On 27 Dec 2009, at 23:16, russell standish wrote:

> On Sun, Dec 27, 2009 at 10:54:53AM -0500, John Mikes wrote:
>> I wonder if a 'robot' can produce a "noch nie dagewesen" (Ger. for  
>> brand
>> new) unrelated idea?
> I do know Hod Lipson from the ALife community, but am not familiar
> with this particular piece of research. From  the WIRED article, I
> understand this to be a particular implementation of inductive
> reasoning by machine. It is impressive enough that this is possible,
> but I don't for one minute think that they have approached the
> creative power of a human being. But it certainly feasible that humans
> are really just more so of what this machine does.
> Still, the whole area of machine learning, and minimum length
> description has some very interesting surprises in store, which is why
> I've never bought Colin's argument. For instance John Koza's genetic
> programs have created several electronic circuits, some of which were
> patentable, so fit the requirement of noch nicht dagewesen.

And there is the whole computational learning theory which shows that  
machine learners exists.
Even universal learners exists, but the proofs are necessarily non  
constructive. We cannot recognize such machine even if we are in front  
of them.
There are a lot of amazing theorems in that field. For example the  
theorem of Blum and Blum, which says that there is something  
infinitely (even non computably) more clever (in learning) than any  
machine: a couple of (independent) machines!
Learning machines exist, and the theory explains why we cannot build  
them from scratch. Some form of learning-competence can need  
intrinsically long computations/histories, but once there, they can  

Can a machine find a new thing. Of course, from I said above. Can we  
judge if a machine has find something new? This is hard to say. It is  
even hard to judge this in a definitive way with the discoveries made  
by humans. It would need many formal criteria in a place where  
formalization is difficult. How to define "new", for example. It is a  
relative concept.



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