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From: "Sergio Navega" <>
Subject: Re: Just ...
Date: 27 Mar 1999 00:00:00 GMT
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Larry Lart wrote in message <>...
>      Hi ,
> I have few questions ? If you don 't mind ...
>  Can we develop, something, who came somehow in contradiction
>with our self existence? I was study AI/NeuralNets interfaces
>and I 'm still looking/searching that way to go behind my nature.
>'til then ,I have something who need 's to be pointed .

Hi, Larry,

I don't know if I can help you with your philosophical doubts, but
as a suggestion try to divide the problem in two: one cares about
intelligence and the other cares about our existential aspect.

>    We ... humans , we believe/hope we are independence. We
>are some ,more, than just a simple interface or module !? We have that
>Ego and we have that self determination/will . I have a question
>where is that border to pass from just a "simple" algorithm
>to something who have his own wish ? The science call this
>non-determinism or random , but I have say that are just notions
>we have to fixed somehow to have a point to build our theories.

The border, in my opinion, is on the complexity of the mechanisms.
Simple mechanisms are easy to understand and predict. Complex
mechanisms (even those that are made of simple parts, relating
to one another in a complex fashion) are much more difficult
(if not impossible) to predict precisely. Our brain seems
to be an example of the latter. In that regard, in a very
philosophical fashion, you may see your brain (and so your own
existence) as some "mechanism" with complexity comparable to
that of the whole universe. Then, it is not important if
we could understand the fundamental operating principles down
to the neuronal level, your brain will always be unpredictable
(in precise terms). Hence, this thinking about free will is
senseless: even if we don't have it, we act as if we have it.

>    In this particular case ,NeuralNets , can we talk onto the
>some evolution level ,about non-determinism or random choice ?
>Not just that called mathematical "random function" because even
>that values are hardly to determine they follow a creation rule
>and that means isn't that random .

One day or other we will be able to devise mechanisms with the
same functional abilities than our brains. The extent in which
this mechanism uses randomness or the extent in which this
mechanism presents nonpredictable (but useful) behavior will
be a function of our design. Don't forget that we have been
"designed" by nature, and, one way or another, it is also
nature (through ourselves) who is designing these intelligent
mechanisms. I don't have much of a doubt that we will, eventually,
be able to create "life" and "intelligence". There's nothing
in principle that seems to prevent us from doing so.

>     Anyway , why AI/NeuralNets evolution is going slow , where
>we are stuck ?

The problem is horribly complex. It has defied thosands (if not more)
of brilliant minds, at least in the last half-century (in the case
of AI). But if I had to find a "guilty" for the slowness of our
progress, I would say that most of the important stuff regarding
intelligence happens at a level *below* consciousness. We don't
have clear access to this area. We don't know exactly how we
use it or how much we depend on it. A lot of frustrated attempts
on AI started modeling the *conscious* level of thinking (logic,
rules, etc), a level which is very far from the basic, fundamental
processes occurring in our brain right now. This, obviously,
produces something that we don't recognize as intelligent.

>There are few year when the first idea was born
>but until now , only a small community is working around this
>field . And implications in our lives I din 't see just few modest
>applications . Almost nothing on the commercial market ? We can say
>Well , we don't have yet something real strong , but then what about
>games - this is a field to test where you don't suppose to be that
>perfect and in this case , that is the beauty. Why ?

This is just an impression. AI field has never been so much active
as lately. The question is that the discipline is broad (encompasses
cognitive science, mathematics, neuroscience, philosophy, psychology,
computer science, etc) and the question is that most of the results
do not show up in the "popular presses". These results are very
difficult to understand by the laymen. The number of conferences
and publications on AI has never been so large. We are definitely
making progress, although there are a lot of "dead ends" still
being explored.

>     I 'm really sorry if I 'm disturbing you, with this kind of
>question/problems I put my self . But I just want to hear more
>that my self about this sensible subject . And this before to
>be involved to deep . I have to know/accept somehow where or just
>where I wanna go ...

If you want to do something serious about AI, find at least 5
years of free time just to study it intensively. And please,
do not restrict yourself to studying traditional visions of
AI. Instead of going deep into search algorithms, for instance,
go to neuroscience and cognitive psychology textbooks. And be
prepared to stay in a continuously learning cycle. Nobody knows
today how to solve the problem of intelligence so, the more
minds thinking about this, the better.

Sergio Navega.

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