Re: a new thread

From: Ian Field (
Date: Fri May 12 2000 - 11:56:09 MDT

Excellent analysis!

However, in equating sw development to education, I was proposing nearly the opposite of the concepts upon which you based your (very astute) rationale. The human mind (and body), especially an augmented one would consist, from a conceptual perspective, of: 1) detailed schematics (genotype), 2) Hardware (physiology), 3) firmware (ingrained cognition, instinct, physiological control structures, information storage and retrieval), and 4) software (patterns of thought/processing formed by experience). From this viewpoint, learning (creating thought patterns) does loosely equate to software development.

Consider this, if one was to undertake the complexities of developing a comprehensive HCI (Human Computer Interaction) environment at the mind level (i.e. a DIRECT interface to the mind, based on something comparable to the optic nerve), the first step would be interconnectivity. If you decided to base this connectivity on the standard OSI model, you would first have to determine which layers relate to a) hardware, b) firmware and c) software. So, let's assume that you decided that everything above the network layer must be managed by the human "software" component. In saying that, I mean that a theoretical child is born with "hardware" (genetically or mechanically augmented <nanotech> structures) that handle physical connectivity, and with "firmware" (subconscious infrastructure) that handles data-link-layer communications. So, as this child grows, he/she needs to "learn" the necessary high-level communications protocols necessary to communicate with a microprocessor - he/she would need to be educated, or, programmed...

  From: The Great Cthulhu
  Sent: Friday, May 12, 2000 8:10 AM
  Subject: RE: a new thread

  Education is not equivalent to software development, at least, not using any current methodologies of software development
  and not creating any kind of resultant state that I'd call educated.

  Current software development methodologies create very rigid sets of instructions to be followed, and these instructions are
  not adaptive to their environment. A learning system must be able to adapt, and the closest thing that exists to this right
  now is Genetic Programming (a'la John Koza). It is interesting to note that while the act of pedagogy is provided by outside
  actors, the actual act of learning is self-deterministic. That is, programming someone is not teaching, because it they are
  not self-determining and the sets of rules they are being given are rigid and inflexible. A learning sytem can take suggestions,
  and there are ways to force the issue (brainwashing, in humans) to make one learn something, but just writing a few thousand
  lines of code telling a system how to do a particular activity is not teaching. A learning system must be adaptable to at least
  some new situations without reengineering.

  However, it would be interesting to augment our existing brains, which are much better at learning various things than any
  current computing technology, with even sets of rigid instructions. I would be quite interested to be able to have a full array of
  mathematical libraries on a chip in my mind, which I could then recall at will, requiring that I not memorize many complex
  mathematical formulae and their solutions, but rather only how to apply them - and recall them from the library, and have the
  computer solve them, at will. Currently, I must program this sort of thing into Mathematica or Matlab or C or whatever in a very
  cumbersome manner - just thinking about it would be much nicer :-)

  I suspect if we could have electronic dictionaries in our heads, our natural language facilities would do a much better job
  of completing translations than existing machine translation systems. By having quick recall of dictionary mappings from one's
  native language into another, one could at least conduct conversations in a stilted version of the other language, which so far
  is orders of magnitude better than the very poor, non-real-time NL processing done by computers.


    -----Original Message-----
    From: []On Behalf Of Ian Field
    Sent: Friday, May 12, 2000 2:17 AM
    Subject: a new thread

    Any thoughts on human genetic manipulation? Say, with the purpose of creating a workable interface between an electronic microprocessor and a human mind? Throw in some nanotechnology for physical interaction... Education equates to software development... Implications?

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