Sunday, June 7, 2009

6b: Can my computer think?

The more I study on the subject the more I get the feeling that this is just an air buble to some extend.

The scientific discipline and engineering enterprise of AI has been characterized as “the attempt to discover and implement the computational means” to make machines “behave in ways that would be called intelligent if a human were so behaving” (John McCarthy), or to make them do things that “would require intelligence if done by men" (Marvin Minsky).

So in 1956 McCarthy invented the name: Artificial Intelligence. If he would have coined the name "Human Behavior Resembling Performance"........ But just think of it. We then would discuss HBRP....what abbreviation!

What I mean is that from that day on people used metaphors in describing the operating of computers. And we do it all day long nowadays. My computer searches the internet, watches for a key pressed, is on guard against virus attacks, and so on.

All our language about computers is in many respects a form of metaphorical usage of language. So, philosophically AI is a metaphor for HBRP for me from now on.

Due to the use of a certain language there is so much more suggested than there really is and scientifically justified. Let me give you an example.

Winograd (1972) developed a natural-language understanding program, which simulates a robot arm which can move a set of variously shaped blocks,

and allows a person to engage in a dialogue with the computer—asking questions, making statements, and issuing commands about this simple world of movable blocks.

This simple world of blocks then is named "microworld" and read the article in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (a good one!) and there anno 2009 you find the term 'microworld' as a standard concept.

But what is the suggestion in this term? To put is simple.....the more of these 'microworlds' we create and interlink with eachother the closer we'll get to the whole world of the Artificial Intelligence: not specific AI, but a general artificial intelligence.

To give this idea of microworlds an extra connotation, Winograd writes: 'We are concerned with developing a formalism, or "representation", with which to describe ... knowledge. We seek the "atoms" and "particles" of which it is built, and the "forces'' that act on it. '

It is true that in physics we can study relatively simple and isolated systems and then make the next step, based on the assumption that the whole universe is a coherent, law governed system.

My point here is that the language used in the AI community is to some extend rather suggestive, like these microworlds suggest that they eventually are a part of the big world.

When I come home from work I can say, "Well, my job is really a totally different world from my family". Microworlds?! Yes absolutely, but these subsystems we distinguish are part of the total system, which I call my life. And all relations between these subsystems are clear and distinct.

That is what the AI miniworlds suggest too, to be atoms and particles with forces acting on them as elements of one big coherent world. A metaphor.

Don't get me wrong. A lot is achieved in HBRP. In 1965, Daniel Bobrow wrote one of the first Rule-Based Expert Systems. It was called "STUDENT" and it was able to solve a variety of high-school algebra "word problems".

I love expert systems. I love PROLOG, the programming language which means Programming Logic. I love programming (LSL scripting if you like :-) In this financial crisis banks rely more on their expert systems than on human judgement.

At least that was in our input all data and press the button. The answer is RED, ORANGE or GREEN. Formerly ORANGE caused the employee to take a closer look at the correctness of the data to certify that the ORANGE was justified. Now only GREEN entitles you to a bankloan....the expertsystem said so. banking ^_^

Our world is filled with computer systems which do and even do better what humans did. The moment I am typing this, the wordprocessor reads every word and warns me for typos. Terrific but it is not AI but HBRP....(^_^)

Within limited contexts there is a lot achieved in making the computer do, what humans do too. Even in such a way that computers even do it better now and then (when they dont crash), but the question was: Can my computer think?

We can look into three ways of reasoning:
1. Thought is some kind of computation.
2. Digital computers can perform all possible computations.
3. Digital computers can think.

1. Thought is some kind of conscious experience.
2. Machines can't have conscious experiences.
3. Machines can't think.

1. Thoughts are specific biological brain processes.
2. Artificial computers can't have biological brain processes.
3. Artificial computers can't think.

My conclusion of this moment is that I am not finished with this subject and you may have to endure a third lecture on HBRP :-)

