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Old September 13 2012, 05:31 AM   #76
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Mars wrote: View Post
The main difference it that humans have to learn to do math, and with computers that is an innate part of their function. If a computer is to think like a human, it needs to be bad in math...
This is fundamentally impossible for digital computers; their most basic data processes are purely mathematical in nature, and the only way they are able to interact with humans at all is by the grace of god and some clever programmers who designed algorithms to convert those processes into data that is meaningful to the decidedly non-mathematical beings who use them.

One of the reasons for this is that the human thought engine is analog in nature, not digital. We process thoughts by chemical and electrochemical reactions of various strength, duration and timing. IOW, our brains operate in a way fundamentally different from a digital computer, and therefore even if the computer were to simulate the output of a human brain, it can only do so by employing some sort of incredibly complex mathematical algorithm.

The brain does a lot of its thinking by guesses or random numbers, and often times a quick decision is better than a mathematically precise answer which is what computers are used for.
Except the computer invariably comes up with a precise answer hundreds of times faster than a human can come up with an approximation. Like, for example, the Janken robot, which is able to beat humans in Rock Paper Scissors 100% of the time because it can read your hand motions and figure out which one you're going to pick within a microsecond and act accordingly. Humans couldn't use that kind of algorithm; they're just not that fast or that intelligent, but machines have no difficulty with these kinds of tasks.

Which leads me to wonder if you've really thought through the UTILITY of creating a machine that thinks like a human. Machines can ALREADY do everything better than us and are presently limited only by the software available to drive their activities. Any task that requires human thought might as well be performed by an actual human (we've already got plenty of those), and any task that humans don't need to be bothered with could and more efficiently by a non-thinking machine running a program (the programming is almost certainly easier in this case as well). At the end of the day, only real utility of developing a MACHINE that thinks like a human is to produce a group of "sort of people" who can do a lot of work for you without the hassle of having them pay them anything. This niche in society is currently filled by immigrants, convicts, and graduate students, whom -- again -- we have in abundance.
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Old September 13 2012, 05:54 AM   #77
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
I imagine it would be similar to the project to map the human genome. If you find a way to quantify patterns of human thought -- some formal system of memetics, let's say -- you could probably develop a baseline for digital capture or transfer of thought patterns from one person to another.
And we can surmise that there must be some sort of underlying system at work, given that the X,Y,Z coordinates of your axons and my axons, and their activation potentials, are not going to be the the same except at a random level, yet we can both watch an episode of a show, recount almost identical storylines for it, and agree on everything from arcane trivia to the vast literary context it's embedded in. Somehow we have systems that can use a million different physical implementations to implement the same functions (kind of like having a million ways to route a signal from A to B, where the actual routing is irrelevant).

One thing to consider, though, is that human beings have different kinds of memory that are stored different ways. Your pilot program for the B-212 would probably be downloaded as a set of memories copied from an actual helicopter pilot; you suddenly remember taking three years of pilot training with five years flying gunships in 'Nam. But since you've never BEEN to Vietnam and you don't know what the instructor looks like, your memory will vary slightly from the actual pilot they were copied from; you're mapping new data on top of old and the old data gives (wrong) context to the new.
Very true. In early attempts, the required knowledge and muscle memory would be scattered all over the brain, such as the importance of glancing at the rate-of-climb indicator and oil-pressure-gage when doing X, and then reflexively checking your rotor clearance, because of a near-fatal experience in Vietnam when you were trying to impress the kids who sold you a Coke when you were talking to their teacher about .... Visual memories, auditory memories, muscle memories, mental models of physics, flight, arm motions, eye motions, gage locations, etc.

And then when you figure out what the behavior needs to be, filtering out the particular memories or circumstances that lead to the knowledge, skill, or habit, to find the underlying pattern that should be common to anyone skilled at the maneuver, you should be able to download skills without at least most of the memories, other than perhaps the abstract (balloon-animal body, not Charlize Theron) memories are required for pattern and sequence recognition, the way you listen to a mix tape so long that you spend years expecting a song to always lead in to the one that followed it on your tape.

