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Some further ideas and arguments
Posted: 17 February 2009 10:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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Just now browsing the web about the turing test, I saw here mentioned about Descartes’s confident claim which meant that AI could not pass the turing test, centuries before computers ever existed.
Thus, I’m just in agreement with him.

Now, if someone wants to seriously consider the possibility that AI could pass the turing test, I’d be curious to know whether he can still account for the fact that any difference between real existence and mere mathematical existence could ever exist, and how Everett’s interpretation of quantum physics could ever be meaningfully denied (in depth rather than for mere practical purposes).
If you think this is out of subject, then I’d say the difference between us is that I care to define some globally coherent worldview, while you only consider every question out of context as a raw empiricism.
Science could successfully unify many different sorts of observation as explained by a relatively small set of concepts forming a more or less global worldview, not sticked to raw empiricism. The same way I dare to make predictions as necessary consequences of a worldview that I perceive as both necessary and well confirmed by a number of facts.
In the same line I can predict that there will be no technological singularity, though of course, progress of information technology can still bring substantial economic growth, something comparable to what happened 50 years ago. I have defined some precise concepts of an online economy that could provide such a growth, and other important contributions can be brought by robotics and the like. But there will always need to be many expert humans to write programs.
About NDEs, I read that they are not even positively correlated with the fact of having heard of the subject before (the correlation may even have been negative). I also saw no trace of coherence of their contents with the idea they were hallucinations or wishful thinking, but all coherence with the idea they were real experiences out of the body.
For example, blind-born subjects had the same visual reports than ordinary people, only expressed in different words expressing their amazement at this sort of perception that was new for them.
How could they fancy and properly describe by wishful thinking a visual experience they had never known in normal life ?

Now, I have addressed plenty of other subjects in my web pages…

I also wrote in French about the foundations of mathematics, to take mathematics from its start in clearer terms, and make it a truly beautiful subject, with some aspects strangely resembling metaphysical concepts… sorry I did not translate it yet.

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Posted: 17 February 2009 11:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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It was not so long ago that it was thought that one needed a “mind” to play chess….The “chess playing machine” was quite a hit in the late 1700’s
We now know that the right algorithm can play a very mean game of chess..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_machine

The box was believed by some to have supernatural power, with Karl Gottlieb von Windisch writing in his 1784 book Inanimate Reason that “[o]ne old lady, in particular, who had not forgotten the tales she had been told in her youth … went and hid herself in a window seat, as distant as she could from the evil spirit, which she firmly believed possessed the machine.”[4]

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Posted: 17 February 2009 12:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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Sylvain Poirier - 17 February 2009 03:27 PM

About NDEs, I . . . saw no trace of coherence of their contents with the idea they were hallucinations or wishful thinking, but all coherence with the idea they were real experiences out of the body. . . .

What is Near Death, Sylvain? Does some intellectual force hold universal sway over which member of Homo sapiens dies and which merely gets nearly offed? Do people who experience Near Death barely avoid having come into contact with some deity or demon on the other side?

Or do experiencers of Near Death have the rare opportunity to peer, if briefly, into the void sans any deity or other magical creatures?

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 17 February 2009 08:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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teuchter - 17 February 2009 12:41 AM

What the fuck is an NDE?

Please tell me it is not a “near death experience.”  I had a number of those in the 60’s, none of them particularly religious.  Many involving driving under the influence of something or other.

If I recall correctly, oxygen deprivation can be a gas, but not particularly generative of spiritual experiences.

Best idea I’ve come across on NDE’s was in a novel by Connie Willis called Passages.

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Posted: 18 February 2009 04:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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You’re just playing the straw man argument with the chess machine. The claim that a mind was necessary to play chess was quite weak indeed, since chess is a fixed well-defined mathematical problem, that can rigorously be solved by listing all possibilities. I don’t know what idiots could claim such a mistake but for me it is clear I would never have been among them. Of course you can have great fun not believing me when I say this, because you don’t understand the way I think, and you possibly don’t even want to understand anything about it, but it’s not my problem.
Now I just had a few chats with elbot, the last loebner prize winner. Its abilities are very weak indeed. One small unusual question often suffices to see it does not understand anything.

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Posted: 18 February 2009 09:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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Understanding versus computing, what are the differences involved in these actions?

It seems to me that there is something inherently generative about understanding and that no level of computational complexity could reach that stage of self-induced comprehension.  AI just seems lacking in some essential component that would make it capable of understanding anything.

Understanding is a self-generative aspect of that capacity to use computational skills, but it does not emerge from the skills themselves. Rather, it is rooted in our perceptions, our sensations, our emotions, and all those other more biologically centered experiences that underlie our language-using behaviours.

Computation appears to be a fully rule-following activity, at no point does the computational agent/mechanism get to break the rules or to generate a new matrix of comprehension from its own expanding network of rule-induced computations.

In my own estimation, the crux of the difference between understanding and computation lies in pre-linguisitc experience. In fact it is upon that matrix of living experiences where understanding first emerges and animals appear to exhibit this type of comprehension. But a computer or an AI mechanism has NO pre-linguistic experience and this is precisely why it is “artificial” in the basic sense. There has to be some creative or self-generative capacity to an intelligence in order to make it authentic because that is where the capacity to understand comes from.

It might, in fact, be that language itself is a self-induced product of our experiential understanding. So that while language-use is a rule-following action equal to computation, there is a whole lot of stuff that needs to happen to the living entity before it can ‘understand’ how to use a language.

Just a few thoughts on the subject.

Bob

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Posted: 18 February 2009 10:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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Sylvain Poirier - 18 February 2009 09:31 AM

The claim that a mind was necessary to play chess was quite weak indeed, since chess is a fixed well-defined mathematical problem, that can rigorously be solved by listing all possibilities.

