On Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 2:11 AM, Colin Geoffrey Hales <cgha...@unimelb.edu.au
> wrote:

> ** **
> ** **
> *From:* everything-list@googlegroups.com [mailto:
> everything-list@googlegroups.com] *On Behalf Of *Jason Resch
> *Sent:* Thursday, 7 July 2011 4:16 PM
> *To:* everything-list@googlegroups.com
> *Subject:* Re: COMP refutation paper - finally out****
> ** **
> ** **
> On Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 10:22 PM, Colin Geoffrey Hales <
> cgha...@unimelb.edu.au> wrote:****
> Hi Richard et. al.,
> Wow that thread just keeps on going!
> I am designing chips that do what the brain does. There is ZERO
> computing. The use of the chips is, I believe a viable source of
> empirical verification of the claims of the kind that have been
> discussed in this thread, insofar as any practical outcomes speak to
> that end. Rather than talk about it, I'd rather just build them and
> start using them.
> I'd like to make an interesting (at least I think, anyway) observation.
> AGI is a case of technology design, unlike any other design in the
> history of technology engineering, in the construction of an artificial
> version of a natural phenomenon, the original physics of the natural
> phenomenon (the activity found in a brain) has been discarded, yet the
> natural phenomenon is expected to occur!****
> The telephone enables conversations to occur over a digital, informational
> medium, discarding the original physics of the direct vibration from one
> person's mouth to the other's ear.  With the appropriate wiring, sound and
> vibration could be eliminated altogether, using sensors in the throat
> muscles to determine speech (
> http://www.cerebralpalsylawdoctor.com/technology/sensor-based-system-could-help-sufferers-of-cerebral-palsy.html)
>  and replacing the headphone with wires connected directly to one's
> cochlea.  When it comes to information transmission, storage, processing,
> there are many physical substitutes and possible instantiations.
>  ****
> Consider if such an approach had been adopted in the case of the
> creation of 'artificial fire'. Gronk the ancient hominid has pushed a
> rock into a clearing and carefully painted flames on the side of the
> rock. Gronk then erects meat on a spit over the pretend flames and waits
> for the feast to be cooked. The physics of fire has been replaced by the
> physics of a rock. In the modern approach to AGI, in exactly the same
> way, the physics of cognition has been replaced by the physics of a
> slightly more complicated, hotter rock: a semiconductor chipset. Instead
> of the flames drawn on the rock, we have drawn the program in the
> chipset. Just like Gronk we await our meal of AGI. After 60 years, we
> are still waiting. What delusion has us believing it ever will?****
> What Gronk wanted was the experience of a warm meal.  This can be achieved
> without the need for any meal at all, as our dreams show is possible, and in
> the same way a flight simulator can provide the experience of flight without
> leaving the ground.  What leads you to believe the material in the brain
> must contain only particals having certain chemical or nuclear bonds?  In
> the end, that is the only difference between the material in the brain and
> the material in a rock or a computer chip.  After all, they are all made of
> quarks and electrons.  Saying thought is only possible with certain
> biological material is like saying flight is only  possible with feathers.
> With flight, it is the design and organization of the matter which is
> important to getting off the ground.  The same is claimed by
> computationalism regarding thought.
> Also, to expect AGI with the machines of today, (never mind those of 60
> years ago) is like expecting a pocket calculator to render the movie
> Avatar.  I've estimated that just to store the connections of all the
> synapses in the human brain would require about 50,000 TB (nevermind the
> processing that would be required).  Our technology is, however, quickly
> closing in on these levels of storage and processing.  With the current rate
> of growth these levels will be met within a few decades.
> Any regular user of the Internet knows how difficult it is to read
> CAPTCHA's, I struggle to correctly enter them all the time, take a look at
> Google's: https://www.google.com/accounts/DisplayUnlockCaptcha
> They are so difficult today because AI capable of recognizing text is that
> advanced.  As AI advances in little steps the domain of what we consider
> requires *true *intelligence is continually shrinking.  If you had a time
> machine to go back to the 1970s and you told them everything AI has
> accomplished they would think we were most of the way there, with our voice
> recognition, automatic translation, self driving cars, automated credit card
> fraud detection and classification of commercial junk e-mail, artificial
> grandmaster chess players, and so on.  These are tremendous accomplishments,
> and that its taken 60 years to get this far is nothing to scoff at when you
> consider it took nature billions of years to get to us.  General
> intelligence is just a very big collection of specialized intelligences, it
> is not a binary thing that you either have or do not (in my opinion).
>  ****
> You can list example after example of the implementation of artificial
> human technology that can be expressed in the same way (eg flight, the
> wheel, telephone, transport, power generation, lightning, the lightbulb
> ..etc etc). In some technology, computation has been very successfully
> included in the causal chain that implements the technology. However, in
> terms of the artificial instigation of a natural phenomenon, there is no
> instance where a model successfully eliminated the natural physics
> underlying it. Indeed the idea itself would be thought very odd.
> Yet in AGI that is what we have been doing for 60 years. It is possible
> to see that an exceptionless chain of hundreds/thousands of years
> successful technology development (and related science) outcomes now
> has, in the modern era, one exception. It is the only instance where we
> humans have decided to pretend to create a human technology: AGI. In AGI
> design, without exception, we have chosen to use computers and
> computing. Indeed such is the pervasiveness of it, if you suggest to AGI
> designers that failure will ensue in the same way that computed fire is
> not fire, you will elicit incredulity.****
> When you feel pain from sticking your hand in a fire, is it because the
> chemical effects of heat have reached your brain, or is it because the nerve
> signal has been communicated to your brain?  What is to prevent part of this
> signal propagation from being substituted with some other implementation,
> such as fiber optic cable?  How far up into the brain can this swapping be
> done before it no longer burns?****
> ** **
> Hi,****
> ** **
> You have missed the point. When you feel pain in your hand your are feeling
> it because the physics of specific specialized small regions of the cranial
> central nervous system are doing things.

