Friday, August 23, 2019

Concepts in Einstein's general approach to physical theory

For Einstein named concepts are related to sense experiences.* The notion of  "dog" (der begriff hund) can correspond (entsprechen) to the many (mannigfaltigkeit) immediate (unmittelbar) experiences that one has while saying (or hearing) the word "dog."** This is exactly how A.s.a. H. learns concepts and the words that denote them.***

*Holton, The Scientific Imagination, Harvard U. Press 1998
**Feinberg, Zwei Kulturin, Springer 1998
***Jones, Trans. Kan. Acad. Sci., vol. 120, page 108, 2017 and chapter 1 of my book Twelve Papers.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Exploring agency

Most of my experiments with A.s.a. H. have had a fairly narrow focus. In some experiments I was trying to give A.s.a. concepts that corresponded to human vocabulary words* or some set of semantic primitives.** On other occasions we were interested in finding Newton’s laws or trying to induce the formation of new nonstandard physical concepts. (I.e., be original/creative)

 A.s.a. H. exhibits agency*** to the extent that it operates autonomously. Perhaps we should leave an A.s.a. agent alone in a world**** for a time.

* For example, Sonja Lang's Toki Pona.
** For example, Anna Wierzbicka's semantic primes, see Imprisoned in English, OUP, 2014.
*** See, for example, Hugh McCann, The Works of Agency, Cornell U. Press, 1998.
**** or THE world? Or a piece of THE world?

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The far future

I've added Enrico Rodrigo's The Physics of Stargates (Eridanus Press, 2010) to my X-files. Rodrigo speculates on the far future of intelligence life.* I expect that humans will go extinct following the rule that all species go extinct. I suppose that mechanical life might need humans much as humans need plants and our microbiome. I don't expect that we will somehow be partners with AIs however. Even if you could download (upload?) your mind into a computer soon the original human contribution would be overwhelmed (if not deleted) compared to the new AI contributions.** I don't expect that supreme beings*** would take much interest in us either.

*Interestingly he never considers the block universe picture or the possibility that time is not a fundamental quantity.
** See my blogs on the subject starting with the one on 15 Oct. 2010.
*** See my blog of 29 Aug. 2018.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Artificial intelligences may suffer from mental illnesses

There can be both hardware problems and software problems. Artificial minds might suffer as a result of physical damage,* might have divided consciousness** or even multiples.*** The evolution of (change in) a concept on one level in the memory hierarchy might disrupt how other levels of conceptualization operate. Software that is well adapted to one operating environment might not function well in another.

* See my blog of 13 Dec. 2017.
** See my blog of 28 Feb. 2017.
*** See my blog of 13 April 2018.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The ITER divertor

The divertor for the ITER tokamak fusion experiment looks to me to have a very small size/volume given the energy flux it will likely have to handle. One could reduce the heat load by a factor of two by making the device cross section up-down symmetric. One could also limit the experimental shot duration. Magnetic hairpin limiters* could be added. All such redesign will be costly and time consuming.

*See L. Nuovo Cimento, vol. 42, pg. 421, 1985

Sunday, August 4, 2019

The singularity and communism

It has been suggested that a technologically induced age of abundance, “the singularity,” will usher in communism much as Marx predicted.* But won’t there be a class struggle between humans and mechanical life (AIs)? And won’t the mechanical life prevail?

* See, for example,  The Singularity and Socialism, C. Townsend, 2015 and Fully Automated Luxury Communism, A. Bastani, 2018.

Saturday, August 3, 2019


We are all racists growing up as we have in a racist society. (see project implicit) But its a matter of degree. Fortunately we are not all as racist as crazy Donald.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Acquiring knowledge for knowledge-based systems

Ted Pittman, an old friend from my college days, got back in touch with me this summer. It turns out Ted was working on expert systems at the same time I was.* In his autobiography he reports how staff were reluctant to share their expertise for inclusion in knowledge bases. Humans, after all, spend considerable time and money on books, in schools, and on-the-job acquiring knowledge, they don’t want to simply “give it away” as they see it. Some knowledge is especially closely guarded.**
*He built and sold his “E-1” expert system
**Nuclear weapons designs for example. Or some software programs.

Crisis in theoretical physics

A number of researchers believe that there is now a crisis in fundamental theoretical physics.* Scientific pluralism** is one way to combat such problems. It is less likely that the development of various alternative models of reality will all stagnate at the same time. One can also use experiments like A.s.a. H. to try to formulate completely new physical concepts.***
* See, for example, New Scientist, 16 January 2019.
** See, for example, Trans. Kansas Acad. Sci., pg 211, 2018 and pg 78, 2013 and my blog of 17 August 2012.
*** NonMarkovian models might be a possible example.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Against object-oriented programming

I tell my students that I favor modular programs (to the extent this is possible) but am opposed to object-oriented programming.
"Object-oriented programming is an exceptionally bad idea which could only have originated in California." Edsger Dijkstra, 1989
"OO seems to bring at least as many problems to the table as it solves." Jeff Atwood, 2007
"Why OO Sucks" Joe Armstrong, 2011
"All evidence points to OOP being bullshit." John Barker, 2013
"We now know that OOP is an experiment that failed." Lawrence Krubner, 2014