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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Futurists 9 - Artificial Intelligence

Along Chinatown eating roasted chestnuts, sipping tea and discussing about what the future may bring, under the warm tropical sky
22 April 2009
While waiting for Stefan, I had a short discussion with Kit. Personally, I don't believe that machines will one day have their own consciousness.
Kit said it depends on what we mean by 'consciousness'. Does a cockroach have intelligence? Or does a rat have intelligence? While a cockroach may appear 'intelligent', it may be merely operating mechanically in its movements - even aspects like when they shy away from the light. 
This behaviour can be easily simulated by a mechanical toy car powered by light sensors on each side of the car. That is, when the left side is brighter, the left sensor generates more power to power the left wheels, making them spin faster than the right wheels, which will result in the toy car turning slightly right as if shunning the light. This happens mechanically without the need for central processing. 
To make toy car or creature move towards the light, just connect the left sensor to the right wheels. Then, when there is light on the left, the left sensor will power the right wheels more, making the toy car move leftwards as if it loves the light. Again this happens mechanically without the need for central processing.
Kit said that someone managed to simulate the flight formation of geese and found that while the behaviour appears sophisticated, they only conform to four behavioural rules. This hardly constitute consciousness.
Studies on the human brain shows that it doesn't only respond to sensors, but also feed back information and signals to itself, suggesting that the brain is aware of its own existence. Could that be 'consciousness'?
Ok, 'consciousness' aside. What is 'artificial intelligence' then?
Kit opine that till today, there are not many instances of real artificial intelligence.
"How about the microwave oven with an intelligence chip? It can learn your usage habits and therefore we don't need to press those buttons to instruct it", I asked.
"But is that 'intelligence'? Those are but very specialised roles. What we mean by AI should be a 'generalised intelligence', not a very limited and specific intelligence," Kit replied.
Stefan then arrived,  and together, with his books:

From Amazon:
This book presents sequential decision theory from a novel algorithmic information theory perspective. While the former is suited for active agents in known environment, the latter is suited for passive prediction in unknown environment. The book introduces these two well-known but very different ideas and removes the limitations by unifying them to one parameter-free theory of an optimal reinforcement learning agent embedded in an arbitrary unknown environment. Most AI problems can easily be formulated within this theory, which reduces the conceptual problems to pure computational problems. Considered problem classes include sequence prediction, strategic games, function minimization, reinforcement and supervised learning. The discussion includes formal definitions of intelligence order relations, the horizon problem and relations to other approaches to AI. One intention of this book is to excite a broader AI audience about abstract algorithmic information theory concepts, and conversely to inform theorists about exciting applications to AI. more

A thesis about theoretical models of super intelligent machines. Includes Hutter's AIXI model, Solomonoff induction, the Universal Intelligence Measure, and the relationship between Goedel incompleteness and artificial intelligence algorithms.

Essays which state the fundamentals of Jung's psychological system: "On the Psychology of the Unconscious" and "The Relations Between the Ego and the Unconscious," with their original versions in an appendix.
From EBookee
This is the first book on current research on artificial general intelligence (AGI), work explicitly focused on engineering general intelligence �C autonomous, self-reflective, self-improving, commonsensical intelligence. Each author explains a specific aspect of AGI in detail in each chapter, while also investigating the common themes in the work of diverse groups, and posing the big, open questions in this vital area. 

This book will be of interest to researchers and students who require a coherent treatment of AGI and the relationships between AI and related fields such as physics, philosophy, neuroscience, linguistics, psychology, biology, sociology, anthropology and engineering. more
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