Sunday, February 16, 2020

Another very simple specialist agent

A.s.a. H. learns that collisions are to be avoided since they may cause damage. Since clutter is seen to promote collisions A.s.a. evolves a specialist to clear clutter. The algorithm for this agent is very similar to that for a toy sumo robot except that the A.s.a. agent knows to give up and move on if the obstacle proves to be immovable.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Alternative flyer

A small quadcopter suspended from a balloon and with an instrumentation package suspended in turn below the drone. The assembly has slightly negative buoyancy. A tether can connect the instrumentation to a computer and trickle charge the drone’s battery at any time. This flyer maneuvers slowly which is an advantage for A.s.a.

Thursday, February 6, 2020


I am hacking a DSstyles sky walker drone in order to give the A.s.a. H. society of agents a small flying robot. This particular drone is encaged which greatly simplifies repeated takeoffs and landings. As a result of having an anemometer and microphone nearby A.s.a. immediately associates "flying" with "wind" and "engine noise" in its concept hierarchy. A.s.a. had already associated larger vertical motions with an atmospheric pressure decrease.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Evolving robot explorers

The A.s.a. H. society of agents learns to specialize. One of the mobile robotic arms we have available has been used to transport some of the larger sensors; things like Geiger tubes, metal detectors, anemometers, etc. A.s.a. H. learns/creates a specialist “explorer agent” making use of these hardware components and uses it to probe previously unmapped areas.* The program this particular agent learns is relatively simple, mostly data logging and gps and/or beacon signal logging.

* Seeking out things like abundant light for solar panels, moderate temperatures, low clutter environment, etc. in order to maximize utility.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

A conscious machine

Working within Baars' global workspace theory Barthelmess, Furbach, and Schon argue* that the Hyper reasoning system, with ConceptNet as its knowledge base, is conscious. While I agree with much of this I do believe there are different degrees of consciousness. I have also argued** that consciousness is a collection of processes, not one single thing. Hyper and ConceptNet does not have a notion of self*** nor does it have all 10 of Hobson's "functional components".****

I don't think that consciousness is as difficult as the "hard problem" people would have us believe. On the other hand I don't think that Hyper-ConceptNet is as fully conscious as A.s.a. H. is.*****

The attention issue is part of dealing with the curse of dimensionality. Its a problem that must be faced by any machine trying to operate in a large state space.

* arXiv:2001.09442v1, 26 Jan. 2020
** See my blog of 19 Oct. 2016
*** See Trans. Kansas Academy of Sci., 2017, page 108
**** For example, it seems to lack orientation, emotion, and values.
*****But ConceptNet is a large knowledgebase of almost 3 million axioms in first order logic!

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Communist Utopia

The argument goes something like this:
- Society requires that most of us work.
- But physics tells us that work is energy. “Labor saving appliances” allow us to replace human labor with other energy sources.
- It might be possible to make energy free. Tesla thought that there might be sources of free cosmic energy. Much of his physics was unsound but solar energy is a possible example. Lewis Strauss, the chairman of the atomic energy commission (1954), thought nuclear energy might become “too cheap to meter.” Plentiful thorium or deuterium fuels, for example.
- No one then need work any longer. Machines would replace all human labor. (Today machines are able to do half of all human jobs. But completing the task might involve the creation of  “mechanical life” and the subsequent class struggle between humans and AIs.)

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Vector values

The idea that humans have a vector value system* receives some support from Shalom H. Schwartz's "circular model of values." (see, for example, Journal of Research in Personality, June 2004, pg 230-255)

*A.s.a. H. frequently makes use of a vector value system (see my blog of 19 Feb. 2011) and my criticism of capitalism is based in part on the need to avoid a scalar utility (see my paper  www.robert-w-jones, philosopher, Capitalism is Wrong).