That’s not how chess algorithms work. And what about your re-cognitions cannot be mathematically defined? You’re just afraid of losing your mind, You don’t seem to realize that you can’t lose what you never had.

The point is that it no more requires a “mind” to play chess as does to “think” as you do. Whatever that is. Only the ignorant and superstitious believe in spirits inside the machine.

Sylvain Poirier - 18 February 2009 09:31 AM

I don’t know what idiots could claim such a mistake but for me it is clear I would never have been among them.

Well your severe criticism and deep condescension is greatly appreciated, fuck you very much! wink

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Posted: 18 February 2009 07:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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Just want to chime in again on the notion that a “mind” is necessary to do anything . . . I agree completely with eucaryote that there is no such thing as a mind to be found anywhere, anyone who “believes” that he has one is just as deluded as those who believe there is a god.  Yes, the human brain, like most animal brains, do a lot of minding activity, that is, their neuro centers pay attention to (mind) everything from sense perceptions to bodily functions to language usage, but aside from this brain action (including understanding) there is no mind, as such, anywhere!

Bob

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Posted: 18 February 2009 08:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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CanZen - 19 February 2009 12:49 AM

Just want to chime in again on the notion that a “mind” is necessary to do anything . . . I agree completely with eucaryote that there is no such thing as a mind to be found anywhere, anyone who “believes” that he has one is just as deluded as those who believe there is a god.  Yes, the human brain, like most animal brains, do a lot of minding activity, that is, their neuro centers pay attention to (mind) everything from sense perceptions to bodily functions to language usage, but aside from this brain action (including understanding) there is no mind, as such, anywhere!

Bob

Yes. Yet it’s amazing how many atheists who lose god with no difficulty are yet reluctant to lose their minds…...

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Posted: 19 February 2009 04:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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CanZen - 19 February 2009 12:49 AM

Just want to chime in again on the notion that a “mind” is necessary to do anything . . . I agree completely with eucaryote that there is no such thing as a mind to be found anywhere, anyone who “believes” that he has one is just as deluded as those who believe there is a god.


I’ve always understood “mind” to be cognition and personality and such, not really a thing unto itself. When I hear “mind” I think of what the brain does, or more specifically, what we do with it, and we do think and feel and develop as individuals. I’m not sure why perceiving that would require any delusional brain activity (i.e. a delusional mind).

Byron

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Posted: 19 February 2009 05:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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SkepticX - 19 February 2009 09:15 AM
CanZen - 19 February 2009 12:49 AM

Just want to chime in again on the notion that a “mind” is necessary to do anything . . . I agree completely with eucaryote that there is no such thing as a mind to be found anywhere, anyone who “believes” that he has one is just as deluded as those who believe there is a god.


I’ve always understood “mind” to be cognition and personality and such, not really a thing unto itself. When I hear “mind” I think of what the brain does, or more specifically, what we do with it, and we do think and feel and develop as individuals. I’m not sure why perceiving that would require any delusional brain activity (i.e. a delusional mind).

Byron

This reminds me of my “Why, I have a mind…” thread, where I took issue with a music theory professor’s description of the brain as hardware and the mind as software. As I see it, it’s all hardware, and thinking is work.

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Posted: 19 February 2009 05:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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SkepticX - 19 February 2009 09:15 AM

. . . When I hear “mind” I think of what the brain does, or more specifically, what we do with it, and we do think and feel and develop as individuals. I’m not sure why perceiving that would require any delusional brain activity (i.e. a delusional mind).

Byron

Actually, the contents, structure and whereabouts of “mind” include more than just what the brain does, it seems to me. The rest of the nervous system is also involved.

The problem with “mind” is that it’s a clever and perhaps useful metaphor that’s been taken far beyond its cleverness and usefulness. “Mind” has become an enormous topic to be written about and discussed, to the point that many seem to view it as an actual physical construction of some sort, or close to that.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 19 February 2009 06:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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Aaron - 19 February 2009 10:57 AM

This reminds me of my “Why, I have a mind…” thread, where I took issue with a music theory professor’s description of the brain as hardware and the mind as software. As I see it, it’s all hardware, and thinking is work.


Six and a half dozen. Let me put it this way—the mind is the collection of non-physical properties of the brain; thoughts and ideas, intellectual properties.

Byron

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Posted: 19 February 2009 06:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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unknown zone - 19 February 2009 10:57 AM

The problem with “mind” is that it’s a clever and perhaps useful metaphor that’s been taken far beyond its cleverness and usefulness. “Mind” has become an enormous topic to be written about and discussed, to the point that many seem to view it as an actual physical construction of some sort, or close to that.


Yeah ... “physical” as in a separate entity unto itself—a reification, as if it’s a “non-spiritual soul” or some such nonsense.

Byron

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 19 February 2009 11:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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Aaron - 19 February 2009 10:57 AM

As I see it, it’s all hardware, and thinking is work.

Better put than you know I think. The illusion is that there is a single mind, or that the serial experience we think of as consciousness really exists, especially in any particular “place”. What Dennett calls the “Cartesian theater”. I think that we need to take reductionism to the limit and admit that “mind” exists everywhere in the organism at once, on a cellular level.

Recall William Jame’s Bear, from wikipedia

James set out to answer his question by asking another: do we run from a bear because we are afraid or are we afraid because we run? He proposed that the obvious answer, that we run because we are afraid, was wrong, and instead argued that we are afraid because we run:

      Our natural way of thinking about… emotions is that the mental perception of some fact excites the mental affection called emotion, and that this latter state of mind gives rise to the bodily expression. My thesis on the contrary is that the bodily changes follow directly the PERCEPTION of the exciting fact, and that our feeling of the same changes as they occur is the emotion.

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