.
> RE: Uploading? IMHO this will be possible with my chips, but impossible 
> with purely COMP chips. It will depend on the existence of imaging 
> systems with sub-molecular-level spatial resolution and on a 
> time-resolution of the order of nano-seconds worst case.. In the interim 
> it may be better to replace your brain with my chips...slowly...and then 
> the rest of the hardware - slowly... you'd end up 100% inorganic, but 
> you would NOT be a COMP entity. This is more doable in the shorter term.
> So I can think of multiple reasons 'why you can't...X'......Thanks for 
> forcing me to verbalise the yet another way...
> regards,
> Colin Hales
> ======================================================
> Jesse Mazer wrote:
>> Colin Hales wrote:
>>> Hi!
>>> Assumptions assumption assumptions....take a look: You said:
>>> "Why would you say that? Computer simulations can certainly produce results 
>>> you didn't already know about, just look at genetic algorithms."
>>> OK. here's the rub... "You didn't already know about...".
>>> Just exactly 'who' (the 'you') is 'knowing' in this statement?
>>> You automatically put an external observer outside my statement.
>> Of course, I was talking about the humans running the program, which I 
>> assumed is what you meant by "you" in the statement "If you could compute a 
>> scientist you would already know everything!" If there is no fundamental 
>> barrier to simple computer programs like genetic algorithms coming up with 
>> results we didn't expect or know about in advance, I see no fundamental 
>> reason why you couldn't have vastly more complex computer programs 
>> simulating entire human brains, and these programs would act just like 
>> regular biological brains, coming up with ideas that neither external 
>> observers watching them nor they themselves (assuming they are conscious 
>> just like us) knew about in advance.
>>> My observer is the knower. There is no other knower: The scientist who gets 
>>> to know is the person I am talking about! There's nobody else around who 
>>> gets to decide what is known... you put that into my story where there is 
>>> none.
>> Like I said, when you wrote "If you could compute a scientist you would 
>> already know everything", I assumed the "you" referred to a person watching 
>> the program run, not to the program itself. But if you want to eliminate 
>> this and just have one conscious being, I see no reason why the program 
>> itself couldn't be conscious, and couldn't creatively invent knew ideas it 
>> didn't know before they occurred to it, just like a biological human 
>> scientist can do.
>>> A genetic algorithm (that is, a specific kind of computationalist 
>>> manipulation of abstract symbols) cannot be a scientist. Even the 'no free 
>>> lunch' theorem, proves that without me adding anything....
>> No it doesn't. The free lunch program only applies when you sum over all 
>> possible fitness landscapes, most of which would look completely random 
>> (i.e. nearby points on the landscape are no more likely to have nearby 
>> fitness values than are distant points--see the diagram of a random fitness 
>> landscape in section 5.3 of the article at 
>> ), whereas if you're 
>> dealing with the subclass of relatively smooth fitness landscapes that 
>> describe virtually all the sorts of problems we're interested in (where 
>> being close to an optimal solution is likely to be better than being far 
>> from it), then genetic algorithms can certainly do a lot better than most 
>> other types of algorithms.
>> Anyway, I didn't say that a genetic algorithm can "be a scientist", just 
>> that if "you" are a human observer watching it run, it can come up with 
>> things that you didn't already know. I think a very detailed simulation of a 
>> human brain at the synaptic level, of the kind that is meant when people 
>> discuss "mind uploading" (see ) 
>> should in principle be capable of displaying all the same abilities as the 
>> biological brain it's a simulation of, including scientific abilities. 
>> Anyone who believes in scientific reductionism--that the behavior of complex 
>> systems is ultimately due to the sum of interactions of all its parts, which 
>> interact in lawlike ways--should grant that this sort of thing must be 
>> possible *in principle*, whether or not we are ever actually able to achieve 
>> it as a technical matter.
>>> but just to seal the lid on it....I would defy any computationalist 
>>> artefact based on abstract symbol manipulation to come up with a "law of 
>>> nature" ...
>> I take it you reject the idea that the brain is an "artefact" whose 
>> large-scale behavior ultimately boils down to the interaction of all its 
>> constituent atoms, which interact according to laws which can be 
>> approximated arbitrarily well by a computer simulation? (if space and time 
>> are really continuous the approximation can never be perfect, but it can be 
>> arbitrarily close)
> > 

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED]
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED]
For more options, visit this group at

Reply via email to