Re: Kosko on AI in L.A. Times

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Tue Jul 10 2001 - 01:08:56 MDT

From: <>
> Of course he is glossing over the tremendous difficulties involved
> in interfacing a chip to the brain in such a way that it can provide
> meaningful information, especially if it is going to extend our memories
> so that chip-based memories and data "feel" normal.

You've cut right to the central issue here. (Unless I overestimate your
incisiveness because it coincides with my own take on this subject. )
After puzzling over the application of neuromorphic retinas to the art of
inloading, the difficulty of the bidirectional interface had impressed me more
than Kosko's hyperbole. What makes it so difficult is that neither Kosko nor
anyone else knows how brain architecture produces computation and pattern
recognition, not to mention higher cognitive functions. (When Anders Sandberg
figures it out, he can charge a bundle for it.) So, the connection isn't such
a puzzle; it's translating the data... like shuttling information between
dissimilar computer platforms without knowing how either of them works, only
much more complicated.

> While I
> can understand that presenting the idea of uploading would undercut the
> attractive picture he is painting, it's confusing at the end as we picture
> our bodies standing around frozen while our minds zoom off into infinity.

Sounds like an OBE (out of body experience) on the Art Bell show. But it's
even more alien than that, because the concept "zoom off into infinity" needs
to be translated into machine language so that there is correspondence which
allows this picture to have meaning. I wonder if successful
uploading/inloading will require engineers to comprehend the vast difference
between inorganic versus organic computation. If it does, these guys are going
to have to be smarter than Kosko and Kurzweil combined.

BTW, have you heard of "K-base artificial intelligence"? I read a transcript
of a TV show that mentioned it. Here it is:

WNYW 7/7/01 - 1:13 AM... Well, um, it's simple, really. It comes down to
failure--mine. I've sunk an enormous amount of r&d into the project, and so
far-- so far it hasn't produced the breakthrough we 'd hoped for. Could you
give me a quick summary again of the, uh, the project? Of course. The
project is an attempt to produce artificial intelligence using the process of
k-base. K-base? The best way to understand k-base is to imagine chaos theory
in a multidimensional arena. Ok, so whatever this is you're talking about,
it's some sort of supercomputer. No, no. Not at all. It's not a computer. It
would have existed in the world of computers in the same way that we exist in
the world of oxygen, but it would have been a fully independent entity, an
entity with the ability to think and to learn, a fully creative being. But in
a box. No, no, Mr. Aikens. We're the ones in the box. We're constrained by our
sacks of flesh. We're limited by our-- our eyes and our ears. Imagine
something different. Imagine an entity that can move at the speed of
lightning, can push its consciousness down any electronic pathway. The
internet would be its body. Its arms would reach from black river to chin...

Stay hungry,

--J. R.

Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, CYC, and ELIZA

     Everything that can happen has already happened, not just once,
     but an infinite number of times, and will continue to do so forever.
     (Everything that can happen = more than anyone can imagine.)

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