Re: Cognution [was Re: Deep Blue - white paper]

Matt Gingell (
Sun, 5 Sep 1999 10:08:06 -0400

From: Spike Jones <>

>Ja. Cameron, Deep Blue changed the way we think about the task of
>playing chess. Im suggesting that *everything* we do can be calculated
>brute force style, even if we dont fully understand how our minds do it.
>This is a strong statement: that given sufficient computing power, computers
>can enjoy, can feel, can love, etc, as soon as we develop the algorithms.
>Chess is not a unique example, nor speech recognition. This is profound
>as all hell, Cam, since the faster computers are coming, like a speeding
>train. No stopping it.

I think this under appreciates the computational cost of exponentially hard problems. Given a string encrypted with a 1-gigabyte key, you’d be hard pressed to find enough energy in the galaxy to crack it by brute force. Computers can handle chess because the branching factor averages around 15, which means we only need a factor of (a bit less than) 15 improvement in machine speed before we can look one more move into the future in the same time. Other games are much harder though – Computer’s have yet to play a good game of Go, and it’s possible this game will never succumb to brute force.

It wouldn’t be difficult to infer the grammar of the English language from untagged text using some sort of minimum description length learning algorithm, if we had a big enough computer. We probably never will though.