I don't know what the hell I said. I gave her an ultimatum and there's nothing I can do. It's a machine. The little light is blinking right now: 'Come and listen to the idiot. Hey everybody, the idiot's on!'

Saturday, 15 November, Year 6 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu


It follows that he cannot know that certain people at certain times do not understand in Parry-or Eliza-like ways. That is to say, he has no way of knowing that we do not ourselves sometimes function by means of "clever tricks".

Actually, I will go as far as to say that it is always certainly the case understanding happens through "clever tricks". It was NEVER the case anyone ever understood anything whatsoever in any case at any point in human history, [self]delusion to the contrary notwithstanding.
asciilifeform He is thinking of another variety of clever tricks.

mircea_popescu Is he ?
asciilifeform The mechanized stage magic of Eliza.i

mircea_popescu That's exactly what I mean.
asciilifeform I'd have to disagree that 'understand' is a null-word.

mircea_popescu Go right ahead, but what else do you bring ?
asciilifeform People have never been seen to, e.g., rotate themselves in the 4th dimension and end up rechiralled. But they do occasionally understand things. At least, beyond 'Eliza' level.

mircea_popescu Let us not discuss this in terms of understanding, something we care about. Let us instead discuss in terms of love, something we don't care about.
asciilifeform ?

mircea_popescu So : your idea of understanding would be in fact "transformative love". Ie, it'd give you the ability to turn, if not marble into virgin, at least whore into housewife. Dja think this was ever displayed ?
* asciilifeform must confess he is rather puzzled at this point.

mircea_popescu Whyssat ?
asciilifeform Well, if I had to give an example of 'understanding', involving 'transformation', I'd offer the transformation of pebbles on a beach (original 'calculation') into well, calculation, and mathematics, and, ..., nukes. Wide net, but somewhere in it there flops a fish, 'understanding'.

mircea_popescu Nah.
undata One of you is using understand in a much stricter sense than the other.

mircea_popescu The sort of understanding you propose is a relationship between mind and object that's transcendental. The ready comparison is the supposed transcendental relation between man and woman. Outside of this, all that's left is Eliza-understanding. And, obviously, fucking. Ie, a manipulation of the subject according to the rules of the reality it inhabits. What Eliza does, what no strings attached sex is. If you recognise a naive romanticism in one field, the other should also be obvious. All women are whores and all thinkers are Eliza. The ability of whores to distinguish themselves from "those cheap streetwalkers" is not that important globally, having more to do with ego and stress than anything.
asciilifeform All microscopes are hammers.
nubbins` All scarves are farts.
undata "Modeling is by definition incomplete" ?

mircea_popescu undata if you will. asciilifeform yes, essentially, which is why the microscope hammer thing never persuaded me.ii
* asciilifeform is firmly persuaded that every microscope is a hammer. However, not every hammer is a microscope, demonstrably. And therein lies the boojum.

mircea_popescu Not every hammer is a microscope to you. Not every whore is a partner you'd entertain, either, but that has little to do with the principles involved.iii
asciilifeform The principle involved, i must confess, escapes me. And I'm not altogether certain that I'd profit from grasping it.

mircea_popescu Let's approach on a different tack. What is the method through which I could write software that distinguishes between actual science and global-warming-science ?
asciilifeform Even the elixir of distinguishing cat from dog by mechanical means, so far escapes programmers. Who would even dare to ask about sciences.

mircea_popescu Well, the reason might be that there couldn't be such a thing. There's nothing that makes "good science" better than a pile of shanonized papers. You can test them, of course, but this is practically speaking aesthetics.
asciilifeform Aha I see where this is going.

mircea_popescu So, yeah. All thinkers are Eliza, the distinguishing among Elizas, like among whores, purely an application of one's own aesthetic preference.
nubbins` No true Eliza would offer such an argument.
asciilifeform 'Don't worry, sizzling in electric chair, Ohm's law is a lie'. The difference between the flesh before and after, 'aesthetic preference'.

mircea_popescu Are you a current dreaming it's frying a butterfly etc.
nubbins` And somewhere, somewhen, the sound of keys clacking on a keyboard was heard.
asciilifeform l0l
nubbins` ha
undata "Gravity" holds the Moon to the Earth.
nubbins` _/ -_- _/

mircea_popescu undata the argument mind, isn't that some Eliza-trees don't make much better looking reality-clothes than others. The argument is whether they're actually different. If one function returns rnd(0,15) and the other rnd(20,42) it is easy to establish which returns the larger number, but that doesn't mean they're not the same damned function.
asciilifeform Afaik Western traditions of sophistry are not even the most die-hard adherents of this idea. In some variants of Islam, they actually believe that 'if the circuit works, it was will of Allah' and nothing more.iv And today perhaps the allmighty favours Ohm's law, tomorrow - not.v

mircea_popescu And the brain is in no sense and to no degree a logic processing machine. Nor, ironically, are actual logic processing machines all that intelligent. To us at least.
nubbins` "[...] the argument is whether they're actually different." <<< in the sense that each game of WoL is actually different.