Yes, they are passing signals back and forth, performing additions,
multiplications, and comparisons to thresholds to decide what to do.
Everything the neuron is known to do is something a computer can do.  It is
like comparing a diesel engine to a gasoline engine, they are made slightly
differently yet both perform combustion.

> This includes (1) action potentials mutually resonating with (2) a gigantic
> EM field system in extremely complex ways. *Exactly how and why this
> specific arrangement of atoms and behaviour delivers it is irrelevant. It is
> enough to know that it does*. More than that it is the ONLY example of
> natural cognition we have.

I fail to see what the EM field has to do with it, but even assuming it did,
could we not use what is known regarding EM fields and the laws of physics
to build a model which predicted what the EM field based mind would do?  If
they behaved the same how can one be called intelligent while the other is

> ****
> ** **
> The whole point of this argument is that unlike any other time in the
> history of science, we are expecting the particular physics (that we know
> delivers  cognition) can be totally replaced (by the physics of a computer
> or even worse, a non-existent Turing machine) , yet still result in
> cognition. ****
> ** **
> If you believe that computed physics equations is indistinguishable from
> physics, to the point that a computed model of the physics of cognition is
> cognition, then why don’t you expect a computed model of combustion physics
> to burst into flames and replace your cooker?

You are conflating the inside and outside views of the computer and
simulation.  If I built an accurate simulation of the food, the cooker, and
myself in a computer, then the computer is a fine tool for preparing and
cooking food for me to consume.  Similarly, if you imagine our universe is
already running inside a computer, don't expect a fire you start in this
universe to cause any damage to the computing hardware running the
simulation of that universe.

> Why can’t you go to work in a computed model of a car that spontaneously
> springs into your life? Why don’t you expect to be able to light your room
> with a computed model of the physics of a lightbulb? Why can’t you compute
> Maxwell’s equations and create a power station?

The point is I can if I am in the simulation as well.  A simulated mind is
part of the simulation, and correspondingly would be able to think, just as
a fire within a simulation could burn you (if you're in the simulation).

> ****
> ** **
> Here’s the mantra (a) “COGNITION IS COMPUTATION”****
> ** **
> Well if so, then why isn’t ILLUMINATION BY LIGHT a result of COMPUTATION OF
> LIGHTBULB PHYSICS? That would be the prediction if (a) were true. A
> computation of hurricane physics is not a hurricane. But then nobody wants
> to create a hurricane, nor do we expect the computation to produce one!.....
> *But* we *do* want to literally create cognition...and we do then, for no
> valid reason, assume that computation delivers it. We are being inconsistent
> and a fundamental level. We build Pinocchio the computational puppet and kid
> ourselves it’s somehow a boy.

Would you say when a computer is performing a calculation, it is really
adding or only simulating the adding?  Next, consider that addition is the
heart of what neurons do to determine their behavior.

> ****
> ** **
> A computer is not a set of resonating action potential/electromagnetic
> fields of the kind found in a brain, not matter what the program is. I know
> this because I am an electrical engineer+neurobiophysicist. You cannot argue
> that the result is cognition without making a dramatic
> presupposition/conflation about computing of the kind that creates this mess
> in the first place.

Do you think it is impossible to understand or predict the EM fields created
in the brain?

> ****
> ** **
> This is the logical result of that belief. We have the natural world to
> work with (atoms and space). That’s our computer.  Either the (Turing)
> computational equivalence applies everywhere or it doesn’t apply at all.
> Therefore it doesn’t apply at all. ****
> ** **
> *We can’t have it both ways*.****

The reason results of cognition are accessible through simulation is that
the output is information.  Thus we can introspect the program and determine
what the mind is doing, wants to do, or has decided.  If we introspect a
simulation of fire, we can see the result of the reaction, but we cannot
extract the energy released as part of that simulation for any useful
purpose in this (higher level universe), although if you are in the
simulation you could.


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