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Building the Better Mind...

by ormondotvos Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 02:47:46 AM EST

Had an interesting conversation re the new IBM brain-style neural chip yesterday over Heineken with a Google of my acquaintance, who altho a brilliant programmer and all around heavy hitter, seems almost theologically committed to the thesis that we won't be able to build an artificial intelligence, at all, period, never: Humans are too complicated.

Well, I said, number one, why does an AI have to be like a human?

If we left out the horrible spaghetti monster of evolved processor nets for dangers we never now face, if we left out the God processor in the hypothalamus or the cingulate gyrus blah blah, and just tried build the rational processor, an Asperger's AI, how much would it take?

Hmmm.... he said, and off we went to Pasta e fagioli and less taxing blab... but I'd like to know what you think: EDIT (of course you read /. ) "There is increasing, but largely indirect, evidence pointing to an effect of commensal gut microbiota on the central nervous system (CNS). However, it is unknown whether lactic acid bacteria such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus could have a direct effect on neurotransmitter receptors in the CNS in normal, healthy animals. GABA is the main CNS inhibitory neurotransmitter and is significantly involved in regulating many physiological and psychological processes. Alterations in central GABA receptor expression are implicated in the pathogenesis of anxiety and depression, which are highly comorbid with functional bowel disorders. In this work, we show that chronic treatment with L. rhamnosus (JB-1) induced region-dependent alterations in GABAB1b mRNA in the brain with increases in cortical regions (cingulate and prelimbic) and concomitant reductions in expression in the hippocampus, amygdala, and locus coeruleus, in comparison with control-fed mice. In addition, L. rhamnosus (JB-1) reduced GABAAα2 mRNA expression in the prefrontal cortex and amygdala, but increased GABAAα2 in the hippocampus. Importantly, L. rhamnosus (JB-1) reduced stress-induced corticosterone and anxiety- and depression-related behavior. Moreover, the neurochemical and behavioral effects were not found in vagotomized mice, identifying the vagus as a major modulatory constitutive communication pathway between the bacteria exposed to the gut and the brain. Together, these findings highlight the important role of bacteria in the bidirectional communication of the gut–brain axis and suggest that certain organisms may prove to be useful therapeutic adjuncts in stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression."


Display:
An AI doesn't have to be like a human. But AI is easier to do when you create it for a specific job.

It's not hard to build cybernetic AI that works on one specific problem, like landing a plane or optimising fuel consumption in a car. That would have seemed miraculous a century ago but it's a solved problem now.

It's much harder to do natural language processing, but (assuming no collapse) I expect that to be working in a couple of decades.

But what's really needed is a General Modelling Machine - something that can take any problem, build a working model for it more efficiently than a human programmer, and make useful and accurate predictions.

There's the P/NP issue which strongly implies that some classes of problem simply aren't tractable with the kinds of logic we use. So a GMM may not be possible at all.

Or it may need alternative kinds of (quantum?) logic we're not using yet.

If the latter appeared, a GMM with a natural language front end could become a very interesting and useful thing, and would be close to many people's idea of a general purpose AI.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 07:34:30 AM EST
ThatBritGuy:
Or it may need alternative kinds of (quantum?) logic we're not using yet.

interesting diary... trying to design an artificial brain modelled on the human may well be impossible, but we are able to simulate some brain functions, and that fact makes some think if we extend our computer knowledge we could progress to eventually mimicking the whole shebang.

i do fail to see the point, really, though IT is very cool, humans are still w-a-y ahead in terms of our ability to emote, intuit, imagine, and these functions are far harder to crack than number crunching, boolean search, image manipulation, trajectory calculus for space exploration, med tech and such, which are bloody handy.

i respect human curiosity enormously, and fully expect research to bust its arse continuing on this trail, but ultimately though we'll continue to learn a lot spinoff-wise from it, i think we'll eventually give it up, as we already know how to make humans :) with young minds and good ed we can fashion mentalities, for good or ill, but the full spectrum of human brain functions, i think your friend is right, ormondotvos.

computers will be able to do a lot, more than we can imagine right now, so i'll keep an open mind and follow the research with interest, but the goal is specious, imo.

plus it has some psych implications that make me wonder if much of the motivation is not an effort to escape who we are, rather than dive deeper into 'it'.  savantism reveals to us how few people can fathom the deepest processing functions in their own bodyminds, where i think the real jewel we seek lies. computing can reflect, re-iterate and express our humanity, but never supplant it or be its true source. we are becoming semi-adjunctive to the little buggers already i know, but in the final analysis, i think there are parts of us that are way too unique to ever clone, reality (probably with much help from IT) will show us, that no matter how evolved computing becomes, we will ever remain its cerebral gestators, rather than vice-versa.

we might be able to implant new prosthetic eyes, ears, maybe even calculators (!), and i definitely see computer-human interfacing continuing apace, but we are so much more than what a mere machine, no matter how magical can be. it is showing us how we are whole systems embedded in larger whole systems, though, so i do love 'em!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 08:44:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, since we're wildly speculating here . . .

Maybe we can't simulate the human brain.  Maybe we can.  We don't know.  But if we could replicate our brain's ability to sort and process and give meaning to input and information, understand the structures of meta-information, and understand the nature of problems at least as well as humans, then I see no reason why such an AI would not quickly become far more than human.  The AI would have at its disposal the distinctly inhuman ability to precisely calculate mathematically at truly insane speeds, combined with an ability to absolutely remember everything, and an ability to copy itself infinitely and perfectly to new hardware, so as to run multiple simultaneous copies and truly mult-task.  Further, the AI would have the ability to directly and absolutely understand its own makeup, and to change and adjust this as necessary, on both the software and hardware level.  Just as an example, the AI could not only maintain copies of everything ever written by anyone ever simultaneously in conscious memory, but then build itself a million different brains to simultaneously think through and understand these things at once, and then instantly and perfectly recombine those multiple understandings together and keep them on hand, with perfect recall.  It would be like being able to recall perfectly the exact mental state of every epiphany or moment of understanding you have ever had, all at once.  Not only that, but be able to simultaneously consider all of them, juggle them around, and compare them at leisure.

