[mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Jason Resch
Sent: Tuesday, 29 May 2012 3:45 PM
Subject: Re: Church Turing be dammed.
On Tue, May 29, 2012 at 12:21 AM, Colin Geoffrey Hales
Here's a story I just wrote. I'll get it published in due course.
Just posted it to the FoR list, thought you might appreciate the sentiments....
It's 100,000 BCE. You are a politically correct caveperson. You want dinner.
The cooling body of the dead thing at your feet seems to be your option. You
have fire back at camp. That'll make it palatable. The fire is kept alive by
the fire-warden of your tribe. None of you have a clue what it is, but it makes
the food edible and you don't care.
It's 1700ish AD. You are a French scientist called Lavoisier. You have just
worked out that burning adds oxygen to the fuel. You have killed off an
eternity of dogma involving a non-existent substance called phlogiston. You
will not be popular, but the facts speak for you. You are happy with your day's
work. You go to the kitchen and cook your fine pheasant meal. You realise that
oxidation never had to figure in your understanding of how to make dinner. Food
for thought is your dessert.
It is 2005 and you are designing a furnace. You use COMSOL Multiphysics on your
supercomputer. You modify the gas jet configuration and the flames finally get
the dead pocket in the corner up to temperature. The toilet bowls will be well
cooked here, you think to yourself. If you suggested to your project leader
that the project was finished she would think you are insane. Later, in
commissioning your furnace, a red hot toilet bowl is the target of your optical
pyrometer. The fierceness of the furnace is palpable and you're glad you're not
the toilet bowl. The computation of the physics of fire and the physics of fire
are, thankfully, not the same thing - that fact has made your job a lot easier,
but you cannot compute yourself a toilet bowl. A fact made more real shortly
afterwards in the bathroom.
It is the early 20th century and you are a 'Wright Brother'. You think you can
make a contraption fly. Your inspiration is birds. You experiment with shaped
wood, paper and canvas in a makeshift wind tunnel. You figure out that certain
shapes seems to drag less and lift more. Eventually you flew a few feet. And
you have absolutely no clue about the microscopic physics of flight.
It is a hundred years later and you are a trainee pilot doing 'touch and go'
landings in a simulator. The physics of flight is in the massive computer
system running the simulator. Just for fun you stall your jetliner and crash it
into a local shopping mall. Today you have flown 146, 341 km. As you leave the
simulator, you remind yourself that the physics of flight in the computer and
flight itself are not the same thing, and that nobody died today.
No-one ever needed a theory of combustion prior to cooking dinner with it. We
cooked dinner and then we eventually learned a theory of combustion.
No-one needed the deep details of flight physics to work out how to fly. We
few, then we figured out how the physics of flight worked.
This is the story of the growth of scientific knowledge of the natural world.
It has been this way for thousands of years. Any one of us could think of a
hundred examples of exactly this kind of process. In a modern world of
computing and physics, never before have we had more power to examine in
detail, whatever are the objects of our study. And in each and every case, if
anyone told you that a computed model of the natural world and the natural
world are literally the same thing, you'd brand them daft or deluded and
probably not entertain their contribution as having any value.
Well almost. There's one special place where not only is that very delusion
practised on a massive scale, if you question the behaviour, you are suddenly
confronted with a generationally backed systematic raft of unjustified excuses,
perhaps 'policies'?, handed from mentor to novice with such unquestioning faith
that entire scientific disciplines are enrolled in the delusion.
Q. What scientific discipline could this be?
A. The 'science' of artificial intelligence.
It is something to behold. Here, for the first time in history, you find people
that look at the only example of natural general intelligence - you, the human
reading this - accept a model of a brain, put it in a computer and then expect
the result to be a brain. This is done without a shred of known physical law,
in spite of thousands of years of contrary experience, and despite decades of
abject failure to achieve the sacred goal of an artificial intelligence like us.
