Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Divided thought

We are all able to walk or drive while independently conversing or thinking or planning. Similar parallel processing occurs in Asa H. Input devices and output servos may or may not be shared by the two (or more) processing streams. In Asa, each stream may take the form of an independent concept hierarchy. Whether these hierarchies can evolve to the point of forming independent divided consciousness (Ernest Hilgard, Divided Consciousness, Wiley, 1977) or multiple personalities remains to be seen.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Observing Whorfian phenomena in Asa H

Language helps to tie some concepts together. Commands issued in english like "obstacle, slow down, turn left" help Asa H to form a link between the actions of slowing and turning, aiding in the creation of a sequence that might be called "dodging." Asa's description and understanding of the world is then written in terms of these very concepts. Language has come to influence how Asa will see its world. Just how strong and important an effect this is remains to be seen.

The emergence of consciousness

Higher level concepts emerge after lower level ones have developed. Concepts of "self" and "consciousness" evolve after/from categories like "sense" and "act." See my 1 January 2017 blog on Asa's expanding consciousness.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The more general concepts

Asa H naturally learns features that co-occur and sequences in time. It quickly learns that servo position feedback, temperatures, acceleration, distance measures, battery charge, etc. form a common cluster which we may choose to call "senses," and loading a file is followed by searching the file and then interpolation and/or extrapolations, a sequence we may choose to label "thinking." Sometimes things like grasp, lift, and move may occur in a sequence and we can name that "act." Some more general concepts occur on higher levels in the memory hierarchy. A sequence of "sense" "think" "act" may define an early form of the "self" concept. If the sequence leads to injury then "pain" or "damage" or "health" is added to the "self" concept. Hand coding can be used to speed up learning of any desired concepts or to make Asa's concepts more closely resemble categories humans know and use.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Root cause

Climate change is just a modern example of the tragedy of the commons. A real solution must eliminate the root cause. The root cause is capitalism. Excessive competition gets in the way of needed cooperation. I've seen this happen time and time again.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

In black and white

I've been watching the movie Madiba on BET and the Chappelle re-run on Saturday Night Live. Mandela's story brought home to me the fact that you can't devote your life so completely to a cause and have a normal family life. The same thing is true when you devote yourself so extensively to science.

Chappelle made it clear to me that while a white American might well react to Trump's election like I did in my 9 November 2016 blog, for black Americans it was just same ol' same ol'. I do disagree a bit in that it seems to me HRC really won the election by almost 3 million votes. So Americans didn't vote as poorly as one might think. I also point out that giving a mad man control of nuclear weapons IS different from some other evils that America (the U.S. that is) has been responsible for in the past.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Brain surgery

Hand coding, working from things like my blogs of 5 November 2015, 21 July 2016 and 1 January 2017 I am trying to clean up a set of standardized core concepts that would be shared by all subsequent Asa H agents, regardless of their specializations.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Discrete and continuous

Some aspects of reality appear to be discrete. Matter seems to come in chunks we call atoms. Charge seems to come in chunks. Other aspects of reality appear to be continuous. Distance/length in 3 dimensions, x, y, and z, seems to be continuous. Duration/time seems to be continuous.

Some of our artificial intelligence systems are purely discrete, things like logic programming software run on digital computers. Other approaches to AI can be continuous, things like the dynamic approach to cognition based on differential equations. And there are analog computers and control systems.

While modeling the world Asa H makes use of both discrete and continuous math. Asa can add new categories and attributes/features. It grows a graphical network of concepts. It can also (continuously) adjust the relative strengths of attributes, do interpolation and extrapolation, etc.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Ongoing research into large knowledgebases

For the last 4 or 5 years I have been working to give my artificial intelligence A.s.a. H. as large a knowledgebase as possible. (Large knowledgebases are quite opaque. My blogs of 1 October and 5 November 2015 represent only some fraction of what's been learned, a fraction that can be easily interpreted and translated into english.) That has involved a sizable portion of some one hundred sensory input channels in addition to vision. (As with humans, visual input can easily dominate the data bandwidth. See my early blog of 13 June 2013.) This currently runs on a 4 computer cluster with over 5 terabytes of memory. The intention has been to try to get Asa to understand the real world and function in it. As we try to scale to larger size we'll see if we really have the attention problem solved.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Religious issues

ESU's president informed us last Friday that "islamophobic flyers" had been distributed on campus. I watched the nightly TV news out of Topeka to find out more. They talked about the postings and showed a bulletin board but blurred out the flyer itself. At faculty senate yesterday we passed a "resolution in support of ESU's international community" that denounced Trump's January 27 executive order as well as these flyers. I asked ESU's provost about the content of the flyers and was only told that they contained passages from the quran, presumably inflammatory passages. It's interesting that today I found a business card tacked to one of our physics department bulletin boards.  It had Hope Community church, Andover, Kansas printed on the back side and a bible passage from 1 Corinthians on the front.

I would think the intent of the flyers was to denounce one set of religious beliefs and believers. I would think the intent of the other was to encourage a different set of religious beliefs and believers.  I suspect the intent of most of our university administrators is mostly to support enrollment.

While I don't want to single out any one religion for special mention I do think, as an atheist, that pointing out the nonsense in any and all of the "holy" books is perfectly fine by me. Perhaps one should be careful to criticize them ALL each time?

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The need for and limits to authority

Ideally we would be able to test any and all of the equations/arguments that we adopt and employ.  In practice, however, we do not have the time, knowledge, or resources to do this so we must accept and use some knowledge provided to us by others, "authorities."  We can, however, limit this to things which are at least testable/reproducible in principle, rejecting religious claims and the like.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

What is now?

R. A. Muller's book Now (Norton, 2016) has made me think about the concept of "now."  For me the contents of short term memory define "now" and these contents can vary somewhat from one person to the next (as they do in standard relativity theory).

The "past" is then the contents of long term memory.

The "future" is any predictions. (Includes results of chaining, extrapolations, etc.)