But all this is a big if.  We don't know how human cognition works, on a logical or practical level.  We don't know how the brain works.  We don't know if our models of reason and logic will ever scale to consciousness, or if something else entirely alien would be required.  It's all a huge mystery.

I am agnostic towards the possibility of creating a human-level intelligence artificially.  But were it created, it would certainly be far more than human, and far more vast and powerful than we can truly comprehend, simply because it would be able to combine what we do well with what computers do well at a natural level.

by Zwackus on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 10:16:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am agnostic towards the possibility of creating a human-level intelligence artificially.  But were it created, it would certainly be far more than human, and far more vast and powerful than we can truly comprehend, simply because it would be able to combine what we do well with what computers do well at a natural level.

I once read a suggestion that, if a sentient computer were ever created, its low-level number-crunching power would be as far removed from the conscious layer as human consciousness is removed from neural activity and so, for instance, the intelligent computer would still have to "open a calculator app" in order to do mathematical operations consciously, and it wouldn't be much faster than a human using a computer.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 10:21:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A hardware AI would have the advantage over a wetware AI that we know how to upgrade hardware.

Though it is of course possible that the technology required to build a hardware AI would also enable us to build Ghost in the Shell style cyberbrains to enhance our wetware processors.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 02:01:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The last hardware problem was solved when terrabyte disks drives became affordable.  Simply put, doing the wrong things at the wrong times even faster does not get you to doing the right things at the right times.

 

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 09:52:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The fly in the ointment is the role that emotion forms in all of our mental processes. The eat or flee response is very close to the base of all animal intelligence and emotional responses are the basis for judging almost all things. We have developed methods for suspending judgement and we can attempt to account for emotion in our decisions, but it is very tricky. In order to create an AI that truly resembles that of a human it may be necessary for the development process to functionally recapitulate the evolutionary sequence of human beings.

The problem this poses is amplified by the active disrespect so many give to the role of emotions in our lives. Even the suggestion that a truly human AI would have to have the equivalent of human emotions would/will likely be received with disdain by many of those best able to conceive of the necessary programming. I would like to see special purpose AI utilized much more extensively in known critical areas of human endeavor, such as medical diagnostics, which is so often a disaster when performed by humans.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 09:48:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was after I read Damasio, Sapolsky, and et. al. that I came to realize just how much our emotions (Limbic system, mesolimbic pathways, etc.) underlie our cognitive processing.  To the extent that if our emotions are neurologically unable to function properly we simultaneously lose our executive decision making.  

This realization made me understand attempting to build a "truly" human intelligence isn't worth the effort. A "truly" human intelligence would be subject to developing psychological, neurological, emotional, and cognitive dysfunctions human express and if it doesn't it's not a "truly" human intelligence.

QED

:-)

Which makes TBG's contention, which I share, we should drop the "AI" thing, as such, in order to be working on building a "General Modeling Machine."

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 02:42:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We apparently agree. My caveat wrt a General Modeling Machine is to keep it away from making executive decisions. We are sufficiently "inhuman" all by ourselves and have no need of "artificial inhumanity".

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 12:38:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
GMMs won't be allowed to make executive decisions. The executive decisions will be hardcoded into them by programmers who simply apply the state of the art in anthropology, psychology and economics, without understanding that these disciplines exist in large part to justify particular forms of executive decisions.

The Serious People will then pretend that the GMM is making the executive decisions, because this gives the decisions an air of inevitability and truthiness.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 03:17:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then we will need the Butlerian Jihad.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 05:16:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
as far removed from the conscious layer as human consciousness is removed from neural activity

how far is that? in mm? or is 'far' metaphorical? who or what presupposes any distance between our consciousness and neural activity, can they not be coterminous, even fused?

i guess if one has morphine in the system, that affects the way consciousness perceives nerve signals, though i'm told that it doesn't remove the pain per se, it rather causes the pain not to be worth caring about... presumably by flooding the brain with enough pleasure chemicals that the pain signals come in a distant second.

wouldn't it vary between individuals, just like pain thresholds do?

i guess 'anhedonia', an inability to feel pleasure in life could be seen as seen as a metaphorical distance between consciousness and the neural circuits, though how well the signals travel and are received within those circuits might vary a lot between different folks, or even between different times! for example when firewalkers walk barefoot over coals after psyching themselves up with group exercises, then they go home, can they stick their fingers in even a candle flame and still feel no pain or burning, without all the hoo-rah of the group pumping them into an altered state? i never heard of that happening, although to my mind that would actually be more interesting than firewalking, though that is interesting enough.

what's happening between consciousness and neural circuits when a hypnotist has a subject believe he's being burned, and his skin blisters and he feels the heat? is that heat 'real'?

perhaps mystical experience is when consciousness briefly syncs perfectly, though fleetingly, with one's neural circuits...

this neuroscience is cutting edge stuff, and yet has been around since recorded time, and makes our fascination with computers seem a novelty.

ancient animists ascribed mind to matter, even a rock has a spirit/vibration, just a very slow moving one compared to flowing water or a flower blooming. perhaps in our search to duplicate and mechanise consciousness we are actually missing what's right under our own noses, namely this supposed grail is a bagatelle, and computers will never have common sense.* they're data bankers, not delphic oracles!

*whatever that may be agreed to be... we can make simulacra till the cows come home, but ultimately a world ruled by computer logic seems like it would more likely be dystopian than otherwise.

to a geologist, rocks have 'memories', as the code embedded in the structure is readable to their trained minds.