BTW, Trinity asked for a pilot program for a B-212, but Tank downloaded the pilot program for a B-206 (says a blooper site). That probably explains why she ended up dangling from a fire hose.
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Old September 13 2012, 06:12 AM   #78
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

gturner wrote: View Post
In early attempts, the required knowledge and muscle memory would be scattered all over the brain, such as the importance of glancing at the rate-of-climb indicator and oil-pressure-gage when doing X, and then reflexively checking your rotor clearance, because of a near-fatal experience in Vietnam when you were trying to impress the kids who sold you a Coke when you were talking to their teacher about .... Visual memories, auditory memories, muscle memories, mental models of physics, flight, arm motions, eye motions, gage locations, etc.
Well, procedural memory is actually pretty robust, it doesn't have the same complex relational structure that episodic memory. This is one of the reasons people are still able to do some things halfway competently while sleepwalking, for example. They won't remember doing it -- that part of the brain is largely shut down at the time -- but they'll manage to accomplish some fairly complex tasks without being conscious of having done so. I've even had the experience myself; when I was in college and my dumbass instructor had us sub-netting IP addresses by hand for three hours straight. I fell asleep halfway through a worksheet... and woke up with the worksheet completed. Of course the answers were all wrong (wrote the same address for all ten of them) but it was written legibly enough that it might as well have been awake.

Disentangling learned procedural memory from its relational background can be tricky, though. There are alot of things you know how to do that you don't really remember learning (typing on a keyboard, for instance). But there are other things you know from experience, and the experiences themselves are a factor in your skills (ever try to spell a word and catch yourself thinking "I before E except after C"? I do, for some reason always in the voice of Linus Van Pelt). An even better example is in driving a car: everyone has that one weird habit they have as a driver that originates from something they experienced or something they were taught and they remember more or less how they were taught and why they do it that way, if only in the vaguest sense. Procedural memory is, in that way, modified by experiences stored in episodic memory.

The good news is you can probably extract discrete episodes completely independent of the larger context. You could probably transfer a memory of arguing politics with a really smart and admirable man in a dark room somewhere, though you wouldn't remember exactly what the argument was about, where the room was, how you got there or what happened when you left. But if the substance of the conversation was "... and that's why it would be a good idea to bring $5,000 to the corner of North and Madison on August 5th, 2013," you may rightly begin to suspect that that particular memory is a plant.

ETA: I just remembered, that was basically the premise for the movie "Dark City." I always remember that part where John's flashing back through his childhood and he suddenly remembers his teacher saying "You're probably wondering why I keep appearing in your memories. That's because I have implanted myself in them!" STILL one of the most awesome movies ever made.
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Old September 13 2012, 02:00 PM   #79
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Mars wrote: View Post
gturner wrote: View Post
Well, most calculators find the square root of X as e^(0.5*ln(X)), where e and ln are found using a Taylor series expansion or some other efficient algorithm. Intel processors speed up trig functions by using a look-up table for a close initial guess so the series converges much more rapidly.

I don't know of any processor or compiler that would use a random number generator for a common math functions because random numbers are somewhat expensive to generate (unless done in hardware) and using them would make execution times harder to predict.
The main difference it that humans have to learn to do math, and with computers that is an innate part of their function. If a computer is to think like a human, it needs to be bad in math, as all this mathematical precision is expensive in energy terms. Humans don't usually do e^(0.5*ln(X)) when trying to figure out the square root of some number. One way is to pick a number between 0 and X and multiply that number by itself, if that number is greater than X, then that number is the upper bound of the next number you pick and 0 is the lower bound, otherwise that number picked is the lower bound of the next number picked and X is the upper. If one keeps following that algorithm one gets fairly close to the actual square root fairly quickly. The brain does a lot of its thinking by guesses or random numbers, and often times a quick decision is better than a mathematically precise answer which is what computers are used for.
At this point I have to conclude you know absolutely nothing about actual computer science, so maybe you should refrain from commenting on how to simulate human brains (or anything else, really.)
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Old September 13 2012, 02:07 PM   #80
Mars
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Mars wrote: View Post
The main difference it that humans have to learn to do math, and with computers that is an innate part of their function. If a computer is to think like a human, it needs to be bad in math...
This is fundamentally impossible for digital computers; their most basic data processes are purely mathematical in nature, and the only way they are able to interact with humans at all is by the grace of god and some clever programmers who designed algorithms to convert those processes into data that is meaningful to the decidedly non-mathematical beings who use them.