This belief system is truly bizarre. It is exactly like the cave person drawing
a picture of a flame on a rock and then expecting it to cook dinner. It is
exactly like getting into a flight simulator, flying it to Paris and then
expecting to get out and have dinner on the banks of the Seine. It is exactly
like expecting your computer simulated furnace roasting you a toilet bowl.
Think about it. If there was no difference between a computed physics model of
fire and fire, then why doesn't the computer burst into flames? If there was no
difference between a computed model of flight and flight, then why doesn't the
computer leap up and fly? These things don't happen! Not only that, any
computer scientist would say you were nuts to believe it to be a possibility.
Then that same computer scientist will then got back to their desk, sit down
and believe that their computer program can be brain physics.
Now I am all about creating real artificial general intelligence. Call me
crazy, but I find I am unique in the entire world. I am set about literally
building artificial inorganic brain tissue. Like the Wright Bros built
artificial flight. Like the caveperson built artificial fire. I will build
artificial cognition. There will be no computing. There will be the physics of
Ay now here's the rub.
When I go about my business of organising and researching my artificial brain
tissue I get questioned about my weird approach. I find that I am the one that
has to justify my position! For the first time in history a completely systemic
delusion about the relation between reality and computing is assumed by legions
of scientists without question, and who fail constantly to achieve the goal for
clearly obvious reasons..... _and I am the one that has to justify my
approach_? If I have to listen to another deferral to the Church-Turing Thesis
(100% right and 100% irrelevant) I will SCREAM!
I am not saying artificial general intelligence is impossible or even hard. I
am simply suggesting that maybe the route toward it is through (shock horror)
using the physics of cognition (brain material). Somebody out there.....
please? Can there please be someone out there who sees this half century of
computer science weirdness in 100,000 years of sanity? Please? Anyone?
By Colin Hales
Natural physics is a computation. Fine.
But a computed natural physics model is NOT the natural physics....it is the
natural physics of a computer.
I recently read the following excerpt from "The Singularity is Near" on page
"The basis of the strong (Church-Turing thesis) is that problems that are not
solvable on a Turing Machine cannot be solved by human thought, either. The
basis of this thesis is that human thought is performed by the human brain
(with some influence by the body), that the human brain (and body) comprises
matter and energy, that matter and energy follow natural laws, that these laws
are describable in mathematical terms, and that mathematics can be simulated to
any degree of precision by algorithms. Therefore there exist algorithms that
can simulate human thought. The strong version of the Church-Turing thesis
postulates an essential equivalence between what a human can think or know, and
what is computable."
So which of the following four link(s) in the logical chain do you take issue
A. human brain (and body) comprises matter and energy
B. that matter and energy follow natural laws,
C. that these laws are describable in mathematical terms
D. that mathematics can be simulated to any degree of precision by algorithms
Brain physics is there to cognise the (external) world. You do not know the
Your brain is there to apprehend it. The physics of the brain inherits
properties of the (unknown) external world. This is natural cognition.
Therefore you have no model to compute. Game over.
If you have _everything_ in your model (external world included), then you can
simulate it. But you don't. So you can't simulate it. C-T Thesis is 100% right
_but 100% irrelevant to the process at hand: encountering the unknown.
The C-T Thesis is irrelevant, so you need to get a better argument from
somewhere and start to answer some of the points in my story:
Q. Why doesn't a computed model of fire burst into flames?
This should the natural expectation by anyone that thinks a computed model of
cognition physics is cognition. You should be expected answer this. Until this
is answered I have no need to justify my position on building AGI. That is what
my story is about. I am not assuming an irrelevant principle or that I know how
cognition works. I will build cognition physics and then learn how it works
using it. Like we normally do.
I don't know how computer science got to the state it is in, but it's got to
stop. In this one special area it has done us a disservice.
This is my answer to everyone. I know all I'll get is the usual party lines.
Lavoisier had his phlogiston. I've got computationalism. Lucky me.
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