Data Storage Rock Ready to Roll - EnterpriseStorageForum.com

Millenniata has unveiled its new storage technology that lets users etch data on an optical disc made from a stone-like substance that never degrades, reports Small Business Computing.

melo:

New tech uses silicon glass for data storage

Recently we heard about the M-DISC, which can reportedly store data in a rock-like medium for up to 1,000 years. Now, scientists from the University of Southampton have announced the development of a new type of nanostructured glass technology. Not only might it have applications in fields such as microscopy, but it apparently also has the ability to optically store data forever.

mind into matter, not matter over mind!

going back to the why we are so desirous of breathing life into a golem anyway... could it be that some are so spooked by the strong streaks of irrationality in the human psyche, and so tired of psycho tyrants bending others' wills, that to succeed in imbuing our better instincts into somewhere fixed, concrete and external (dryware?), we will finally, unarguably create that font of wisdom that we can fully trust as objective, ex cyber-cathedra, to tell us when probability decreed our choices/actions would lead to perdition, infallibility incarnate, but with no carne, none of that messy human cell breakdown to worry about, we will supposedly glory in our role bearing pure knowledge and infusing it into permanence.

'cept it won't be a font, it'd always be a reservoir, big difference...

uh huh.... isn't this about taking the long way round to get home where we always were, via a cul de sac to boot?

 we are real, computers are fiction. and yes in a good story the plot does run away with the characters occasionally, deus IN machina.

this is what happens when linear thinking runs amok IOW, methinks, and will go into history as an endearing odd footnote, like man's quixotic quest for Cities of Gold in the jungle, or Springs that offer the Water of Life, a fantasy Elixir of Summum Bonum.

we want off this wheel of change, basically... (instead of trying to figure out/embrace how to make it roll better). the search for absolute AI has a thanatic, death-worshipping aspect or streak to it. as do all linear projections that are fear based, 'we're not enough, we're not whole, we need a HAL to guide us to find our own asses!'

the cracks in our consciousness are where the light shines in, in this ultimately pointless exercise we are trying to seal them closed. it reminds me of those billionaire bunkers where the guy has his bugout system in place, sealing himself and his money into an impregnable vault only openable from the inside.

bliss of safety! there's no refuge from change. we can always keep upgrading the computer till it learns to do it itself, heck till it even extrudes a robot to go mine the earths it needs to self replicate, but there will always be something that we are made with which will not totally compute, and i don't think most of us would want it any other way.

mental rubber doll porn...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 02:25:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
as far removed from the conscious layer as human consciousness is removed from neural activity
how far is that? in mm? or is 'far' metaphorical? who or what presupposes any distance between our consciousness and neural activity, can they not be coterminous, even fused?
Who said "presupposes"? And, yes, "far" is metaphorical as in "the fundamental processes of human thought are inaccessible to consciousness"
philosophers have made certain fundamental assumptions--that we can know our own minds by introspection, that most of our thinking about the world is literal, and that reason is disembodied and universal--that are now called into question by well-established results of cognitive science. It has been shown empirically that:Most thought is unconscious. We have no direct conscious access to the mechanisms of thought and language. Our ideas go by too quickly and at too deep a level for us to observe them in any simple way.Abstract concepts are mostly metaphorical.


Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 03:11:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It turns out cracking the Natural Language Problem and building a General Modeling Machine intersects is "the same problem" (to a large but not total degree) since human language is a General Model Machine.  By cracking the problems created by the 424 distinct definitions of the word "set" gets you a long way to being able to provide the computer with the ability to accurately process reference-to-phenomenology - the key barrier to a GMM.

Long-winded exposition follows.

Jane bought an apple.  Jane bought a banana.  Jane has two fruit.

And one must ask: where the hell did "fruit" come from?

Well, once you put an apple and a banana in a bag (a collection, technically) the reference-to-phenomena is an Emergent: fruit.  One can, of course, list all the members of the collection, but nobody will tolerate:

Jane went to the apple, banana, pear, orange, mango, pineapple, lemon, lime, kiwi, and plum store and asked the apple, banana, pear, orange, mango, pineapple, lemon, lime, kiwi, and plum seller if he had any tomatoes for sale at his apple, banana, pear, orange, mango, pineapple, lemon, lime, kiwi, and plum stand because a tomato is a member of the apple, banana, pear, orange, mango, pineapple, lemon, lime, kiwi, and plum Set.

for long.  And we don't:

Jane went to the fruit stand and asked the fruit seller if he had tomatoes for sale at his fruit stand because a tomato is a fruit.

Excluded Middle Set Theory cannot deal with this very easily.  In fact there's a (highly paid, incredibly tedious) specialty within IT beavering away to solve the problems encountered by using Excluded Middle Set Theory (aka, Relational Database Model) in a Inclusive Middle World.  Because ..

The apple in "the apple of my eye" is not the same "apple" that, supposedly, bonked Newton on the noggin and the "fruit of one's loins" is not a kumquat.  

The practical result for a NLP or GMM is, using standard & approved CompSci procedures the Robert Frost couplet:

but I have promises to keep,
and miles to go before I sleep

has around 4.3 trillion possible combinatorial meanings and would take over 6,000 years to run through them all to find which one is the one you want.  Further you then throw all that processing away because it tells you nothing about how to process:

But I promise sleep before the miles to keep

(which is bad poetry ... and gets the point across) due to the fact the approved CompSci procedures used to parse the utterance (first step) throws all the "meaningfulness" away, (second step) constructs a representation of the "meaning" and then goes (third step) laboriously stumbling around trying to find the "meaning."

The project I've been working on for donkey's years started out assuming (silly fools we) "but I have promises to keep" is a pretty goddamn good representation of the meaning of "but I have promises to keep" and if you keep the "meaningfulness" in the first step you don't have to go looking for it in the third step.

From such stunning insights doth leaps in Human Civilization depend.

