Fare's response on threads

Kyle Lahnakoski kyle@arcavia.com
Fri, 22 Sep 2000 23:01:31 -0400

"Lynn H. Maxson" wrote:

> "You have missed it.  People like Jacques Pitrat or Doug Lenat
> have experimentally shown such pattern generation in expert
> systems with meta^n rules.  In another field, some have also
> successfully devised theoretical and practical applications of
> Kolmogorov Complexity to extract patterns out of large bodies of
> data, which have been used in data-mining.  Also, genetic
> algorithms have allowed many computer scientists to generate
> unexpected practical solutions to many problems from lower-level
> noise."
> Again I must thank you for providing additional evidence of my
> position.<g>  All these are implemented in software written in an
> absolutely deterministic manner.  The software itself is incapable
> of such self-encoding.  Further it does not "know" or "understand"
> in any human sense what it is doing, nor in fact that it is doing
> anything.  That impossible capability is now and forever the case
> in any von Neumann architecture.
> The truth is we know and understand what it does, because it is
> exactly what we told it to do and everything it does lies entirely
> within our control.  If for not other reason than this, we will
> never "replicate", only "mimic" (simulate), human behavior using
> hardware and software somehow separable and not self-sufficient as
> a "system".

You both speak about using the machine's ability to apply deterministic
rules, and apply them many times, to generate/identify the emergent
behavior of those rules.  This can only be done by a machine because the
behavior can only be identified after a large number of iterations.  If
a human programmer defines the simple rules, I doubt the programmer
should be credited for the emergent behavior.  

The actions of a program that should be attributed to the program, and
not the programmer.  In the simple cases this distinction is
unintuitive.  The simple tools used in human history never needed a
language that could make distinction between the work done by the human,
and the work done by the tool.  The increased complexity to do so would
make communication wrt simple tools verbose and inefficient.  Consider
the phrase "I hammered a nail" to "I guided the hammer to hit a nail".  

If a person sees the computer as only a simple tool, they will not make
the distinction between what the programmer does and the machine does. 
They will not accept a more enriched form of English to make these
distinctions.  And when an emergent behavior is identified, attribution
to the programmer is made, no matter how unexpected it may have been.

Kyle Lahnakoski                                  Arcavia Software Ltd.
(416) 892-7784                                 http://www.arcavia.com