Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 23rd Nov 2010 22:14 UTC, submitted by ARUmar
In the News "If you've ever been interested in artificial intelligence, you've seen that promise broken countless times. Way back in the 1960s, the relatively recent invention of the transistor prompted breathless predictions that machines would outsmart their human handlers within 20 years. Now, 50 years later, it seems the best we can do is automated tech support, intoned with a preternatural calm that may or may not send callers into a murderous rage.To build a brain, you need to throw away the conceit of separate hardware and software because the brain doesn't work that way. In the brain it's all just wetware. If you really wanted to replicate a mammalian brain, software and hardware would need to be inextricable. We have no idea how to build such a system at the moment, but the memristor has allowed us to take a big step closer by approximating the biological form factor: hardware that can be both small and ultralow power."
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Baloney
by oelewapperke on Wed 24th Nov 2010 17:06 UTC
oelewapperke
Member since:
2006-10-16

There is no such thing as coupled hardware and software, and the human brain does have clear distinctions between both concepts.

There is the problem of irreducible complexity when you're talking about human minds, but that's just been politicked out of existence, it's not very proper to talk about it, as it's the same problem that prevents climate simulations from working (notice how the IPCC failed to predict el Nino for the third time now, resulting in predictions wildly of the mark after a few years. But don't worry, the predictions for 100 years ahead are still accurate).

You cannot create a model of a human mind that is, by any measure, significantly simpler than an actual human mind. This means that while you can make AI's that match or even exceed human intelligence, you just can't do it much cheaper than in an actual human skull. And that means quite a few things : the first 2 years of life for such an AI, it will spend like any other human baby : crying, eating, sleeping, crying, eating, ... You cannot shorten this time, as learning to be human requires actual interaction with real, live, human beings. And it will take some 20 years of education to become a real, valuable, productive member of society.

Just like climate science, the problem cannot be shortened significantly, and all attempts to cheat will result in massive differences in the "end product", any and all information about the future may affect the outcome.

That's called "chaos theory", and it means that anyone who cannot tell you next month's winning lottery numbers cannot make any useful prediction about climate, or about what any human mind will do.

This limitation is independant of the amount of information available to the researches, and independant of the accuracy of the scientific theories used (anything less than 100% accuracy will lead to the same problems), so it's a problem that has the property that it's not just unsolved "for the moment" but it's eternally unsolveable by any method.

Even that simple fact - no matter how solidly it stands upon mathematical theory - that science is thoroughly locked out of finding answers to quite a number of very relevant questions, is controversial in the extreme. That psychology and climate prediction are one of the unsolvable problems is, for obvious reasons, a straight ticket to "persona non grata" status in most "civilized" circles.

But as anyone can look up, attempts to predict the climate initially resulted in massive failures. These failures are what led to the discovery of one of the major limits of science : chaos theory.

But we're massively politically invested in this being untrue. How do we get out ?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Baloney
by cb88 on Wed 24th Nov 2010 21:29 in reply to "Baloney"
cb88 Member since:
2009-04-23

You didn't mention child prodigies for instance which develop intellectually more quickly than most people some which retain their prowness through adulthood.

Not to say that it isn't possible they might be weaker in some areas but their existence leads me to believe the brain is mostly ill used. Nobody is teaching mnemonics in school are they? Yet they can be used to enhance your memory usage beyond what you would normally just by studying.

So you might say that our software is unoptimized to take full advantage of our own brains in many cases.

Considering some researchers thing that what we thing shapes how our brains operate it wouldn't suppise me that thinking in a sub optimal way doesn't result in a sub optimally configured brain.

So your claim that you can't have an human intellect in less space or in less time than normal are bogus. We probably have the processing power or at least designs capable of enough processing power (similar to Cell or tilera) to handle AT we just don't understand the algorithms take the discovory of fly object avoidance algorithms... Basically there is an algolrithem used in fly brains that we don't even fully understand but when implemented in hardware it allows object avoidance with massive reduction in processing requirements.

Interesting topic though isn't it ;-) maybe we can make a dent in the software problems sometime in the next 20 years.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Baloney
by xiaokj on Sun 28th Nov 2010 02:36 in reply to "Baloney"
xiaokj Member since:
2005-06-30

That is really very narrow minded.

Even assuming that you are correct that we will have to have a system 3 times as large as our brain to mimic our brain, it is not futile to do so.

First of all, a created brain is easier to maintain. Even with all the sleep cycles, it does not have to deal with diseases.

Secondly, a created brain will write to "durable" memory. Humans, in general, have trouble with tests because of the memory being incapable of remembering all the stuff being taught. Free eidetic memory there.

Thirdly, a created brain can be optimised out of survival-related stuff. No more needing to store hormones and stuff like that.

Last but not least, you can create a brain 100 times as big, and reap rewards there.

Now for the disagreeing part. Climate is hard. It is not that we do not have the equations. It is ridiculously difficult. Anybody with any whiff of how to do stuff in real life _knows_ this. Anybody with any dealing with applied mathematics _knows_ this. Anybody who knows this knows that it is more shameful to just stand there and criticise IPCC for mis-predicting 3 years into the future than it is for IPCC to do the damn thing. i.e., you, sir, are just trolling.

Chaos theory is a huge endeavour into stability, and even there, the main object of greatest interest and most desired is numerical stability. It has nothing much to do with the lottery, since the relevant field is actually probability and statistics. I really don't know what rubbish you are sprouting here.

Even psychology, as a physicist here, I will tell you straight out that psychology is facing some huge problems, and it has nothing to do with science. The field is already difficult enough without the blatant nonsense inside. That the psychologists are producing rare gems here and there is already an amazing feat.

Which is why the physicists and the neuro-biologists are working together to model the nerves itself -- once we get that down, we can create a brain 3 stories high and see what we can do with that. Surely something would come out of that?

While we are at it, I should probably add: As a physicist, we know of exactly 1 law in the whole of thermodynamics that deals with such stuff. Thermodynamics says little, but whatever it says is the absolute truth, and you will have no time to react to the truth happening. Undergrads learn to pluck in the numbers, and we get to vary the values. There is no leeway in the predictions. We will all die. Those climate stuff are just models to get an idea of where the death will come from and what to do about them. Their failure smears nothing off the solemn note.

You clearly need more faith in science in general. Come back to us when we get some theory wrong and cannot predict the stuff we ought to predict. Otherwise, as we have already said, the problem is that our computing abilities are incapable of the speed and accuracy and precision required to predict stuff to the further future. That is not our fault (except, probably, the mathematicians', for being unable to solve our equations).

(Good luck finding flaws with the theories. It is not as if we cannot calculate the final shape of a piece of metal after a bullet is shot at it. You are welcome to get a Nobel prize if you can find one.)

Reply Parent Score: 2