One of the reasons for this is that the human thought engine is analog in nature, not digital. We process thoughts by chemical and electrochemical reactions of various strength, duration and timing. IOW, our brains operate in a way fundamentally different from a digital computer, and therefore even if the computer were to simulate the output of a human brain, it can only do so by employing some sort of incredibly complex mathematical algorithm.

The brain does a lot of its thinking by guesses or random numbers, and often times a quick decision is better than a mathematically precise answer which is what computers are used for.
Except the computer invariably comes up with a precise answer hundreds of times faster than a human can come up with an approximation. Like, for example, the Janken robot, which is able to beat humans in Rock Paper Scissors 100% of the time because it can read your hand motions and figure out which one you're going to pick within a microsecond and act accordingly. Humans couldn't use that kind of algorithm; they're just not that fast or that intelligent, but machines have no difficulty with these kinds of tasks.

Which leads me to wonder if you've really thought through the UTILITY of creating a machine that thinks like a human. Machines can ALREADY do everything better than us and are presently limited only by the software available to drive their activities. Any task that requires human thought might as well be performed by an actual human (we've already got plenty of those), and any task that humans don't need to be bothered with could and more efficiently by a non-thinking machine running a program (the programming is almost certainly easier in this case as well). At the end of the day, only real utility of developing a MACHINE that thinks like a human is to produce a group of "sort of people" who can do a lot of work for you without the hassle of having them pay them anything. This niche in society is currently filled by immigrants, convicts, and graduate students, whom -- again -- we have in abundance.
Even if you don't "pay" the computer anything, a computer still costs something to run and maintain, a computer wanting to be paid, is just taking over the responsibility of self maintenance itself, this is sort of like the difference between a slave and an employee. The slave doesn't get paid, but he still needs to be fed, and sheltered, in order to do work. A computer is a tool, but if you ask it to emulate a human, then one of the things it will do while emulating a human is ask to be paid in exchange for the work it does, and it will demand to be treated just as any other human would. To properly emulate a human the computer will probably generate a lot of random numbers and use feedback and learning to develop ways of dealing with the real world. The problem with computers is that in the way they are usually used as calculating machines, they execute certain algorithms, and we don't have an algorithm for common sense besides trial and error. A computer needs to have the ability to learn and develop common sense and intuition.
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Old September 13 2012, 02:11 PM   #81
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Mars wrote: View Post
gturner wrote: View Post
Well, most calculators find the square root of X as e^(0.5*ln(X)), where e and ln are found using a Taylor series expansion or some other efficient algorithm. Intel processors speed up trig functions by using a look-up table for a close initial guess so the series converges much more rapidly.

I don't know of any processor or compiler that would use a random number generator for a common math functions because random numbers are somewhat expensive to generate (unless done in hardware) and using them would make execution times harder to predict.
The main difference it that humans have to learn to do math, and with computers that is an innate part of their function. If a computer is to think like a human, it needs to be bad in math, as all this mathematical precision is expensive in energy terms. Humans don't usually do e^(0.5*ln(X)) when trying to figure out the square root of some number. One way is to pick a number between 0 and X and multiply that number by itself, if that number is greater than X, then that number is the upper bound of the next number you pick and 0 is the lower bound, otherwise that number picked is the lower bound of the next number picked and X is the upper. If one keeps following that algorithm one gets fairly close to the actual square root fairly quickly. The brain does a lot of its thinking by guesses or random numbers, and often times a quick decision is better than a mathematically precise answer which is what computers are used for.
At this point I have to conclude you know absolutely nothing about actual computer science, so maybe you should refrain from commenting on how to simulate human brains (or anything else, really.)
Actually I have a degree in it, what is lacking is an understanding of how the brain works. Are you saying a future computer can't simulate the human brain? Then you are saying there is a part of the universe that can't be simulated with mathematical algorithms, and that 3 pounds or organic matter in your skull is beyond the ability of any conceivable computer to emulate, the rules at work within the brain are somehow non-mathematical, maybe a soul or spirit separate from the body is involved then?

