On Tue, Feb 12, 2013 Telmo Menezes <te...@telmomenezes.com> wrote:

> So far, nobody has been able to figure out a learning algorithm as
> generic as the one our brains contains.

The developers of Watson have come very close to doing exactly that.

> > there is definitely room for generalists.

Then why don't family doctors recommend that their patient see a
generalists when they run into a particular problem they can't handle?

> Einstein might have been a great scientist in any field.

Perhaps Einstein could have been great in ANY field, but he most certainly
could not have been great in EVERY field.

> Watson and Deep Blue cannot change their minds.

The great thing about computers is that every time they run a new program
they quite literally CHANGE THEIR MINDS.

>  >> Deep Blue beat the world human chess champion and it required a
>> supercomputer to do so, but that was 16 years ago and Moore's law marches
>> on;
> > Sort of.

There is no "sort of" about it, Moore's law marches on. In 1994 I bought
one of the most powerful PC's in the world, it had a one core
microprocessor running at 5 *10^7 cycles per second with 8*10^6 bytes of
solid state memory and a 2*10^8 byte hard drive and cost me $4000 in
expensive 1994 dollars; Today I am using a 4 core microprocessor running at
3.4 *10^9 cycles per second with 1.6 *10^10 bytes of solid state memory and
a 2*10^12 byte hard drive and it cost me $2000 in in much cheaper 2012

> Now it's progressing due to multi-core architectures, which one could
> consider cheating

If I grew up on a farm and was retarded I might consider that cheating too,
but I didn't and I'm not so I don't.

> because algorithm parallelisation is frequently non-trivial.

Few things worth doing are trivial, but fortunately for us most physical
processes are inherently parallel as are most algorithms that are of
interest such as video and audio processing, playing chess, making quantum
mechanical calculations, understanding speech, language translation,
weather forecasting, car driving, Higgs particle hunting, and the sort of
thinking Watson did on Jeopardy.

> >I believe you're underestimating the complexity of a good chess program

A chess program good enough to beat the best human player could be run on
very primitive 1997 hardware, therefore I am not underestimating the
complexity of a good chess program. QED.

> can Watson, for example, introspect on the chess game and update his view
> of the world accordingly? Can he read a new text and figure out how to play
> better?

Yes, Watson can and does learn from his mistakes

> could you ask Watson to go and learn by himself?

Yes, Watson spent many many hours organizing the vast amount of information
it contained and figuring out what it did wrong when it provided incorrect
answers in the past and trying new ways to improve performance. As a result
even the programers of Watson had no way of knowing what that machine would
do next; when Watson was asked a question they had to just watch and wait
to see what sort of response he would give just like everybody else. The
only way to know what Watson would do is to just watch him and see.

>> If a person did half of what Watson did you would not hesitate for one
>> second in calling him intelligent, but Watson is made of silicon not carbon
>> so you don't.
> Nor for another second in considering him/her profoundly autistic.

Gregory Perelman is a mathematical genius who made the most important
advance in pure mathematics in the last 10 years, Perelman is also
autistic. Perelman is certainly not a genius about every aspect of human
endeavor, he recently turned down a $1,000,000 prize for proving the
Poincare Conjecture even though he's almost homeless. Perelman has his
faults but would you really want to say he is not intelligent?

Another example is Richard Borcherds, he is also a mathematician and he won
the Field's Medal, in prestige it is the mathematical equivalent to the
Nobel Prize. Borcherds admits that he has been officially diagnosed with
having Asperger's syndrome, a condition closely related to autism.

  John K Clark

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