Emergence of behavior through software

btanksley@hifn.com btanksley@hifn.com
Tue, 26 Sep 2000 10:15:10 -0700

From: Lynn H. Maxson [mailto:lmaxson@pacbell.net]

>Billy wrote:
>"The part where someone started believing that "universal machine" 
>has ANY connection whatsoever to reality."

>and the Human Brain".  I am not quite the blunt disbelief of 
>Billy, don't wish to argue an unprovable belief in either 
>determinism or non-determinism, or dispute that at the quantum 
>level the observation (which involves quanta) interferes with 
>(becomes part of) the process: the Heisenberg principle of 

Sorry; my terseness caused the wrong message to be communicated.  I wasn't
trying to dismiss the possibility of AI.  I was laughing at the idea that a
"universal machine" could possibly exist.  Universal machines are
_completely_ theoretical constructs, and even their theory claims that it's
impossible to construct them.

I believe that Lynn has come up with the most literate and comprehensible
critique of TUNES in quite some time, and I don't think anyone's come up
with a reasonable answer to him.  Of course, I concede that the best
possible answer would be a disproof by counterexample :-); such a proof
would also work on me.

>Therein lies the crux of our differences.  Can the computer do for 
>the brain what the brain has done for it?  Even with extensive 
>assistance from us?  If it is von Neumann architecture, Turing 
>computational rules, fixed instruction set, fixed internal logic 
>circuits, and linear addressable memory, I say no.  There's no 
>"magic" in that box.

As Lynn has before stated, there IS magic outside of the box.  I agree with
Lynn that computers don't seem to be able to do what you want them to; I
also agree with him that humans can, and that humans working with computers
can.  You've no doubt heard of Intelligence Amplification systems (IA); I
believe that IA is FAR more interesting than AI, because IA is something we
can understand and discuss.  AI, in contrast, is just a perpetual argument.
If we solved it, it will only be by serendipity, because none of use
understand it AT ALL.

So let's work on IA, not AI.  You can still hope that we'll discover AI by
accident; we're more likely to discover the secret of AI while working on an
actual IA system than we are while arguing about a hypothetical AI system.