The Discussion

[13:25] Daruma Boa: yes please
[13:25] Paula Dix: lol good
[13:25] Alarice Beaumont: sounds good to me :-)
[13:25] Daruma Boa: perhaps we should learn more about computers first^
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: oh goodness
[13:25] Daruma Boa: lsl course or html at the beginning
[13:26] Daruma Boa: ^^
[13:26] Paula Dix: and about thinking
[13:26] Daruma Boa: *GIGGLES* :)~~~~
[13:26] Laila Schuman: have we defined the word "think".....
[13:26] herman Bergson: i could give an LSL course indeed
[13:27] herman Bergson: Have we defined the word "think"
[13:27] herman Bergson: That, Laila is the whole point...
[13:27] Laila Schuman: so many philosophers have asked.... how do we know things
[13:27] Laila Schuman: sensory experience is usually sited
[13:27] herman Bergson: All writers on HBRP begin with saying...welll...let's not start debating about the definition of thinking
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[13:28] Laila Schuman: that is a cop out
[13:28] Daruma Boa: so easy way for them
[13:28] Paula Dix: i see, their idea is to make a human simulation, not real inteligence
[13:29] herman Bergson: as I pointed out in my former lecture..Turing started with the question "Can machines think?" and immediately changed it in another one...dropping the concept of thinking
[13:29] Laila Schuman: if you ask... do they think... then you should not take out the word think as something you cannot discuss
[13:29] Samuel Okelly: i think there is an essential question we need to attempt to answer, and that is based around the clarifying "free will" and what it means to have a freedom of action
[13:29] Daruma Boa: true laila
[13:30] herman Bergson: Not so much Samulel...
[13:30] Laila Schuman: i agree wtih Samuel... free will is very important
[13:30] herman Bergson: Read the article in the IEP....
[13:30] Daruma Boa: for thinking?
[13:30] herman Bergson: it states that a deterministic machine and free will can go together..
[13:30] herman Bergson: lol...I forgot the arguments
[13:31] Laila Schuman: free will? or just a mathematical probability
[13:31] itsme Frederix: Herman in all cases you state: "thought=" followed by "computers can or cannot" but there is also the possibility computers can generate an environment capable off ...
[13:31] Samuel Okelly: surely an understanding of “free will” (as opposed to a deterministic view) is essential in being able to determine the limits or possibility of AI?
[13:32] Laila Schuman: i think..therefore i am
[13:32] herman Bergson: There is much more to state the limits
[13:32] itsme Frederix: Do we asume free will is a property of Intelligence?
[13:32] Laila Schuman: AM
[13:32] Laila Schuman: concious of self
[13:32] Paula Dix: it would be like they can have free will between certain limits??
[13:33] herman Bergson: I think we have to make a difference between sof and hard AI, as is proposed in the IEP article
[13:33] Tess Aristocrat: limits is the operative word.
[13:33] Tess Aristocrat: we place the limits
[13:33] itsme Frederix: most computers are very conscious about their behaviour p.e. ... sorry an error occurred
[13:33] herman Bergson: What philosophically is interesting is the contentions of the hard AI..
[13:33] Peaps Homewood: Independant thinking is the intelligence
[13:33] Paula Dix: yes, in some sense there is no free will, there are always limits
[13:34] Samuel Okelly: if our actions are “determined” then that will clearly lead to different conclusion regarding AI than if our actions are governed by independent free thinking
[13:34] herman Bergson: the idea that computers eventually can think.....
[13:34] herman Bergson: The free will issue isnt such a big thing
[13:34] herman Bergson: if computers are physical objects following physical are human bodies
[13:35] Laila Schuman: it is a manipulation of binary... that has tons of possible outcomes/responses... but it is still electricity and binary
[13:35] Laila Schuman: i disagree Herman
[13:35] itsme Frederix: What are the result of thinking (rather then what is the proces) and then judge the computer results
[13:35] herman Bergson: That is the behaviorist approach Itsme
[13:36] itsme Frederix: forget binary thats just a implementation'
[13:36] Laila Schuman: i don't think so itsme
[13:36] Laila Schuman: it is programing
[13:36] Tess Aristocrat: the computer's answers will always reflect, in some way, the person that programmed it.
[13:36] herman Bergson: But that leads to the idea that everything that behaves like humans is human
[13:36] Laila Schuman: pure and simple
[13:36] Laila Schuman: programing
[13:36] itsme Frederix: Herman call the approach as you want - it gives room for an answer
[13:36] Samuel Okelly: I disagree herman because if we are reduced to preprogrammed beings then a comparison with computers is obvious
