Monday, October 30, 2017


I can currently do a good job of simulating about one third of A.s.a. H.'s sensory inputs. I have been able to do about half of the experiments with A.s.a. using simulation alone. (I am not sure how much this has been a function of the particular experiments I have happened to try.) Other tasks have involved computer simulation followed by real physical robotics experiments. I am now working on improving the fidelity of my simulations of A.s.a.'s actions (outputs).

Friday, October 27, 2017

An occult

I am not a believer in the paranormal. I have my "X files" and spent several years experimenting with such things. I found no evidence for any of it.

I do believe there is more to the world than what we observe with our 5 limited senses (plus the ones we can add using Gaussmeters, electrometers, Geiger counters, etc.) however. The evidence is the quantum mechanical wave function, quantum fields, quantum entanglement, quantum computing, and the possible multiverses. Kant's thing-in-inself is hidden from our senses but perhaps not from our reason.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Is art ageless?

Is art ageless? How time-invariant is an agent's picture language or set of dramatic situations? (See my blog of 31 May 2017.) Having any set of concepts in memory that are (even relatively) invariant would be useful. Or is it just the pursuit of art that is ageless?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Robot test stand

When a new robot is assembled or modified,  or when new sensors or actuators are added, it is best to integrate and calibrate them in a simplified, standardized environment and test sequence. Under known and controlled conditions one can adjust signal gain and any pre or post processing.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Molyneux problem and sensor fusion

Asa has learned the concepts "near" and "far" in terms of the output of Lego NXT ultrasonic sensors. When a Sharp IR distance sensor is added Asa only gradually adjusts its concepts of "near" and "far" to incorporate the additional new signal.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Prescientific terms

Fodor and Pylyshyn argue that a botanist would not use the word "grass." (Minds without Meanings, MIT Press, 2016, page 81) Similarly, they believe that ultimately there will be no such thing as "meaning" in a scientific theory of cognition.* Science need not explain everything. Some terms will just be deleted from the dictionary.

* But actually, if one believes Wittgenstein's definition, A.s.a. H. knew the meaning of words like "slow down" and "stop" almost a decade ago. See my book Twelve Papers, pages 12 and 13. (, under "book")

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A good course in digital electronics

For several decades I taught a course in digital electronics. Because of my work and interests in both physics and computer science it seemed a natural. I was never satisfied with the very abstract way in which most of the text books ended the course talking about digital computers. They were mostly "boxology." By the time I ended my stint teaching such a course I finally had what I thought was a complete digital electronics course. Chapters 1-7, 9, 10, and 11 were pretty much Tocci's Digital Systems (Prentice Hall, 1985 or 1988). The 3rd or 4th edition was fine. I actually preferred it to later editions. I would then use chapter 8 of M. Morris Mano's Computer Engineering Hardware Design (Prentice Hall, 1988) to describe how one could design a simple digital computer (Mano, figure 8-16, page 291). The accompanying lab had students use discrete logic gates to build circuits up to and including an adding machine. Jim C. De Loach's lab manual, 4th edition, was good for that (Prentice Hall, 1988). A 3 credit hour lecture (for 1 semester) and a 1 or 2 credit hour lab is sufficient to do all of this.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Black-and-white Mary

Asa's models of the world and of itself are purely materialist models. Asa's consciousness is purely materialist.* (See my 1 January 2017 blog.) It has been possible for me to do the famous black-and-white Mary experiment with Asa. (See, for instance, The Waning of Materialism, Koons and Bealer, eds., Oxford U. Press, 2010, page 10.) After running Asa with only light sensors (and, say, at most black and white camera inputs if any) I then turn on or attach Lego or HiTechnic color sensors or the like. This works out to be nothing different from what happens when, say, I give Asa a Geiger Mueller radiation sensor or a magnetic field sensor.  In either case Asa adapts to and adopts new kinds of sensory input and knowledge of its world. Humans do the same thing when they invent and use instruments like GM counters and Gaussmeters. There's a first time for the use of any of our senses. They need not turn on all at the same moment.

* In the Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, vol. 120, 2017, page 108 I presented evidence of machine consciousness. (Or see my blogs of 21 July 2016 and 19 October 2016.) This also constitutes evidence that consciousness can be explained within a purely materialist/physicalist philosophy.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

American exceptionalism

58 are dead in Las Vegas thanks to america’s insane love affair with guns. We need gun control NOW!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Calm before the storm

Let’s hope crazy Donald knows that starting a war is murder. W didn’t. Some day we need to try one of these guys in The Hague.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Happy Sputnik Day!

60 year anniversary

Asa's skin

It's pretty common for Lego grippers (like on the Lego ClawBot or Tribot) to have multiple "fingers." I have sometimes mounted force sensing resistors and/or pain sensors on these. A "glove" fitted over each such "hand" is useful to improve grip and to protect sensor wiring. Asa can be taught to call this a "glove" (an example of protective "clothing") and/or "skin."

Curriculum for the learning of graphic patterns

I am presenting an Asa H 2-D memory with images organized so as to first teach edges, then shapes, then features, then feature sets/clusters. I will also use any hand-coding that seems helpful.

Monday, October 2, 2017


Is a colony on Mars really the best way to guard earth-borne intelligences against annihilation? Dandridge Cole had some ideas like bases in hollowed out asteroids. See Exploring the Secrets of Space, Prentice Hall, 1963.