Cognution [was Re: Deep Blue - white paper]

Robert J. Bradbury (
Thu, 2 Sep 1999 03:25:08 -0700 (PDT)

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <> wrote:
> Deep Blue involved some innovations with respect to the shape of the
> search tree - the ability to project some single lines 60 moves into the
> future, for example. But in the end it was simply brute force that
> crushed Kasparov. Deep Blue's feat cannot be compared to cognition; it
> was an autonomic process that happened to play chess.

Eliezer, if what you say is accurate, then I don't believe that much of what I do, such as selecting a line of code in a program, driving a car or even talking would not be "cognition" either. [And I'm deeply saddened by that... :-;]

When I look I pick an instruction, I select from the available list of instructions that do the job that needs to be done (i.e. I select an add instruction when what I want to do is produce the sum of two numbers, I don't select the subtract instruction). When I want the car to make a right turn, I select the alternative that is not making a left turn or going straight or going backwards. When I speak, if I've had my coffee and have not set the "lets put my foot in my mouth today" bias switch to "on", then I select the word sequence that is designed (from accululated experience presumably) to create in the communications recipient some duplicate copy of the thought or concept (which is itself a collection of words) that I am trying to convey.

If a huge fraction of what I do is *not* a brute force pruning of a search tree, then I don't know what it is. So in that respect Deep Blue and I are quite similar.

If by "cognition", you mean the awareness of sensory input, classifying it, perhaps using it to amend the search tree, then I would agree that Deep Blue did not do much of that if any. Its authors were the individuals who setup the data entry, search, pruning & selection algorithms. The authors served in some respects as the cognition subroutines for Deep Blue. [Clever little computer isn't it...]

The nature of much of what Deep Blue did would have required little cognition. For the purpose for which it was designed, the cognition part can be done by the position evaluation software. Essentially the "Where am I?" or "How am I doing?" parts of its code. Now if you had Deep Blue A & Deep Blue B playing each other, and in each you created a feedback loop between the assesment of the board positions and the parameters involving search depth, pruning, and selection criteria then I would argue that you have something very close to "AI".

[I don't need to wait for the singularity to feel the tidal wave, I suspect I can produce them from where I sit now...]