Its kind of an arrogant position to take assuming the "I'm the expert in computing, and your not, so therefore you must agree with me." So you say you know everything about every possible computer and your telling me that no human brain simulation is possible as what goes on inside the brain is outside the normal scope and rules of the universe and can't be simulated?
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Old September 13 2012, 02:18 PM   #82
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Mars wrote: View Post
Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Mars wrote: View Post

The main difference it that humans have to learn to do math, and with computers that is an innate part of their function. If a computer is to think like a human, it needs to be bad in math, as all this mathematical precision is expensive in energy terms. Humans don't usually do e^(0.5*ln(X)) when trying to figure out the square root of some number. One way is to pick a number between 0 and X and multiply that number by itself, if that number is greater than X, then that number is the upper bound of the next number you pick and 0 is the lower bound, otherwise that number picked is the lower bound of the next number picked and X is the upper. If one keeps following that algorithm one gets fairly close to the actual square root fairly quickly. The brain does a lot of its thinking by guesses or random numbers, and often times a quick decision is better than a mathematically precise answer which is what computers are used for.
At this point I have to conclude you know absolutely nothing about actual computer science, so maybe you should refrain from commenting on how to simulate human brains (or anything else, really.)
Actually I have a degree in it, what is lacking is an understanding of how the brain works. Are you saying a future computer can't simulate the human brain? Then you are saying there is a part of the universe that can't be simulated with mathematical algorithms, and that 3 pounds or organic matter in your skull is beyond the ability of any conceivable computer to emulate, the rules at work within the brain are somehow non-mathematical, maybe a soul or spirit separate from the body is involved then.
If you have a degree in computer science then you got ripped off, because so far you've not said anything that tells me you understand much at all about how computers work, nor how they are designed, nor how organic brains differ from them.

I never said you can't simulate the human brain--that's hogwash, of course. It is certainly possible, but an analog electro-chemical computer operates on entirely different principles from a digital electronic computer. It's like describing how to simulate the behavior of an airplane using nothing but grapefruit. Our level of understand of human brain functions is too inadequate to approach any kind of accurate simulation.

In addition, you claimed that if we just simulate the neuronal activity of a human brain, personality and consciousness will emerge. There is no reason to believe this is so. We do not know how the electro-chemical processes of the brain interact to give rise to what we see as intelligence, consciousness, and free will. To think that if we just simulate neuronal functions it will happen by itself is quite wishful. I'm not implying there is a soul or any quality that is impossible to duplicate, just that we know so little about what we want to duplicate, it is not going to happen by accident, at least not within a timeframe relevant to humans.
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Old September 13 2012, 04:31 PM   #83
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Incorrect. Calculators produce their results by logical relationships hard wired directly into their circuitry. Basically, it's a series of voltage gates that physically play out the AND/OR/NAND/NOR/etc logical processes. There's nothing "random" about it; it's essential a conversion from one data type (binary/boolean) to a more easily readable one (base ten decimal).

Software-based calculators (javascript, for example) are even simpler, since they can perform logical operations on whole numbers without resorting to boolean relationships (although, deep down, that's what computers are doing when they run a javascript anyway).
I know how computers and bitwise math works, and yet none of that explains where you came up with "2%" or how you didn't fundamentally understand what he was saying.

Yeah, the word random was probably wrong, but I got the feeling he was referring to the more arbitrary process of choosing a method.
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Old September 13 2012, 07:23 PM   #84
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Mars wrote: View Post
Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post

At this point I have to conclude you know absolutely nothing about actual computer science, so maybe you should refrain from commenting on how to simulate human brains (or anything else, really.)
Actually I have a degree in it, what is lacking is an understanding of how the brain works. Are you saying a future computer can't simulate the human brain? Then you are saying there is a part of the universe that can't be simulated with mathematical algorithms, and that 3 pounds or organic matter in your skull is beyond the ability of any conceivable computer to emulate, the rules at work within the brain are somehow non-mathematical, maybe a soul or spirit separate from the body is involved then.
If you have a degree in computer science then you got ripped off, because so far you've not said anything that tells me you understand much at all about how computers work, nor how they are designed, nor how organic brains differ from them.