mircea_popescu Quite.
asciilifeform Brain is logic machine like brick is flying machine.

mircea_popescu Pretty much yeah. "It can be made to".
asciilifeform In precisely that way.

mircea_popescu Not that any of these subtle considerations have any sort of practical effect or importance, but since the article spoke of "substance" in thought... well... there's no substance to thought.
asciilifeform The idea in the article can (and has) been rephrased like this. If you remove all the 'suggestively-named strings' like 'understand' - and replace with 'gensyms' - e.g., 100324 - does the resulting machine still do or even appear to do anything of interest?

mircea_popescu But my point is that this argument misses the very point of what thought is. That's what thought is, entirely, all the time : suggestively named strings.
asciilifeform Say, if it was able to distinguish cat from dog, and now operates an automated dogcatcher, prior to the renaming of strings, and still can - there was 'substance.'

mircea_popescu To the code. Ok, let me phrase it thus : MP's lemma of artificial intelligence requires any computer program that exhibits in fact AI to depend in its functioning on the naming of its functions, and that self-metaprogramming be a part of its working.
asciilifeform Remember the self-evolving fpga?vi The one where not a single thing about the circuit made sense to the human dissector, but for the fact that it worked.

mircea_popescu Ok, great example. That thing IS intelligent, just like me and you and the dragonfly.
asciilifeform Where are the namings?

mircea_popescu How would I know ?
asciilifeform We might be speaking of different things then, re: 'names'.

mircea_popescu Ok, let's re-rephrase : any computer program of which identifiable components can be unambiguously named is not capable of displaying AI.
asciilifeform What 'AI and stupidity' was about, was an actual pestilence of pseudoscience, where folks convinced themselves and others that they were accomplishing 'great things' while really pulling each other's dicks in a most stultifying way.

mircea_popescu O for sure, I'm not even getting into the point of the article.vii I just went on a tangent for objection reasons, like I do.
asciilifeform Ahahaha.
* undata tries to create an arbitrary symbol in his mind
asciilifeform Lisp gensym is the best representation of the concept I know of. Creates a symbol with no meaning other than identity (cannot add, subtract it, it only has a name and the only permitted operation is determination of identity). And, well, assignment.

mircea_popescu I don't think that violates my restatement.
asciilifeform It's a humble tool, no ai to it at all. A 'nut' or 'bolt' that I use daily. (gensym) just coughs up a guaranteed-unique object.

mircea_popescu Well yeah but if it did violate restatement then either I'm wrong or no AI can be made to run on Lisp machine. Is this provable to actually work all the time ?
asciilifeform Until exhausted memory. Typically implemented using a counter.

mircea_popescu That smashes eventually no ?
asciilifeform Common Lisp numeric tower is a bignum tower. So, in principle, if the machine were to do nothing but cough up 'gensyms' for a few millenia, you will exhaust memory. Depending on how quickly you can increment.

* mircea_popescu ponders.
mircea_popescu I superficially suspect this discussion proves there can never be turing AI, Lisp machine being turing equivalent.
asciilifeform The 'super-turing' machine remains a mystical unicorn. Not that it has been shown not to exist, but has about the same status as 'god'. That is, a favourite preoccupation of crackpots of all stripes, and from the whole spectrum of scientific literacy - but no results.

mircea_popescu Myeah. Well, the only way to build one may be to first build a planet, then let CNS evolve.
asciilifeform What bothers me most is that most of the 'askers' have no idea what they actually want from a hypothetical 'ai'. Mechanical best friend?

mircea_popescu A good example would be, a spontaneous determination to build itself a house, while no identifiable part of the code deals with housebuilding.
asciilifeform Not necessarily disputing the hypothesis - but why the preoccupation with non-identifiable parts?

mircea_popescu If the machine ends up housed within a house of its own making at the end of a process which was not either understood or its endpoint predictable by observers, well... it's intelligent.
nubbins` mis lados!!viii
asciilifeform See, we can take this into a place you probably did not intend to go:

mircea_popescu Let's see!
asciilifeform Consider 'langton's ant.' Very simple rules, you can write him yourself and try.