   

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 09:34:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
Or it may need alternative kinds of (quantum?) logic we're not using yet.

Far as I can tell, don't pin any hopes on quantum logic. Quantum logic is simply the operations possible if we want to use quantum bits. It won't say anything new unless a human interprets it differently or get new ideas by being forced to think through stuff a slightly different way.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 05:16:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quantum computing is basically a trick for performing exponential-dimensional operations in polynomial time (since superpositions have exponentially increasing dimension in the number of involved bits). That will be awesome when we're done inventing it, and it may even be useful in developing sentient AIs. But it is unlikely to be strictly necessary, because neurons are not quantum-scale, and they seem to meet the hardware specs for sentience.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 10:23:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The supposition is that if you can hold coherence you can basically try every solution to a problem at once.

Kind of.

So that's a bit of an improvement on where we are today.

As for neurons and consciousness, Penrose famously thinks consciousness is a quantum process. I'm not sure we have a good enough model of how neurons actually work to say if he's right. (Probably not, but it's too early to tell.)

There's a bigger problem with speeding up human AI, which is that you can't build literal human AI and expect to run it at vastly amplified speeds developing mental problems.

If your consciousness suddenly speeded up by a couple of orders of magnitude everything around you would appear to happen very slowly, and you'd effectively be in solitary confinement for most of the day. Even if you were hooked up to the Internet so you could mainline Google, you'd still have problems getting enough stimulation.

Add near-perfect recall, and noise would recirculate to the point where the system would become unstable almost instantly, in real time.

It turns out that human dreaming is an essential sorting and filing mechanism, so you'd have to build in an equivalent form of garbage collection.

Similarly, brains are highly structured and not just a big wet bowl of neurons. The thinky parts probably won't work well without the other parts, and no one has a particularly good picture of how all of it hangs together.

And I'm fairly sure that natural language is a separate module, and not the same thing as a general modelling machine. What looks like a really hard problem to a human - formally defining how language is used to communicate associatively - probably won't be a really hard problem to a machine that is almost infinitely parallelised, with almost infinite memory.

It may have to rely on experiential axioms and a large library of metaphors to simulate comprehension. But that's not inherently a difficult problem with an almost infinitely parallelised quantum architecture.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 11:53:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The supposition is that if you can hold coherence you can basically try every solution to a problem at once.

Ish.

The point is that if you can hold entanglement long enough, then you can do simultaneous operations in (2N)! - 1 dimensions with N qubits (if I remember by <bra|ket> algebra right - it's been a while).

And since the factorial scales faster than exponentially, you have just reduced whole classes of problems from taking an exponential number of bits to only taking a polynomial number of bits.

Which is awesome, but only tangentially related to sentience.

As for neurons and consciousness, Penrose famously thinks consciousness is a quantum process. I'm not sure we have a good enough model of how neurons actually work to say if he's right. (Probably not, but it's too early to tell.)

It is not categorically impossible, but the scale argues against it. Biologists do not routinely use quantum mechanics to describe inter-cellular interactions (or even, AFAIK, most intra-cellular interactions).

Which, of course, is not to say that quantum computing won't be useful for building AIs - natural human locomotion does not use steel or aluminium, but that does not prevent them from being useful in building trains.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 02:31:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The point is more that from a parallel processing point of view, it's not just about solving equations more quickly. You end up with an architecture that's inherently optimised for associativity, and not for Turing-like linear computation.

E.g. when using Turing machines for video processing, you have to calculate each bit in the frame sequentially. That doesn't make it impossible to do associative recognition and processing, but it's inherently different - theoretically and practically - to working with entire frames, and using an associative memory that can retrieve relevant pattern information in a single operation.

You can fake associative processing sequentially, but certain kinds of processing remain impractical. With associative processing, they may not be.

So it becomes a game changer. Potentially you can't just do things more quickly, you can do entirely new things.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 07:00:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Biologists do not routinely use quantum mechanics to describe inter-cellular interactions

Biologist may not, but it appears that evolution does. According to an article by a Cal Tech biologists, in order to achieve the efficiencies observe in photosynthesis the leaf cell has to be using a quantum computational method so as to find the optimal or near optimal path through the cell  for the energy of the photon utilized. I had a link to the article on the computer that was recently killed by lightning.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 10:06:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Discovering a natural process may be described, analyzed, with QM - or any other intellectual tool, for that matter - is NOT the same as proving the natural process uses QM - or the intellectual tool.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 02:54:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course not! I was not suggesting that leaves are conscious. But it is possible that evolution has come upon a process that WE require quantum computing to explain.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 03:47:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hopefully, you were also not suggesting that leaves were "unconscious."

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 03:59:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ever read 'secret life of plants'?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Aug 31st, 2011 at 05:00:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
Similarly, brains are highly structured and not just a big wet bowl of neurons.

or a hurricane howl of hormones...

ThatBritGuy:

What looks like a really hard problem to a human - formally defining how language is used to communicate associatively - probably won't be a really hard problem to a machine that is almost infinitely parallelised, with almost infinite memory.

children easily absorb multiple languages if exposed young enough, yet where is the parallel will/motivation to learn in a computer? pull its plug and... nada.

hypothetically, if one invented perfect non-degradable computer parts, and a constant source of renewable energy made from non-entropic components, you'd have a tool that could operate independently of its creator, but why would a computer want to work? there's no reward for it to gobble/mash/store bits. it's inanimate. whatever it does is imitable, so it can only be pseudo-original in recombinant ways.

i admit the seduction, if cameras can see more that our eyes can, extrapolating from this is entertaining in a sci fi way, but we seem to be trying to humanise computers, and we are far too robotic as humans already!

time to redefine 'robotic'. lol, maybe 'human' as well...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 05:56:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can build in curiosity. It's not a motivation in the hormonal or DNA-based sense, but it would be just as compelling, as long as it wasn't removed, or self-edited.