I never said you can't simulate the human brain--that's hogwash, of course. It is certainly possible, but an analog electro-chemical computer operates on entirely different principles from a digital electronic computer. It's like describing how to simulate the behavior of an airplane using nothing but grapefruit. Our level of understand of human brain functions is too inadequate to approach any kind of accurate simulation.

In addition, you claimed that if we just simulate the neuronal activity of a human brain, personality and consciousness will emerge. There is no reason to believe this is so. We do not know how the electro-chemical processes of the brain interact to give rise to what we see as intelligence, consciousness, and free will. To think that if we just simulate neuronal functions it will happen by itself is quite wishful. I'm not implying there is a soul or any quality that is impossible to duplicate, just that we know so little about what we want to duplicate, it is not going to happen by accident, at least not within a timeframe relevant to humans.
What else is there besides neuronic activity? If we have all the parts and we know how each part behaves and we know how they go together then the parts simulated should know how to interact. We are simulating a physical process, there is no need to interpret that process or to translate what goes on in the brain so we can understand it, because when we simulate a human brain, we also must simulate a human body that it connected with it, that means all the relevant tissues the muscles, the bones the organs the eyes, ears, nose mouth, fingers, hands, arms, legs and every other part. I mean the entire human body is just an order of magnitude more complex than the brain all by itself, Moore's law should catch up with that quickly. All that has to happen is that the simulated brain communicate with the simulated body within the simulation, we then surround the simulated body with an environment that it can react to, and we can control that environment, and even use sensory inputs from the real environment to modify the simulated environment. As the simulated neurons fire in the simulated brain, all the body parts, if simulated correctly know how to behave, the next step is to teach this sim person as we would a child, we can communicate with it by modyfying its environment, and as it grows up and learns, it can do useful stuff if we slave a robot to its sim body movements, including the mouth and vocal cords so it can talk to us. We really don't know how an AI works, we don't know how the neurons produce thought, so we just route copy what nature has already accomplished in a computer simulation rather than deconstruct how nature has made us and try to interpret it.
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Old September 13 2012, 07:29 PM   #85
Robert Maxwell
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Mars wrote: View Post
Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Mars wrote: View Post

Actually I have a degree in it, what is lacking is an understanding of how the brain works. Are you saying a future computer can't simulate the human brain? Then you are saying there is a part of the universe that can't be simulated with mathematical algorithms, and that 3 pounds or organic matter in your skull is beyond the ability of any conceivable computer to emulate, the rules at work within the brain are somehow non-mathematical, maybe a soul or spirit separate from the body is involved then.
If you have a degree in computer science then you got ripped off, because so far you've not said anything that tells me you understand much at all about how computers work, nor how they are designed, nor how organic brains differ from them.

I never said you can't simulate the human brain--that's hogwash, of course. It is certainly possible, but an analog electro-chemical computer operates on entirely different principles from a digital electronic computer. It's like describing how to simulate the behavior of an airplane using nothing but grapefruit. Our level of understand of human brain functions is too inadequate to approach any kind of accurate simulation.

