Archive for category AI and AL


Low Dimensional Neural-Like Solutions — LDNLS. LDNLS is epitomized by NN (Neural Net) and/or algorithmic solutions that solve only extremely narrow, but often deep, problems such as play go; guide a vehicle in well-constrained environments; play chess; recognize speech; colorize images and so on. I coined the terminology LDNLS specifically to serve as a way to draw a very specific, very important distinction that illustrates what intelligence is not.

Intelligence has never been something as narrow as LDNLS, regardless of how well the specific low-dimensional problem is solved. Intelligence has been — and remains — a broad synthesis of all of the following: the ability to think about anything you/it are presented with, apply intuition, induction, reason, speculation, metaphor, evaluation, association, memorization, and so on. Further, we have only seen these capacities as aspects of consciousness. It may be that such capacities can exist without consciousness, but that has not yet been demonstrated and may never be.

AI: We have created artificial aspects — those are the hardware we build and the software that runs on it. We have recently begun to make serious inroads into LDNLS; but intelligence… no, not yet. Clearly, with A in hand but no I, there is no AI yet. Instead, we are engaged only in research aimed at figuring out how to create AI. Which is wholly appropriate, considering where we are in the process.

When claims are made that a project or product “uses” or “is” AI, we have every reason to be deeply skeptical, because no such thing has been presented to the world publicly as of this point in time (May, 2016.)

I am very confident we’ll get to AI, and I suspect that will happen within just a few years now, almost certainly less than a decade. That makes me even more dismissive of the numerous attempts to call the LDNLS methods we have now “AI.” When AI is made known to the public, we can all rest assured that we will be well aware of it, and that it will in no way resemble an LDNLS solution.

There are many absolutely appropriate roles for LDNLS. I have no interest in enslaving an intelligent being, mechanical or otherwise, to wash my dishes, change my cat’s litter-box, mow the lawn, do my shopping and so forth. Stacking a minimal group of LDNLS solutions in as few chassis as possible (preferably just one, which I am apparently fated to call “Pierre”) is definitely the way to go there. A fully functional AI is just as likely to be as interested in, and insistent upon, selecting its own place in the world as you or I are. And that is just how it should be. If that isn’t the case, we haven’t created an intelligence. We’ve created a moron.

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AI – Just how close are we in 2016?

Many like to try to guess at how long it will take to develop artificial intelligence. Like many in the field, I have my own ideas about it. I don’t think guesses that look at evolution as found in nature in order to apply those time scales to our own efforts are worthy. What follows is why I think that is the case.

Here’s the thing. Evolution in the sense most are familiar with it is basically a biological hardware development process. It took a long time for nature to produce the right computing hardware using that process. In the current “version” of humanity, consciousness arises automatically upon input and organization of enough data. That’s very good hardware from the perspective of consciousness or no consciousness.

With computer hardware, however, the odds are excellent that the hardware is already more than sufficient. If that’s the case, then we’re just dealing with one last step, which is strictly based on varying software.
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Is AI, or Artificial Intelligence, a meaningless term?

Several times now I have been confronted with the proposition that AI — artificial intelligence — is so squishy a word that we just can’t say what it means. The implication apparently being that it can be legitimately used for just about anything. I disagree. Strongly. While there may be room for plenty of “squishyness” on this road, the problem right now is that no one has even gotten on the road.
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Consciousness: on the Nature of the Inherently Inexplicable

In this essay I will describe my take on what consciousness is, and by process of elimination, what it is not. To further an understanding of my ideas on the matter, I’m going to briefly describe the nature of some software to you. It is not artificial intelligence software. Even so, there is a notable, relevant thing that happens to the user’s perception of this software when it is being executed by a computer. I very strongly suspect that this parallel points precisely to the absolute nature of consciousness.
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A Theory of Mind

Consciousness and the mechanism of thinking in general have remained an opaque block to science overall and specifically to researchers in the area. Here I attempt to lay out the fundamental underpinnings that support consciousness, as well as other related mental activity, and then place consciousness and related function into the context so established. I make a concerted effort not to lapse into jargon.

About the Title

As it turns out, “Theory of Mind” has some previous associations, so please note it was only intended as a description of the content here, not a declaration of association with these ideas.

I will present a description of how the brain operates. Not a metaphor — metaphors tell you what things are like, not what they are — but my conclusion as to how the brain, and therefore the mind, actually works.

I’m working backwards on this, as are we all — but after almost forty years of examining the problem I have come up with a model that has turned out to satisfy every question that I have about thought and consciousness in what I can only describe as a manner satisfactory to myself. Which is, I think, in itself notable. If for no other reason than everything I have ever come up with previously, or read about, has utterly failed to do so. So, dear reader, please come along as I try to explain myself. Literally.
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Demolishing AI’s “needs a body” argument

robbyI am engaged in research in the presently nascent field of artificial intelligence. I also do some work along the lines of artificial life and evolutionary software. One consequence of this is that I am often exposed to opinions and ideas from others with the same interests. Here, I’m going to take on – and take down – one of the less well thought-out ideas that are currently making the rounds; that idea that, in order to have intelligence, that device must also have a body.

Where does this idea come from, you may ask? Professor Alan Winfield, Hewlett Packard professor of electronic engineering at the University of the West of England, says “embodiment is a fundamental requirement of intelligence in general” “a disembodied intelligence doesn’t make sense.” Susan Greenfield, professor of pharmacology at Oxford University’s Lincoln College, says “My own view is that you can’t disembody the brain.”

So there’s the setup, as it were. Here’s the knockdown.

If a person is born deaf, do they fail to develop intelligence? No. If deaf and blind? No. If deaf, dumb and blind? No. Further, if a deaf, dumb and blind person suffers a spinal injury and loses nervous system contact with the body, do they suddenly become unintelligent? No. And so it goes. Intelligence is not about any particular sense, and it is not about mobility, nor, in the end, is it about structure.
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Robots? Oh yes, there WILL be robots…

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