Software so far is fundamentally different to biology, because it's easy to build in the behaviours you want. Once you build them in, they stay there.

E.g. Roomba vacuum cleaners are pre-motivated to seek a power source when they're running out. Segways are pre-motivated not to tip over if they possibly can. Etc.

Since we don't have a working model of a full AI, no one knows whether it would work the same way, or whether it would self-edit for clarity and straightforwardness, or whether it would melt down if given contradictory imperatives.

But it's unlikely basic motivation would be an issue. And curiosity could easily be made a basic motivation.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 09:47:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
You can build in curiosity. It's not a motivation in the hormonal or DNA-based sense, but it would be just as compelling, as long as it wasn't removed, or self-edited.

'removed' makes it sound it's baked in, because if we had had to install it in the first place, we'd just omit that step, right?

how in heaven is it baked in? motivation for a vacuum cleaner to search out a power supply is triggered by a signal informing it its power is running out, humans choose to equip it that way.

collating trivia, white swan predictions from stat crunching, yes, they can out-do all but savants in that dept.

i think any original metaphor will stop it in its tracks... snark reduce it to a meltdown. computers make linear processing look more than it is, but that's the coding genius of the programmer, methinks.

self-editing, there's a big rub. how will it gauge how self-edited to be, by 'reading' the comprehension skillz of the human to whom it's 'communicating'? avoiding 3 syllable words if the listener is 2 ft tall?

language is the least of it...

this discussion is following me around during the day doing chores, first one on ET like that for a while.

what computers will continue to do , imo, is redefine our humanity by showing us what they can't do, take away the bells and whistles, and what's left?

thanks for trying to explain some pretty hairy science.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 11:06:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"this discussion is following me around during the day doing chores, first one on ET like that for a while.

what computers will continue to do , imo, is redefine our humanity by showing us what they can't do, take away the bells and whistles, and what's left?

thanks for trying to explain some pretty hairy science."

Me too. Nice change.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 03:15:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You ask what it would take to make a machine "human". Yanis Varoufakis asks what it would take to make a human a machine: The Trouble with Humans: Why is labour special and especially targeted at a time of crisis- Part A
To investigate this peculiarity a little more deeply, suppose that a worker's limbs, eyes and ears are surgically replaced sequentially by bionic devices that enhance her sight, hearing and dexterity. At which stage will she have become a machine? Would such interventions into human bodies bring about the Matrix Economy if extended to the whole population? The answer is negative as long as the mental processes remain human; that is, quirky, unpredictable, capable of creativity that transcends algorithmic `thinking', and constantly threatening to subvert the laws which supposedly govern them. So, which part of us needs to be replaced before our labour ceases to be free and some mathematical function can be declared capable of mapping from inputs (into our persons) to our work's output? The answer is: the core of our free spirit, wherever that may be located.
See also: Part B.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 10:27:55 AM EST
i can't recommend this Varoufakis post enough, some of the best writing i've read for a while, presented very readably.

thanks

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 05:58:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Part B appears more relevant to the machine-human discussion. Have to admit I have not finished it.

Part A for me reads like on overlong way of demonstrating that when we say value we mean value to humans, which in turns makes labor special, as it is humans. Maybe the long way around is needed for deprogramming some.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 05:14:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If we left out the horrible spaghetti monster of evolved processor nets for dangers we never now face, if we left out the God processor in the hypothalamus or the cingulate gyrus blah blah, and just tried build the rational processor, an Asperger's AI, how much would it take?
Yet another ignorant blogger who thinks "Asperger's" are somehow less than human. Wikipedia
Unlike other pervasive development disorders, most children with AS want to be social, but fail to socialize successfully, which can lead to later withdrawal and asocial behavior, especially in adolescence.
Who is responsible for the AS' asocial behaviour? The AS, or the people like ormondotvos who emotionally abuse the AS as children?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 10:30:43 AM EST
Building humans is fun, but not all that interesting, really. We already know how to do it. Solved problem.

The real problem is that if we built an AI that wasn't more or less human we'd probably be too stupid to recognize it.

As for "An Aspergers AI", I despair. Really? You mean one that's a bit impaired at things like human status games?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 12:41:06 PM EST
As for "An Aspergers AI", I despair. Really? You mean one that's a bit impaired at things like human status games?

No, he means the rational processor.

Despair indeed.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 03:13:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was looking for this response in the comment thread. :-)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 10:09:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
@argeezer - In no way do I discount the need for an overriding mechanism to deal with the combinatorial explosion (cf Toobey and Cosmides "The Adapted Mind") and that mechanism can be called emotion, but humans have a lot of instincts that generate the wrong emotions (The Feeling of What Happens, Antonio Damasio) so what I suspect will happen is that human scientists will heuristically select out or dampen some of the more destructive emotions (Blink by Gladwell) and their endocrine processes.

Perhaps just changing a global voltage level, slowing parallelism in a group of processors. It would depend on the eventual architecture, but would be different certainly from what would be called for, or even be possible, with linear computing.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 01:51:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
humans have a lot of instincts that generate the wrong emotions

A friend and I, in an unaccustomed outbreak of Techno-Utopianism, inverted War Games.  The plot of a movie revolved around the computer "waking-up," becoming a Buddhist.  It then refused to even consider harming Sentient Beings and locked-out the Command and Control systems controlling the US nuclear arsenal.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 03:30:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman:
Building humans is fun, but not all that interesting, really. We already know how to do it. Solved problem.

what on earth do you mean by that? in a sheerly physical sense? what's uninteresting about 'building' humans?

seems to me if it were so cut and dried we'd have  different results, but i probably am missing your point.

are you referring to cloning humans, by chance?

