---In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, <anartaxius@...> wrote :

 I found these really interesting. I recall some 45 years ago I read a book 
called "Mechanical Man" by Dean Wooldridge (physicist, worked for Bell Labs, 
Hughes Aircraft, and his own company which became TRW). This book attempted to 
explain the workings of the human brain in strictly physical terms. 

 I have often felt that regarding human beings as simply computational machines 
with running programs and grasping appendages and transducers (speech and 
hearing) often simplifies interaction with others of my species (and other 
species as well), and provides an apposite explanation for the rather odd 
behaviour, that from the perspective of this machine, infects my fellow mammals.

 This mechanistic view is necessary if we regard AI and AGI as a real 

 I think it's still the natural tendency of us AI machines to assume that 
because something is (or seems to be complex) then it must have a complex 
explanation, when everything we have learned in the last few hundred year tells 
us that simplicity gives rise to complexity without any help. 

 We live in interesting times though, the final frontier will be understood 
because it's possible for it to be understood. I just think it's going to be 
fun trying to fit the explanation into my own experience of how it works. Can 
we personally create a metaphor that explains how the metaphor generator works 
so that the observer of the metaphor generator is happy with it? Consciousness, 
the last great mystery!

 I've read both of David Deutsch's books for the layman and I'm a big fan. The 
first one The Fabric of Reality is about his theory of the multiverse and how 
it explains the apparent anomalies of the quantum world so completely that he 
considers it the most likely explanation by far. He goes into virtual reality, 
realist philosophy and quantum computing too. A comfortable majority of other 
physicists don't believe his multiverse ideas - Deutsch thinks that they'll 
catch up one day - but they are fascinating and it's just a pleasure to hear 
quantum theory explained by someone who actually builds quantum computers. He 
cuts through the shit with a rare clarity.

 His new book The Beginning of Infinity is also excellent and probably a better 
place to start with his ideas. It's all about the expansion of knowledge, how 
science works and the potential end result of open-ended study. Again, he cuts 
through the shit about erroneous beliefs and sets quite a few modern thinking 
errors straight, even correcting his fellow Oxbridge luminaries Dawkins and 
Hawking on a few points. There isn't much of the cornerstones of wisdom he 
doesn't cover and explain how they fit into an overall picture. He's one of 
those writers who makes you think that you always knew what he's just taught 

---In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, <no_re...@yahoogroups.com> wrote :



In case you miss the link in the text, this paper is most interesting: 




---In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, <no_re...@yahoogroups.com> wrote :

 One of my favourite inspirational thinkers holds forth on the problems facing 
Artificial Intelligence research:

 To state that the human brain has capabilities that are, in some respects, far 
superior to those of all other known objects in the cosmos would be 
uncontroversial. The brain is the only kind of object capable of understanding 
that the cosmos is even there, or why there are infinitely many prime numbers, 
or that apples fall because of the curvature of space-time, or that obeying its 
own inborn instincts can be morally wrong, or that it itself exists. Nor are 
its unique abilities confined to such cerebral matters. The cold, physical fact 
is that it is the only kind of object that can propel itself into space and 
back without harm, or predict and prevent a meteor strike on itself, or cool 
objects to a billionth of a degree above absolute zero, or detect others of its 
kind across galactic distances.
 But no brain on Earth is yet close to knowing what brains do in order to 
achieve any of that functionality. The enterprise of achieving it artificially 
– the field of "artificial general intelligence" or AGI – has made no progress 
whatever during the entire six decades of its existence.
 Despite this long record of failure, AGI must be possible. That is because of 
a deep property of the laws of physics, namely the universality of computation. 
It entails that everything that the laws of physics require physical objects to 
do can, in principle, be emulated in arbitrarily fine detail by some program on 
a general-purpose computer, provided it is given enough time and memory.
 There's more:
 Philosophy will be the key that unlocks artificial intelligence | David 

 Philosophy will be the key that unlocks artificial intel... 
 David Deutsch: AI is achievable, but it will take more than computer science 
and neuroscience to develop machines that think like people

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