[13:36] Samuel Okelly: however if we are autonomous beings capable of free will then it makes comparisons with AI far more difficult
[13:36] Paula Dix: we praise people with math habilities... in this sense computers are smarter than us
[13:37] Laila Schuman: computer is a a calculator
[13:37] Laila Schuman: not smarter
[13:37] Laila Schuman: the programer is the smart one
[13:37] Jangle McElroy: The first things called computers were human, it was a job to compute.
[13:37] itsme Frederix: in war humans are tools also (sorry)
[13:37] Peaps Homewood: computers follow rules , defined by their creator , the creators thoughts , ideas
[13:37] itsme Frederix: and what about production / fabric
[13:38] Laila Schuman: itsme.... please stay on the subject
[13:38] herman Bergson: The fundamental question still is..can my comutor THINK
[13:38] Tess Aristocrat: yes, even if they program the computer to do 'what ifs' is limited to its input
[13:38] itsme Frederix: I just argued your analogy Laila
[13:38] Laila Schuman: can your record player think? it sings
[13:38] Peaps Homewood: who programmes the computer to think ?
[13:38] Peaps Homewood: Humans
[13:38] herman Bergson: Is THINKING a purely human capability or can you implement it in a machine
[13:39] itsme Frederix: please define thinking
[13:39] Laila Schuman: it is programing... not thinking
[13:39] Samuel Okelly: can we agree an understanding of THINKING without refernce to free-will?
[13:39] Paula Dix: i guess computers are still too primitive, stupid, but that will hopefully change with time
[13:39] herman Bergson: Well..thinking is a mental state generated by a brain
[13:39] Tess Aristocrat: to a degree you can implement it- its answer will always be in black and white- no grey areas
[13:40] Peaps Homewood: true Tess
[13:40] Laila Schuman: a map has tons of possible routes to get to the same place... but it does not too is a tool
[13:40] Peaps Homewood: It doesn't think outside the box
[13:40] itsme Frederix: thats very basic, and defines the material you need - reducing it to a narrow definition
[13:40] Tess Aristocrat: I suppose it could give an I don't know answer too
[13:40] Laila Schuman: and it has the right answers too
[13:41] herman Bergson: If it is programmed to, Tess
[13:41] Paula Dix: Yes Tess, but there are researches about computers with more complex structure
[13:41] Jangle McElroy: Is we assume other animals can think, how low do you have to go down the hierarchy of the animal world before you find a creature less able to think than a computer. And yet we'd still say insects can think ,because they are able to overcome changing situations in a complex world and learn from each other.
[13:41] Paula Dix: Jangle ive seen some expert said computers are level with lizzards
[13:41] itsme Frederix: Herman your definition is about a "how" but what is the result .. not just a mental state Iguess
[13:42] Laila Schuman: hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy... i believe the computer came up with an anwer to the question... what is the answer to life and the universe and everything...
[13:42] Jangle McElroy: So if we agree a lizard can think, so can computers I guess
[13:42] Peaps Homewood: animals are conditioned , by lifes experience , computers are programmed
[13:42] Laila Schuman: answer was... 37
[13:42] Paula Dix: 42!
[13:42] Laila Schuman: or some number i can't remember
[13:42] Paula Dix: lol
[13:42] Jangle McElroy: computers are conditioned, it;s the same thing though a different process
[13:43] Laila Schuman: 42 thanks Paula
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: this is so interesting
[13:43] itsme Frederix: (just a remark, in every computer there is that little tiny men - we cant see - )
[13:43] Paula Dix: lol
[13:43] Tess Aristocrat: haha
[13:43] herman Bergson: To get back to Itsme..thinking is a mental state
[13:43] itsme Frederix: like the first chessmachine (with a dwarf in it)
[13:43] Tess Aristocrat: yes, we call them gremlins..that's who botched the job, not us!!!
[13:44] herman Bergson: ]Exactly :-)
[13:44] Paula Dix: itsme, thats for real? someone did that??
[13:44] itsme Frederix: Herman - a mental state - what should I see then ? what is a mental state - how can I measure it
[13:44] herman Bergson: that chessmachine..yes it happened
[13:44] Paula Dix: lol how good the dwarf was on chess??
[13:44] Tess Aristocrat: hehehe..
[13:45] herman Bergson: it is a state of self awareness and the content of what you are awareof
[13:45] herman Bergson: a state of consciousness
[13:46] herman Bergson: and that is a different state than a computer is in when I run an expert system in it
[13:46] itsme Frederix: well a computer (at least a mainframe) is programmed to be aware of it state & content