 

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 06:05:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sam and I built two recently. Wasn't that much hassle, for me at least.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 12:46:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman:
You mean one that's a bit impaired at things like human status games?

that would be a feature, not a bug, lol.

i think he meant that they might be freakishly good at something most humans balk at, but they also may be totally lacking in such human nuances as tact, or humility, respect for others, or scanning of emotional tone... all notes, no music.

maybe they would come optionally equipped with snark apps though.

computers can be unselfconsciously hilarious, but they don't get their own jokes...

i remember some mashups of buddhist wisdom in the early noughties that were roll-on-the-floor funny, as parodies.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 03:49:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, but you see, that bears no relation to Aspergers in any way. At all.

computers can be unselfconsciously hilarious, but they don't get their own jokes...


That we know of.

</slight drunken comment>

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 04:48:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
we won't be able to build an artificial intelligence, at all, period, never: Humans are too complicated.

The absolute-no argument when we're considering unknowable future technology is silly. Complexity is immaterial when we're talking about trying to replicate an object known to physically exist today.

I don't know this guy from anyone obviously, but I do know a number of techies who are (sometimes unknowingly) committed to mystical narratives surrounding the human body - specifically that it is not an entirely physical process.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 07:14:27 PM EST
The mind-body problem is an old chestnut, but the counter argument is that we don't really know what 'physical' means in practice.

We like to think we do, and for simple of values of 'physical' we're not doing too badly. But there's stuff outside the simple maps that doesn't make a great deal of sense to anyone.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 11:56:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can drop the word "physical" and go to "known to exist" - as opposed to an object moving faster than the speed of light which has never been observed and is assumed to be impossible.

From there I believe the only way to claim a human mind equivalent is impossible to create (as opposed to unlikely) through other means is by making a metaphysical claim - ie there are levers we do not have access to which are only accessible by an external actor.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 05:21:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Predicted to be impossible. It's a consequence of the model, not an assumption of it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 05:25:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First: It's an unwarranted and unevidenced personal attack to say I regard people with Asper's as inferior. I don't. They are what they are, just as hyperemotional people are what they are. The intent of the label was the opposite, to point out that emotional over-coloring of decisions can lead to socially tragic outcomes as well as under-colored ones.

It's been pointed out for a long time (Descartes' Error, The Adapted Mind) that human decisions are made more by the diaphragm than the forebrain. Just listening to the love stories about instinct, poetry, guessing, etc makes me wonder if maybe we're way too far over in that direction.

We already have clear, logical, rational fact piles to assemble our decisions from, but we don't. Maybe we need a fact piled with personality, sort of like Al Gore, only warmer. Easy enough to build a C3PO diplomatic robot, easy enough to build a Jeopardy winner.

Maybe we have already gone far enough, and need a middle ground, devoid of hysteria about human value, since they already range from submission to chauvinism.

Thanks for your comments. They're all valuable.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 08:57:01 PM EST
It's been pointed out for a long time (Descartes' Error, The Adapted Mind) that human decisions are made more by the diaphragm than the forebrain.

Not quite.  

What's been found over the last 20 years is the limbic lobe, emotion/mood inducing neuro-transmitters, the neuro-hormonal system, the medulla obligata, and even the cerebellum have as much to do with cognitive functioning as the frontal lobe¹.  In the light of current knowledge the "purely" cognitive functioning brain nuclei seems restricted to Broadmann's Area 10 -- the least understood part of the brain.  

¹  With some neurologists arguing the anterior portion of the frontal lobes should really be assigned to the limbic system.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 11:08:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...the "purely" cognitive functioning brain nuclei seems restricted to Broadmann's Area 10 -- the least understood part of the brain.

Probably why it's considered the seat of human: we know bugger-all about what it does.

LOL

In my opinion, we're going to find out cognition, like everything else, has more than one nuclei involved with our "higher cognitive functions" being a Emergent Phenomenon from, in this case, our existence as a mutually interacting and supporting social species.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 11:20:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If what you say is true, then guessing is the best we can do?

I don't think so. Emergence theory doesn't appear to me as a crutch for giving up on governance.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 02:05:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Emergence isn't the same thing as Guessing.  Work on bifurcative mathematics has given us some intellectual tools to be able to predict Emergence will happen under certain conditions and, to some extent, be able to predict the overall Fitness Landscape defined as the possible range of actions¹.  Knowing Emergence is a Law of Nature allows one to count on it, allowing it to be used in various ways both on the predictive and operational levels.  

Oddly enough.

¹ just to keep it simple

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 03:02:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what a great diary and discussion. i've got zero to add, not because i have zero to add, but because it would take me a few hours to highlight some of the most relevant comments already posted, and my response to them. (unfortunately (for whom?) i don't have that luxury.)

So i'll simply say for now, Penrose is correct, even if he doesn't know why. Or how. Or to what extent.

How do i know? Actually, i don't... except i've "been there, seen that."

Tangent: This is actually the discussion great minds love to have, which lesser minds also love from less perspective, and which even lesser minds still love to have because it's the basis of humanity, after all.

It's also why so much effort is made to prevent us from having the time to enjoy and learn from such discussion. And to keep up the myth that "knowledge" resides with the elite.

Understanding this is the goal of humanity. Which understanding would lead to true freedom. Which wouldn't be tolerated by (insert opponent here).

What if neural complexity were only the physical manifestation of even higher order complexities dependent on the quantum correlation already inherent within our brains... and not just within, but without as well, in toto? What if neural complexity was actually only the grossest layer of brain complexity?

How did native elders know the future, or could relive pasts long before their time? Not to mention making it rain, and learning from trees?

Or intuit what physicists would discover?

Truly wish i could contribute something to this discussion, but it's nearing 1st pitch on one of the few nights when the game begins while i'm still awake.


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 03:57:33 PM EST
So i'll simply say for now, Penrose is correct, even if he doesn't know why. Or how. Or to what extent.

How do i know? Actually, i don't... except i've "been there, seen that."

Allrighty, then.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 04:51:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ah yes, how we learn to discount experiential evidence. because it's not replicable.

