Re: Jaron Lanier Got Up My Shnoz on AI

From: Steve Nichols (
Date: Thu Jan 17 2002 - 09:05:07 MST

>Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2002 11:46:01 -0800
>From: James Rogers <>
>Subject: Re: Jaron Lanier Got Up My Shnoz on AI

>You have a very strange notion of computation. The brain does have
>processes doesn't it? You either mean something very different from what
>you just said, or you aren't making any sense.

But the brain processes are nothing like von Neumann/ finite state computers!
For a start the synapses can rewire (in hardware, infinite-state!) in response
to situations & problems. Do you deny this? And what structures in the brain
resemble anything like CPU or RAM chips? Not to be found, because brains
and brain processes are nothing like ordinary computers (doh).

>Input and output results are all you need to duplicate ANY finite state
>machinery. Universal FSM copying algorithms create structures that look
>very similar to neural networks, not like the more conventional algorithms
>that most people who work with software are familiar with. With "weight
>states" and everything.

What about hidden units???????? All serial computers can do is model
or simulate mpd function ... the lock-step mechanism cannot be replicated
exactly in serial because in parallel all nodes are updated AT ONCE, this
is why it is called parallel, whereas lock-step simulation in serial just does one
process at a time, linearly. And, again, what about hidden units?????

> These are programs/algorithms in every sense of the
>word; just because you aren't used to seeing algorithms expressed in
>something approximating an efficient Kolmogorov form doesn't mean that the
>structure isn't an algorithm. I *am* used to looking at algorithms that
>have been reversed engineered into these forms, and while very different,
>proper analysis can be learned.

Not only just very different, but nothing like! You can't go the other way and extract
the "algorithm" being used by brains because the brain changes its wiring, not
just weight states. Also, how can u reproduce graceful degradation in serial?
If the bit stream is disrupted u r f**c**d!

>> Sorry James, but 'ordinary' von Neumann machines will never be sentient.

>I hope you have a rational reason for that assertion.

All you can get from improved serial is more speed ... but speed of calculation
has absolutely zilch to do with sentience/ felt experience. My old z80 is slower
by a magnitude than a P4, but is not a jot more or less sentient!

> >Forget finite-state hardware ... the distinction between virtual (phantom
>> in MVT parlance) and "physical" (either E1-brain or silicon) is crucial
> i>n this debate since we are discussing 'felt' experience, not computation.

>Occam's razor would be drawing much blood from your theories.

Put up or shut up. MVT is the simplest (thus best according to Occam)
theory explaining a wide range of phenomena using minimum terms. If u
think it is wrong, pray explain what premises or conclusions you object to?

I await your (or anyone's) manifesation of a finite-state sentient computer
with baited breath (yawn), but meantime will carry on with my own work.
And by the way, I don't think that standard neural nets as they exist now
are sufficient for sentience either, though are a necessary part (they are
from work on reverse engineering of the brain after all). Hypnotherapist, Connectionist, Strategic Therapist
Director, Multisell Ltd.

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