Sandbox (4)

Sometimes very active discussions about peripheral issues overwhelm a thread, so this is a permanent home for those conversations.

I’ve opened a new “Sandbox” thread as a post as the new “ignore commenter” plug-in only works on threads started as posts.

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1,907 thoughts on “Sandbox (4)

  1. BruceS: I’ll bite on the computation bit: what do you mean by computation; eg do you mean GOFAI, ie rules-based computation with amodal symbols?

    Normally, computation is defined in terms of Turing machines. No, I do not tie this to GOFAI.

    Start with data.
    Apply some sort of rules based process
    Get output data.

    The problem for all of this, is that there is no data to begin with.

    So a photon strikes a retinal cell. Maybe that counts as data. But it is, at most, data about the retinal state. It is not data about the external world.

    The problem for an AI system, is getting data about the world.

    I would guess that those trying to build AI systems are using gyroscopes, gps tranducers and similar to get data about the world. But the human body has neither gyroscopes nor gps transducers.

    The principle problem that needs to be solved, is the problem of getting data or similar, and without gyroscopes or gps transducers. What’s needed is a completely self-contained way of getting data about the external world. This is, of course, the same thing as the problem of perception. Solve that problem, and you will likely understand consciousness. At least that is what works for me. And you may find that computation is not particularly helpful in solving that problem.

    I see this as a philosopher’s problem, not a reverse-engineering problem. But professional philosophers don’t seem interested in considering it.

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  2. Neil Rickert: What’s needed is a completely self-contained way of getting data about the external world. This is, of course, the same thing as the problem of perception. Solve that problem, and you will likely understand consciousness. At least that is what works for me. And you may find that computation is not particularly helpful in solving that problem.

    I see this as a philosopher’s problem, not a reverse-engineering problem. But professional philosophers don’t seem interested in considering it.

    I don’t see how you can believe anything like that last sentence about philosophy. But, I’ll leave it to others to probe.

    I’m not sure what you mean by a self-contained; for me, evolutionary heritage, interaction with the world, and interaction with other people are all part of understanding human perception and cognition.

    “Reverse engineering” was just my way of saying we need to do science to understand how babies develop into adults successfully interacting with the world. Philosophy can be part of the discussion of what concepts and models are successful for doing that science and why they are so, as long as that philosophy is consistent with science.

    So eg Predictive Processing and Bayesian modeling in general is one research program for perception and learning which philosophers examine in that way. Innate hyper priors are the math in those research programs for innate concepts/learning processes.

    I would agree philosophy is the domain for discussions of what successful scientific theories and models tells us about reality. That applies equally to physics (eg quantum entities, spacetime) as well as to the cognitive sciences (eg perception, mental representation)

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  3. BruceS: But I do think that,if we want to imitate human intelligence, reverse engineering evolution (AKA developmental psychology) is needed to understand thecapabilities and “concepts” of babies.

    Call it it the philosophy of babies.
    https://www.amazon.com/Philosophical-Baby-Childrens-Minds-Meaning/dp/0312429843

    It is all implicitly theistic and dualistic. And yes, I did use the “Look inside” at Amazon before making that assessment.

    To explain further: Gopnik is implicitly imposing her own way of seeing the world on the baby. So it is implicitly theistic, with the mother as the implied god. And for that way of understanding the baby to be applicable, there would need to be some way for those ideas (from the mother) to be communicated to the baby — call that a spiritual soul.

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  4. BruceS: I don’t see how you can believe anything like that last sentence about philosophy.

    (1) it is obvious.
    (2) you do not see it.

    So I guess it is well hidden. It is hidden in plain view. You do not see it, and philosophers do not see it, because you take too much for granted.

    I see it, because I have carefully avoided taking anything for granted.

    So eg Predictive Processing and Bayesian modeling in general is one research program for perception and learning which philosophers examine in that way. Innate hyper priors are the math in those research programs for innate concepts/learning processes.

    There’s an example of the problem. You cannot do predictive processing and Bayesian modeling unless you already have data. But until the data problem is solved, there is no data.

    Philosopher’s won’t look at this. You criticize me for saying that about philosophers. But you, too, won’t look at this.

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  5. I don’t understand the problem of getting data about the real world.

    The generic problem of living is doing whatever is necessary to survive.

    One possibility is to assume that whatever is needed will come to you.
    Another possibility is you will need to move about scholastically.
    Or move toward a resource, or move away from something noxious.
    Or take action to evade or dissuade an enemy or predator.

    Such actions are within the capabilities of single celled organisms.

    One can ramp up the complexity, but these are the basic modes of behavior.

    I don’t understand the concept of self-contained, nor it’s relevance. I do think living things are fully integrated, and that there are no “sensors” that are distinct from awareness. Even when we can replace sensory components with implants.

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  6. petrushka: I don’t understand the problem of getting data about the real world.

    Most philosophy is posed in terms of propositions about the world.

    The generic problem of living is doing whatever is necessary to survive.

    Yes, and I’m fine with that. But that’s not the language most people use to talk about questions of knowledge and cognition.

    I don’t understand the concept of self-contained, nor it’s relevance.

    That’s automatic if you are looking at things in terms of doing whatever is needed to survive. So this isn’t an issue for you.

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