Because vision can be false does not mean that all vision is false.

which says nothing about my particular fantasies.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 07:02:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I cannot deny your experience, but in the terms you put it it's not possible to say anything about it. We either take your word for how it informs Penrose's unsubstantiated speculation or we don't.

By the way, Penrose's proposals are the worst kind of "here are two things I don't understand, so they must be related and have a common explanation" (in his case, the collapse of the quantum wavefunction and consciousness).

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 07:56:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because vision can be false does not mean that all vision is false.

Right, but that doesn't tell me anything about whether your account and interpretation of your own vision is "true".

This line of discussion is an absolute dead end.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 08:00:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, agree it's a dead end in terms of defining the vision as "true."

But in terms of the fruits of speculation, there's much to be gained from such line of discussion. Quantum bio-mechanics might even begin to be able to propose experiments to begin testing some hypothesis developed from the speculation. Such as Alain Aspect's experiment and the resulting follow-ups in another field.

I remember reading about speculation there was correlation of the pi-electron bonds, but that was long ago.

Just saying that throughout history, vision, speculation and even dreams have led to real world discovery. Kekule?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 03:51:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Such as Alain Aspect's experiment and the resulting follow-ups in another field.

I have written about this stuff on this blog. It doesn't mean I believe it has anything to do with consciousness. I have read Penrose and find him wholly unconvincing. Why am I not convinced? Paraphrasing you: I just ain't and that's all the justification you need.

Just how weird is weird?

In essence, and this is what my snappy interjection to Sven was about, it has been empirically tested (though not to the satisfaction of everyone) that the world is empirically compatible with standard quantum mechanics, but incompatible with any deterministic hidden-variable theory which has any of the following three characteristics: 1) Einsteinian locality; 2) counterfactual definiteness; 3) non-contextuality. The relevant theoretical results are "Bell's inequalities" (for local hidden variables), "Hardy's thought experiment" (for counterfactual definiteness) and the "Kochen-Specker theorem" (for non-contextuality). All three have been tested experimentally using quantum optics.

In other words: it is an experimentally verifiable fact that, if God doesn't play dice, 1) the world out there has spooky action at a distance; 2) you are not allowed to ask about the values of quantities you don't measure; 3) if you considered "what if" you had actually measured an additional quantity, the values of the ones you did measure would change.

To put it yet another way... If you think the world is made of things which have properties independent of whether you look at them or not, that the fact of looking at one thing does not affect others, or that these effects are limited in how far and how fast they can reach, well, you're experimentally provably wrong.

What is then nothing short of amazing is that the macroscopic world around us has exactly the intuitive properties I have said quantum mechanics violates.

Aspect is so 1980's. How about talking about Kochen-Specker?

Also, of course there is quantum entanglement among the electron bonds in a molecule. So what?

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 04:08:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe this was covered in the linked diary, but my main gripe with quantum mechanics being linked to consciousness is that such an interpretation goes against a fundamental assumption in physics, that is that the universe we observe in creating the laws of physics is the same that exists out there. (There are proper philosophical terms for this, but the snot in my brain does not allow retrival of them.)

As I see it, the choice is either to accept an interpretation that does not do us humans to the centre of the universe or to re-do physics as a model of what is observable instead of what is, that is including every observation and solve for the observable. But I think that would be a huge pain.

To draw conclusions about the natur of consciousness from quantum mechanics is the kind of trickyness I enjoyed in high school. If say we had a problem including an instruction to disregard the effects of friction (since that would create a to tricky problem) I enjoyed pointing out how the whole problem would collapse, if not for friction (since machine X included can not function without friction or something like that). While fun, it did not prove that the problem was pointless or the machine not working, only that the model was constructed not to include what I forced it to include. In the same way physics was not constructed to include us as observers.

In addition, I suspect that the eagerness to get QM to say something essential about humans is a case of Physicalism:

Physicalism is a philosophical position holding that everything which exists is no more extensive than its physical properties; that is, that there are no kinds of things other than physical things. The term was coined by Otto Neurath in a series of early twentieth century essays on the subject, in which he wrote:

"According to physicalism, the language of physics is the universal language of science and, consequently, any knowledge can be brought back to the statements on the physical objects."[1]

In contemporary philosophy, physicalism is most frequently associated with the mind-body problem in philosophy of mind, regarding which physicalism holds that all that has been ascribed to "mind" is more correctly ascribed to "brain" or the activity of the brain. Physicalism is also called "materialism", but the term "physicalism" is preferable because it has evolved with the physical sciences to incorporate far more sophisticated notions of physicality than matter, for example wave/particle relationships and non-material forces produced by particles. The related position of methodological naturalism says that philosophy and science should at least operate under the assumptions of natural sciences (and thus physicalism).

Or perhaps, a consequence of physicalism being so dominant that even that which is stripped away at the start of physics has to be explained in terms of physics to be credible.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 04:43:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A key problem is that we understand neither QM nor consciousness nor emergent phenomena nor complex systems well enough to say anything at all about the issues here.

I simply don't understand your point about physicalism. Of course, in the end, there's nothing but physics, nothing but the material universe. What's the issue?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 05:01:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The issue is that if you are to argue about mind or soul or whatever that is observed by us all (unless you get a serious case of solipsism), then starting from a model that assumes it is all a deterministic system of things and forces is kind of odd. Like starting from theology to argue about astronomy. Until you realise that to have credibility you need to seek support in the dominant model of your time wheter it fits or not.

If you are to argue about mind or soul or anything else physics provides a poor model for it is better (from a purely intellectual standpoint) to note that "I observe this, and if your model does not include it, the model is either not appropriate or wrong as empirical observation triumphs over theory". So CH's observations are a heavier argument then the debateble link to QM. At least if you are of the belief that empiricism is a good.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 06:02:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't the fundamental assumption of physics you have in mind that all we can model is what's observable and that if that isn't the real universe (for whatever value of real you dream up) then we don't and can't care?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 05:08:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More like we model what is observable and assume that is a model of the world rather then a model of our observations. In effect that the model is assumed not to be antropocentric.

