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Old September 14 2012, 03:38 PM   #96
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Mars wrote: View Post
Is there really anything in this Universe that is not mathematical in nature?
Language, for one. The entire concept of semantics is based around the idea that specific blocks of data can have various meanings depending on the data around them. For human beings, semantics is sometimes a logical process (a && b && C == true, and so on) but is not mathematical in nature.

Not so for computers, for whom even the underlying logical processes are expressed in pre-determined mathematical values before they are parsed. Moreover, the algorithm that computers use to process speech is based on statistical analysis and the degrees of probability that any two sounds will be heard together in the same word or the same sentence.

If one can write a series of rules that predict the behavior of each neutron, one can then model the neuron activity
Yes. And since a model of a conscious mind will never itself be conscious, it is kind of a moot point.

A computer needs to have the ability to learn and develop common sense and intuition.
Once again, computers can already do that. Computer learning in AIs has become a mature field of study by now, and the concept of "common sense" is embodied in the development of expert systems.

None of which are in any way close to being sentient or humanlike. None of them NEED to be sentient or humanlike. Siri is actually more functional as a cleverly programmed voice interface as she would be if she was actually self-aware; imagine if your iPhone suddenly chimed up and Siri started asking you, "Is this all that I am? Is there nothing more?"
There are at least two paths to AI, there is the top down approach and the bottom up approach. One way to go about it is to try and arrive at AI through a string of logic statements, I believe this would be the top down method. Computer scientists try to figure out precisely what the human brain is doing and tries to figure out the rules to human level reasoning.

The other way is to try to simulate the biological activity in a living organism within a computer...[/quote]
Not really. The top-down method, as you said, is basically the attempt to replicate the activity of a human brain on a software level, essentially the simulation you're describing. The "Bottom up" method attempts to arrive at a true AI by copying the HARDWARE of a working brain and letting the software emerge on its own.

In other words, with a bottom-up approach it is not necessary to simulate consciousness, or even a working brain. It is necessary to BUILD a working brain and then experiment to see what level of consciousness, if any, it is able to sustain.

Both techniques have had a lot of success in generating practical AIs for industrial and commercial use; the bottom-up approach takes a lot longer and is vastly more expensive, but its results are considerably more impressive. As for the longer term goal of self-aware thinking machines, the bottom-up approach has good prospects for that while the top-down paradigm is probably too limiting.
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