[] On Behalf Of Craig Weinberg
Sent: Friday, October 25, 2013 2:08 PM
Subject: Re: Douglas Hofstadter Article


On Friday, October 25, 2013 4:30:34 PM UTC-4, cdemorsella wrote:

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[ <javascript:> ] On Behalf Of meekerdb 
Sent: Friday, October 25, 2013 10:46 AM 
To: <javascript:>  
Subject: Re: Douglas Hofstadter Article 

On 10/25/2013 3:24 AM, Telmo Menezes wrote: 
> My high-level objection is very simple: chess was an excuse to pursue 
> AI. In an era of much lower computational power, people figured that 
> for a computer to beat a GM at chess, some meaningful AI would have to 
> be developed along the way. I don' thing that Deep Blue is what they 
> had in mind. IBM cheated in a way. I do think that Deep Blue is an 
> accomplishment, but not_the_  accomplishment we hoped for. 

>> Tree search and alpha-beta pruning have very general application so I 
have no doubt they are among the many techniques that human brains use. 
Also having a very extensive 'book' 
memory is something humans use.  But the memorized games and position 
evaluation are both very specific to chess and are hard to duplicate in 
general problem solving.  So I think chess programs did contribute a little 
to AI. The Mars Rover probably uses decision tree searches sometimes. 

Some manner (e.g. algorithm) of pruning the uninteresting branches -- as 
they are discovered -- from dynamic sets of interest is fundamental in order

to achieve scalability. Without being able to throw stuff out as stuff comes

in -- via the senses (and meta interactions with the internal state of mind 
-- such as memories) -- an being will rather quickly gum up in information 
overload and memory exhaustion. Without pruning; growth grows geometrically 
out of control. 
There is pretty good evidence -- from what I have read about current neural 
science -- that the brain is indeed, throwing away a large portion of raw 
sensory data during the process of reifying these streams into the smooth 
internal construct or model of reality that we in fact experience. In other 
words our model -- what we "see", what we "hear", "taste", "smell", "feel", 
"orient" [a distinct inner ear organ]  (and perhaps other senses -- such as 
the sense of the directional flow of time perhaps  as well)... in any case 
this construct, which is what we perceive as real contains (and is 
constructed from) only a fraction of the original stream of raw sensorial 
data. In fact in some cases the brain can be tricked into "editing" actual 
real sense supplied visual reality for example literally out of the picture 
-- as has experimentally been demonstrated. 
We do not experience the real world; we experience the model of it,

You are assuming that there is a real world that is independent of some
'modeling' of it. This is almost certainly untrue. If there were an
objective world, we would live in it. Nothing can be said to exist outside
of some experience of it, whether that is molecules bonding, or bacteria
communicating chemically, or quantum entanglement. The view from nowhere is
a fantasy. The notion of a model is based on our experiences of using
analogy and metaphor, but it has no meaning when we are considering the
power to interpret meaning in the first place. If the brain were able to
compose a model of sense experience without itself having any model of sense
experience, then it would not make sense to have a model that requires some
sensory display. Such a model would only require an infinite regress of
models to make sense of each other. The idea of a 'model' does not help
solve the problem, it makes a new problem.

That's my view, anyhow.


Yes. I can see how one could assume that. But not exactly what I assume
though. Who knows if there is a real world? 

All I know (and even that is open to question) is I experience my existence
as occurring within this (shared) high fidelity environment that in my
experience - for me as I experience it -- is the real word. This actually
says nothing more than what it does say. Again who knows. I don't. Do you?

And yet the experience stream is not random - reality has order,
directionality, sense; it is repeatable (touch a hot stove and you will burn
your finger every time); and it is sequenced in a knotty chain of causality.
A lot can be - and has been - discovered about it. basic laws, constants,
relationships, phases & states; mathematics, equations. and theories about
what this whatever it is must be.

When I say the mind models reality - I actually am not assuming any reality
in reality - just that there is some sense stream that is being generated by
something - open to discussion what that something is - and that the
"reality" we actually experience in our mind is a highly artifacted
reification and synthesis of the various sensorial streams (leaving whatever
they actually are the result of out of the discussion - for the moment to
focus on the point). 

I am guessing we can all pretty much agree that our minds exist behind
sensorial surfaces and portals - our organs of sense. Without getting into
to what it is that is causing our sense streams to produce the signals and
information streams they are in fact producing - we can all agree (I hope) -
that these streams are our experience of our reality environment. Again
without ascribing any rules or form about what that environment ultimately
is or is not; beyond stating and formulating the hypothesis we have been
able to discern, the replicating patterns  we have discovered. We also all
know on a gut level (our enteric co-brains) how our future reality
experience depends current actions - we know that if we leap off the cliff
that gravity will take over and that - at least in this world-line of our
multi-selves - we will splatter onto the rocks below.. There is no doubt
about this - in those of sane mind at least. 

Whether or not reality is real is another matter - and a very interesting
one too J

However without getting into that - it is useful I believe to start drilling
down from what we do know. (which in truth is nothing, but that is also
another discussion) 

I am going from current understanding of how our minds arise within our
physical brains; of how sense streams become reified into perception. It is
still just a partial picture and a lot is changing - for example the role
glial cells (by far most of the brain matter) - once dismissed as minor
actors - in the formation of long term memory. 

The "reality" we experience - as delivered to us by our sense streams - is
re-assembled by the brain into the "reality" we experience. We are one
remove from "reality" (whatever reality is real or not). Far from being
another problem this is useful knowledge. It opens a lot of doors and is
leading us to try to discover the algorithms of consciousness, of how we
arise from within our brains - at a neural (and glial level as well) level.
It is a fruitful strategy as well; it is biomimetic - let's look at how our
brains did it.

See.. I don't see it as a problem. I see it as being the necessary approach
to proceed from first principles. (thankfully we all enjoy so much cultural
knowledge and can rely on the previous hard work of others) What can we say
of our existence? All we really know is that whatever we are experiencing;
we feel alive in it - and like observers. So why not proceed from there and
begin a rigorous - (and new instrumentation is advancing the art) -
investigation into how we arise within our brains; into how the world we see
for example gets formed - from the very initial excitations of the cones and
rods in the retina into the ancient thalamus and hence to the primary visual
cortex and then through multiple layers and chains of integration, with
triggered memories and with other - by now highly interpreted -- sensorial
streams to our artifact of experience.

What you, may, see as another layered problem; I see as an approach.

An approach that - I believe -- is just as useful in terms of providing
value and understanding, whether or not there is any actual fundamental
reality out there or if everything is information relating to information.

There is also a lot of practical value in discovering the algorithms of
pattern recognition in a noisy environment, of consciousness and situational
awareness, of decision making in an uncertain environment. If you doubt me;
just take a look at the kind of stuff DARPA is interested in these days.
Sadly the killing machine angle of this is really driving things -
autonomous hunter killer robots is every control freaks ultimate fantasy.

There is a lot of focus on a biomimetic approach in discovering these
algorithms (and meta design patterns) - a look at how the brain does it
approach. I think we are getting close to being able to start figuring out
what these brain algorithms are. For example what are the brains noise
reduction algorithms? (it is a very noisy environment); what is its decision
making algorithms? The signal amplification algorithms? What are the flow
chains. i.e. how does information flow in the brain. directionality,
feedback etc. 

That is when I expect to see the first AI. once we figure out our own AI 



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