So if it then turns out to be antropocentric, that should be studied in detail by explicitly rewriting the model as a model of what we observe, solve the equations to get what we then should be able to observe and compare with actual observations. That should mean that some states in between can not be solved for what is observable, creating a somewhat clearer image. I am not sure of how to do such a re-write.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 06:45:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think quantum gravity strikes at the heart of this, but I'm not able to say a lot about it in a rush...

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 30th, 2011 at 02:40:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
great interview on the latest (also great, imo) 'little atoms' podcast with brian switek on exactly this, amongst some other interesting reflections.
very amusing indeed...

http://www.littleatoms.com/

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 05:04:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i see i'm in good company!
Little Atoms
  • "Music to my ears, that radio show of yours: you are a shining candle in a dark world." - A.C. Grayling

    "One of the most compulsively listenable shows anywhere." - The Guardian

    "A totally excellent post-enlightenment chat show." - Bad Science

  • "Brilliant brain-food radio show." - Kenan Malik
  • "Shining as a beacon of hope for all rationalists, atheists and humanists out there." - The Independent

  • "The great Little Atoms project. It was a true privilege to talk to you." - Ian McEwan

  • "It was an honour to be on the brilliant Little Atoms." - Helen Keen

  • "Little Atoms - The best, intelligent show on radio." - Philippe Legrain

  • "Little Atoms is a rare and brilliant thing." - Ian Sample

  • "There is nothing on the web as carefully considered and intelligently furious as Little Atoms. A must for those who still care about art, science, humanism and argument." - Guardian Unlimited



'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 05:07:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vision

Most of humanity's triumphs and horrors come from that same space. The baggage is overwhelming, and it's tough to go there even within a group of friends who have a high level of intellectual and emotional awareness.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 01:49:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Crazy Horse:
What if neural complexity were only the physical manifestation of even higher order complexities dependent on the quantum correlation already inherent within our brains... and not just within, but without as well, in toto? What if neural complexity was actually only the grossest layer of brain complexity?

that resonates with me, nice one.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 03:55:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 06:08:59 PM EST
Just excellent discussion, folks! A little woo at times, but I'll check oout little atoms.

Several years ago, in the Year of Windows 95, I jammed up a friend's computer by sending him a large animated gif embedded in a discussion by Dr William Calvin www.williamcalvin.com showing how a thought might be perceived in a half mm of the upper surface of the hexagonal cells making up the neocortex by analyzing the interactions of the firings of the cells.

I believe the trick had something to do with the hexagonal geometry and how the cells fired every other one, skipping over their neighbors and generating strange patterns. Like most humans, I'm a sucker for patterns.

Calvin was also speculating at the time about possible quantum effects in wave patterns of the nano size tubular spikes on the nerve fibers.

I'll see if I can find it again.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Tue Aug 30th, 2011 at 02:20:11 AM EST
Yep. I looked for "quantum microtubules hexagon william calvin" and then switched to images and found this: about 5/8 of the way down

http://williamcalvin.com/1990s/1998JConscStudies.htm

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Tue Aug 30th, 2011 at 02:38:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Synchronicity. Calvin asked me to give feedback after reading an early draft of one of his books.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Aug 31st, 2011 at 02:51:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ormondotvos:
Just excellent discussion, folks! A little woo at times, but I'll check oout little atoms.

Several years ago, in the Year of Windows 95, I jammed up a friend's computer

haha, you jammed a few circuits chez moi too. apologies for the woo, if it's i you're referring too. iwas trying to hold back ;)

wonderful thread, vintage ET, thanks again O! too bad sven's too busy to play this time...

ps the little atoms p/cast i referred to has some great stories of supposedly batty scientists, and the efforts to 'normalise' scientists after ww2, when people were starting to think that more atom bombs and holocaust experiments were what we had to get used to.

something for you in there too CH!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Aug 31st, 2011 at 05:16:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Grazie Melo.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Aug 31st, 2011 at 03:00:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is this the Penrose you were mentioning?

http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/penrose-hameroff/orchor.html

"The particular characteristics of microtubules suitable for quantum effects include their crystal-like lattice structure, hollow inner core, organization of cell function and capacity for information processing. We envisage that conformational states of microtubule subunits (tubulins) are coupled to internal quantum events, and cooperatively interact (compute) with other tubulins. We further assume that macroscopic coherent superposition of quantum-coupled tubulin conformational states occurs throughout significant brain volumes and provides the global binding essential to consciousness. We equate the emergence of the microtubule quantum coherence with pre-conscious processing which grows (for up to 500 milliseconds) until the mass-energy difference among the separated states of tubulins reaches a threshold related to quantum gravity."

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Tue Aug 30th, 2011 at 03:09:50 AM EST
Assuming what you need to prove certainly saves a lot of time, money and effort.  It will only be the skeptical low-minded among us who will question, given the lack of proof, whether "macroscopic coherent superposition of quantum-coupled tubulin conformational states¹" has any more validity than saying "God done it."

¹  Whatever that means

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Aug 30th, 2011 at 11:28:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it could be a testable hypothesis. They're taking tunneling microscope pictures of orbitals these days...

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!
by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Tue Aug 30th, 2011 at 08:47:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ATinNM:
"macroscopic coherent superposition of quantum-coupled tubulin conformational states¹" has any more validity than saying "God done it."

¹  Whatever that means

ROFLMAO

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Aug 31st, 2011 at 05:10:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Y'all crack me up. Alla ya. ET rocks!

I'm very impressed by the wide and deep.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Thu Sep 1st, 2011 at 03:10:38 AM EST


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