[13:46] Paula Dix: My friend has a book here called ME (from Mechanical Entity) about a computer software that becomes alive, very interesting
[13:46] herman Bergson: it juggles with idea what they mean..
[13:46] Paula Dix: the key point was this one, it suddenly was aware of itself
[13:46] Peaps Homewood: still a programme
[13:47] Tess Aristocrat: free of emotions; fear, anger, sadness
[13:47] Samuel Okelly: how do we measure the level or degree of self-awareness in others?
[13:47] herman Bergson: Yes..computers that become selfaware is a great issue in SF and movies
[13:47] Paula Dix: in the end of the book the programmer release it on the net and said to it "be good" and the program goes out thinking "what he means with that?"
[13:47] Tess Aristocrat: emotions that might have a say one way or another depending on the mood
[13:47] herman Bergson: THat is a special chapter Samuel....Other Minds...
[13:48] itsme Frederix: like HAL in 2001 space (hall is 1 char shifted IBM)
[13:48] herman Bergson: How do we know the other (human or machine ) hasa mind...
[13:48] Peaps Homewood: limited by its state and content
[13:49] itsme Frederix: Herman that might be the key question
[13:49] herman Bergson: But we only have to deal withthat when my computer says..Hmm I am switched on..I exist :-)
[13:49] Paula Dix: first some capacity of communication is needed
[13:49] Samuel Okelly: i agree and i would suggest that we need to resolve or at least arrive at a position on this before we can progress further
[13:49] herman Bergson: Ok got a deal
[13:49] itsme Frederix: Sam goodpoint
[13:50] herman Bergson: Next lecture will be on the issue of Other Minds. or "How do I discover the mind in my computer?"
[13:50] Paula Dix: nice
[13:50] Paula Dix: e
[13:50] Laila Schuman: that assumes there is one
[13:50] herman Bergson: It is a good point...for if my computer has a mind..or not?
[13:51] herman Bergson: or does it think without a mind?
[13:51] Laila Schuman: you still have not defined think
[13:51] Jangle McElroy: Is there a section on discovering the mind in SL that decides it won't work correctly so often
[13:51] itsme Frederix: answering a question with a proclamation
[13:51] herman Bergson: The AI people dont talk about that
[13:51] Paula Dix: lol good point, to think requires a mind? bacteria can think?
[13:51] Tess Aristocrat: a computer is a a mirror
[13:51] Laila Schuman: yes... Tess
[13:52] Laila Schuman: i agree
[13:52] Tess Aristocrat: however, it's a great database and notebook for answers
[13:52] itsme Frederix: Laila Herman did
[13:52] herman Bergson: Did what Itsme?
[13:53] Paula Dix: defned thinking
[13:53] Laila Schuman: i did not see it defined
[13:53] Paula Dix: process of a mind
[13:53] itsme Frederix: did define thought Herman
[13:53] Tess Aristocrat: nods..yes ..haha
[13:53] Laila Schuman: oops... what is mind then
[13:53] Paula Dix: process of a brain?? :)
[13:54] Peaps Homewood: independant thought
[13:54] Paula Dix: lol
[13:54] Laila Schuman: philosophers love semantics don't they?
[13:54] herman Bergson: Well..I guess ....since we will have a lecture on other minds, we might take into account our own too :-)
[13:54] Jangle McElroy: f we can be in 2 minds, computer's surely can be in at least 1
[13:55] Laila Schuman: eeewwwww
[13:55] Qwark Allen: what you mean jangle?
[13:55] herman Bergson: what about parrallel that digital schizophrenia?
[13:55] Gemma Cleanslate: see you nextt week :-)
[13:55] Gemma Cleanslate: have to go
[13:55] herman Bergson: Bye Gemma..:-)
[13:55] Qwark Allen: darn ! me to
[13:55] Paula Dix: brains do parallel processing, dont they?
[13:56] Qwark Allen: cya tuesday
[13:56] Laila Schuman: baiee...sorry
[13:56] Laila Schuman: gotta go
[13:56] itsme Frederix: and discrete?
[13:56] Daruma Boa: ciao
[13:56] Paula Dix: byE!
[13:56] Ze Novikov: off to RL ty herman bb everyone se you all soon
[13:56] Jangle McElroy: Could sentinece bring the ability to err (think twice), rather than just compute and action (like a computer wieghing up the equasion and acting as its programme dictates)
[13:56] herman Bergson: Our time is up..
[13:56] herman Bergson: lots of computers are going down :-)
[13:56] itsme Frederix: think I'm going to crash in this discussion - brain damage - overflow
[13:56] Paula Dix: lol
[13:56] herman Bergson: Thank you all for your participation
[13:56] Jangle McElroy: Bye everyone
[13:57] Jangle McElroy: Thanks HErman
[13:57] Samuel Okelly: thank you herman :) cheerio for now every1 :)
[13:57] Tess Aristocrat: thank you Herman :)
[13:57] Paula Dix: wonderful... cant wait for next episode!!
[13:57] herman Bergson: To be continued next week Paula
[13:57] Paula Dix: lol yes
[13:57] Paula Dix: wich is perfect since i have to run and would hate to lose it :)))
[13:58] Paula Dix: bye!
[13:58] herman Bergson: bye paula

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