Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Student evaluations are spreading

Something like student evaluations are now being used in medical care.  A survey of the patient's evaluation of the quality of their treatment is now in use.  Since patients are not experts in medicine (just like students are not experts in, say, physics or education) their opinions distort (damage) the delivery of healthcare (see William Sonnenberg in the Fall 2013 issue of Keystone Physician) Popularity is not a good measure of quality, in education or in medicine.


Pfeifer and Bongard claim that "intelligence always requires a body." (page 18 of How the Body Shapes the Way We Think, Bradford Books, 2006) While Asa H has used Lego NXT sensors and actuators to help define some concepts (see my blogs of 14 Feb., 16 Feb., 6 March, 12 March, and 1 April 2013) all of these could have been input by humans instead.  While a society of intelligent agents needs to have some contact with the external environment it is not necessary for every individual intelligent agent to have such contact.  A human could serve in place of the AIs input sensors and/or output actuators and as a pre and postprocessor for the AI. (Just as a man can be an expert in astrophysics without ever looking through a telescope himself. Specialization can work.  The proverbial "brain in a vat" can still think, still be intelligent.)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Autonomous learning from the web

With Asa H's current concept vocabulary (see blogs of  14 Feb. 2013, 16 Feb. 2013, 6 March 2013, 12 March 2013, and 1 April 2013) it can now learn a limited amount from a raw internet feed.  Many concepts Asa acquires are then modified by ongoing learning.  For example, just like a child, Asa might first think all "animals" are "dogs."

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

AIs should not be modeled too closely after humans

Humans, like all other animals, are evolutionary hacks. Humans have vestigial organs like the appendix. Our jaws are too small to accept wisdom teeth.  The wiring from our retinal cells passes in front of the retina. Some of us are born with residual tails.  Males have nipples. Similarly, penguins, though flightless, have hollow bones. Boa constrictors have vestigial hind legs. etc. etc. Our brains and minds are kludges too.  We know of various examples of human irrationality. (See, for example, D. Ariely, Predictably Irrational, Harper Collins, 2008) An AI can be more rational, more intelligent, than humans are. After all, unlike humans, AIs really are intelligently designed.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Semiotic machinery

A real (Lego NXT) or simulated robot (running Asa H 2.0) can learn sensor-action patterns like "collision":

with the robot moving at time step 1
sensing an object far away at time step 1

with the robot moving at time step 2
sensing an object nearby at time step 2

sense contact at time step 3

If an observer inputs the word "collision" at the same time then Asa H associates this sign with the concept it learns (see my blog of 6 March 2013 and chapter 1 of my book, Twelve Papers, www.robert-w-jones.com, book).  Asa H has much of the same functionality that Meystel prescribes in his book, Semiotic Modeling and Situation Analysis (AdRem, 1995).

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Student evaluations of instructors

Tests are a way of getting students to work a bit harder than they otherwise might.  Tests may or may not measure anything about what the student has accomplished in the course. Similarly, student evaluations of instructors are a way to make instructors work harder than they otherwise might.  Student evaluations may or may not measure much about what the instructor accomplished in the course s/he taught. (And there may be better ways to both motivate and evaluate the instructor. see my presentation in Bulletin of the American Physical Society, vol. 40, pg. 968, 1995)