mircea_popescu See, that "intend to go" is exactly why the preoccupation with non identifiability. Fuckall cares what I intend.
asciilifeform Well think to the end. What we know is that everyone who ever tried Langton's ant, notices that he always 'builds a road', no matter what is on the playing field at the beginning. Or what 'bombs' (to use 'War of Life' terminology) you drop. Sooner or later - he builds it. Could be after thousands of moves. No one has proven anything, afaik, of substance, about whether the ant will always build the road. But experimentally no one has (yet) found counter-example.

mircea_popescu Okay. So your argument is that ant meets my definition of ai ?
asciilifeform Well, that part. Yes.

mircea_popescu How do you identify a highway as a house ?
asciilifeform Same way you identify a house as a house.

mircea_popescu Say if you showed this process to 1k randomly selected 5 yos, would they say "it built itself a house" ?
asciilifeform Who am I to say that a repeating cycle of moves is not 'house' for the automaton, the way that my 4 walls are a repeating cycle of moves to me.
nubbins` ^

mircea_popescu To us. Not to it. That's the point. To us. We have to recognise what it does.
asciilifeform This goes back to my complaint about the AI wishers. They aren't asking for 'intelligence', just a mechanical but recognizable version of themselves. Or, at least, what they think of as themselves.

mircea_popescu Well, this definition is, "when you recognise what's being done, but neither why nor how, you're confronted with intelligence". This is counterintuitive, because we're very ethnically close, so to speak, so we Eliza-recognise what we do on the grounds of culture and convention. When intelligences meet without that basis, superamazement ensues.ix
asciilifeform Or with an entirely non-interactive and ultimately easily described physical system that you simply don't grasp yet.
undata Seems a lot that passes for human intelligence is driven by autonomous processes evolution carved into us, just like the ant. When two of those ants hit each other, do they combine their "houses"?
nubbins` Recognize is an overly broad term for this discussion.

The discussion scatters from there, but you have your ultimatum. Let me know. If you want, it's up to you, you know, whatever you wanna do. Either way. The ball's in your court. So, er, take it easy.

  1. Was an ancient program that "talked to you" by asking a question about the last word you said. Took many people a while to figure it out. []
  2. Specifically, that this'd be a significant threat to Bitcoin. It is an unfortunate property, but not particularly central, not moreso than the monkeys dressing up as "satoshi" and misrepresenting themselves as "core devs" of Bitcoin (when in fact they're crufting it up, so by the very definition of the terms margin devs of Bitcoin). []
  3. You know the drill, it gets wet, it parts, it slides, the work of life. []
  4. It is an excellent topic of research to try and scientifically discern whether they putting forth such views Eliza-believe it to be true or "actually"-believe it to be true.

    This ties in nicely into the topic of Romania's false "intellectual elite" of the 80s - which was neither intellectual in any sense nor to any degree elite - and its alleged "resistence through culture" - which was in no way resistence nor to any degree culture. Yet the shameless beneficiaries of communism shamelessly turned around to claim that their shameful behaviour was mere feigning, and this imaginary difference not only should be rewarded but actually was rewarded. Such is the case of very malodorous, entirely unfrequentable impostors such as Adrian Plesu, Gabriel Liiceanu in one group of jackals, or Corneliu Vadim Tudor, Adrian Paunescu in another, perfectly indistinguishable group of jackals. And others, plenty of them.

    So, did they "really" help the local dictator, or were they merely Eliza-helping ? How about the people that will go before an international tribunal to be hanged for war crimes perpetuated during the so called "War on Terror", just as soon as we take power ? Will they have "only been doing their job" like Dan Voiculescu ? Will they have only been Eliza-warcriminaling all over ?

    I'm sure this disctinction will make so very much of a world of difference. []

  5. This is not necessarily a bad approach, what do you suppose Russel would do if Ohm's law stops working one day ? []
  6. Speech at 2nd conference. []
  7. AI meets natural stupidity, Drew McDermot. []
  8. He's run out of English "my sides" which is how nubbins lel. []
  9. Consider all the 18th and 19th century traveller stories. Consider the recently discovered previously isolated Amazonian tribe. []
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2 Responses

  1. For beings living off energy gradients like us, maybe delayed consumption can be seen as sign of intelligence, that entity "understands" something about environment. This can't be applied to Langton's ant nor Eliza. Their "highway" or "suggestive words" don't help them to prolong their life whatsoever. Unless you're into memetics, but I'd rather avoid that rabbit hole.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Sunday, 16 November 2014

    The problem is that the entity in question is not complex enough to actually consume anything.

    But otherwise the approach is sound, consumption flux regulation is quite likely what the brain originally emerged to do. Then it got railroaded into doing movement control (hey, natural extension from regulating consumption, right ?) and then it just kept getting tacked on and tacked on.

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