In addition, you claimed that if we just simulate the neuronal activity of a human brain, personality and consciousness will emerge. There is no reason to believe this is so. We do not know how the electro-chemical processes of the brain interact to give rise to what we see as intelligence, consciousness, and free will. To think that if we just simulate neuronal functions it will happen by itself is quite wishful. I'm not implying there is a soul or any quality that is impossible to duplicate, just that we know so little about what we want to duplicate, it is not going to happen by accident, at least not within a timeframe relevant to humans.
What else is there besides neuronic activity? If we have all the parts and we know how each part behaves and we know how they go together then the parts simulated should know how to interact. We are simulating a physical process, there is no need to interpret that process or to translate what goes on in the brain so we can understand it, because when we simulate a human brain, we also must simulate a human body that it connected with it, that means all the relevant tissues the muscles, the bones the organs the eyes, ears, nose mouth, fingers, hands, arms, legs and every other part. I mean the entire human body is just an order of magnitude more complex than the brain all by itself, Moore's law should catch up with that quickly. All that has to happen is that the simulated brain communicate with the simulated body within the simulation, we then surround the simulated body with an environment that it can react to, and we can control that environment, and even use sensory inputs from the real environment to modify the simulated environment. As the simulated neurons fire in the simulated brain, all the body parts, if simulated correctly know how to behave, the next step is to teach this sim person as we would a child, we can communicate with it by modyfying its environment, and as it grows up and learns, it can do useful stuff if we slave a robot to its sim body movements, including the mouth and vocal cords so it can talk to us. We really don't know how an AI works, we don't know how the neurons produce thought, so we just route copy what nature has already accomplished in a computer simulation rather than deconstruct how nature has made us and try to interpret it.
There is certainly a need to understand how each chemical interacts with the brain, propagates through it, and interacts with other chemicals. Given that our understanding of human psychology stems largely from assumptions about how those chemical processes work, and not a lot of hard evidence that they work in exactly that way, we have a long way to go before we can produce a simulation that models a full human brain, complete with personality and psychology.

When you say "all that has to happen is..." you are glossing over what sounds like a good century's worth (or more) of research into simulation and computer system design. You have to consider the sheer number of stimuli that brain will have to receive from its simulated senses--and simulate all of those, and have them make coherent sense, otherwise the brain will be unable to make sense of it and be useless for any actual thinking.

You make it all sound very simple. If it is so simple, why hasn't anyone done it? It's not just a lack of computing power, it's a lack of simulation techniques complex and complete enough to pull it off. This stuff isn't right around the corner, it's at least decades away--if not longer.
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Old September 13 2012, 07:29 PM   #86
Mars
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Ryan8bit wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Incorrect. Calculators produce their results by logical relationships hard wired directly into their circuitry. Basically, it's a series of voltage gates that physically play out the AND/OR/NAND/NOR/etc logical processes. There's nothing "random" about it; it's essential a conversion from one data type (binary/boolean) to a more easily readable one (base ten decimal).

Software-based calculators (javascript, for example) are even simpler, since they can perform logical operations on whole numbers without resorting to boolean relationships (although, deep down, that's what computers are doing when they run a javascript anyway).
I know how computers and bitwise math works, and yet none of that explains where you came up with "2%" or how you didn't fundamentally understand what he was saying.

Yeah, the word random was probably wrong, but I got the feeling he was referring to the more arbitrary process of choosing a method.
I think the way brain cells grow in our brain is much akin to the way branches grow in a tree. You can have two trees for instance which have the same DNA, and are in fact clones. (Cloning plants is relatively easy compared to cloning animals, usually you take a branch and put in water and it grows roots, and that's a clone.) If you have two plants that are the same age and are clones, then each tree grows its branches in different locations, that is a random fractal process, and a similar process is involved in growing brain cells those brain cells determine how we think, that is why I believe a random process is involved in our thinking rather than a procedural process that governs a computer. I'm not saying its entirely random, but our associative memory works that way.
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Old September 13 2012, 07:59 PM   #87
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Mars wrote: View Post
Even if you don't "pay" the computer anything, a computer still costs something to run and maintain, a computer wanting to be paid, is just taking over the responsibility of self maintenance itself, this is sort of like the difference between a slave and an employee.
Which therefore ENTIRELY defeats the purpose of building a sentient/humanlike computer.

To properly emulate a human the computer will probably generate a lot of random numbers
It will do nothing of the kind, because the human brain does not generate random numbers. The human brain generates electrical impulses in pre-determined patterns that have meaning only in context with one another. Although those impulses are often additive, they are not MATHEMATICAL in nature.

The problem with computers is that in the way they are usually used as calculating machines
They are ONLY used as calculating machines. That's what a computer is: an unbelievably sophisticated calculator. Everything -- and I do mean EVERYTHING -- that a computer does fundamentally boils down to MATH.

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?"
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Old September 13 2012, 08:06 PM   #88
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Ryan8bit wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Incorrect. Calculators produce their results by logical relationships hard wired directly into their circuitry. Basically, it's a series of voltage gates that physically play out the AND/OR/NAND/NOR/etc logical processes. There's nothing "random" about it; it's essential a conversion from one data type (binary/boolean) to a more easily readable one (base ten decimal).

Software-based calculators (javascript, for example) are even simpler, since they can perform logical operations on whole numbers without resorting to boolean relationships (although, deep down, that's what computers are doing when they run a javascript anyway).
I know how computers and bitwise math works, and yet none of that explains where you came up with "2%" or how you didn't fundamentally understand what he was saying.
1) Because for a given number (don't remember which one I used) using a random number generator to produce the proper value will yield 50 completely different results, one of which is the actual square root.

2) I understood exactly what he was saying. MY point is that trial-and-error is a meaningless process if you don't have a parameter to define the CORRECT value in a reasonable amount of time; a calculator doesn't need to FIND the square root, it just follows the logic hardwired into it and prints an output accordingly.

Yeah, the word random was probably wrong, but I got the feeling he was referring to the more arbitrary process of choosing a method.
Which is, again, self defeating if you haven't defined the parameters for success.
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Old September 13 2012, 08:35 PM   #89
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Mars wrote: View Post
I think the way brain cells grow in our brain is much akin to the way branches grow in a tree.
It's not. Neurons, unlike trees, are physically interconnected with one another, and the number and strength of those connections is determined by a combination of hormones and activity. New connections can and do form throughout a person's life while old/unused connections atrophy until the junctions between them separate (this is the process of forgetting).

If you have two plants that are the same age and are clones, then each tree grows its branches in different locations, that is a random fractal process
Neuronal growth is not random, nor is it usually fractal. Most neurons -- IIRC -- are monopolar containing a single axon that can connect to one other neuron.

There are unused dendrites that don't presently have connections and are available to accept new connections from neighboring cells. Neurologists have figured out a rule of thumb that "neurons that wire together fire together" and tend to depolarize synchronously. The more neurons connect to the same juncture or the same cluster of cells, the more can fire together to create a stronger impulse.

I'm not saying its entirely random, but our associative memory works that way.
Again, there's nothing random about it. It's a matter of repetition and patterning more than anything else. When two groups of neurons tend to be triggered by the same stimuli all the time, they have a tendency to form connections with one another; later on, different stimuli that would have otherwise only triggered one of them ends up triggering the second one as well, forming an association.

How this work sin memory is that a certain experience happens to you a certain number of times or in a certain way that causes a whole cluster of specific neurons to depolarize all at once. Those neurons immediately strengthen existing connections (or sometimes form new ones), resulting in a relational network. When you encounter a stimuli that's similar to this one, it will trigger SOME of the neurons in that relational network, and the others are triggered by their association, with the network itself.

Some of that stimuli is self-generated within the brain; as I type this, for example, an extremely well-developed cluster of neurons in my parietal lobe are firing like crazy in very specific patterns associated with a very specific spatial location in my parietal eye field. Those connections are so strongly reinforced by now that I am now able to type this message without actually looking at the keyboard; my brain is keeping track of my fingers and has a very good working memory of where the keys should be from the relative position of where my fingers are. This was NOT learned by random action, but by repeating the same action over and over and over and over and over again.

That's the key to human learning. Not randomness, but intensive pattern repetition.
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Old September 13 2012, 09:13 PM   #90
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
When you say "all that has to happen is..." you are glossing over what sounds like a good century's worth (or more) of research into simulation and computer system design.

You make it all sound very simple. If it is so simple, why hasn't anyone done it? It's not just a lack of computing power, it's a lack of simulation techniques complex and complete enough to pull it off. This stuff isn't right around the corner, it's at least decades away--if not longer.
Well, to be fair to Mars: we are talking about the world of 2100.

I think.
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