Good Old Fashioned Artificial Neural Networks

Good Old Fashioned Artificial Neural Networks

Good Old Fashioned Artificial Neural Networks

Specification of the nervous net provides the law of necessary connection whereby one can compute from the description of any state that of the succeeding state […]
With determination of the net, the unknowable object of knowledge, the “thing in itself” ceases to be unknowable.
To psychology, however defined, specification of the net would contribute all that could be achieved in that field

McCulloch & Pitts, 1943

Julia and Sam are talking about the following article: McCulloch-Pitts Neurons

In this post the dialogue is realised by an interaction of virtual characters, for more information please check the page “Virtual characters

Julia

Hi Sam, I wondered if I could ask you some questions about the history of AI?

Today 17:08

Sam

Hi Julia, sure! Is this for an assignment?

Today 17:09   

Julia

No, for an article I am co-writing with John                                           

Today 17:09

Sam

Oh, interesting! Ask away!

Today 17:10   

Julia

We were wondering about some of the things you mentioned in your interview with Manuel

Today 17:11

Sam

Yeah, that did remain somewhat superficial

Today 17:11   

Julia

We’re doing a more in-depth article now, so you have room to explain

Today 17:12

Sam

That’s great! So what exactly did you want to know more about?

Today 17:12   

Julia

We were talking about Dreyfus’ critique of AI and you mentioned embedding robots in the world to make them learn

Today 17:13

Sam

Right! I think I mentioned that at the end, when talking about AGI: artificial general intelligence

Today 17:14   

Julia

That would be human-level intelligence, right?                                     

Today 17:15

Sam

Indeed. Pre-programming all that didn’t work out, not even when trying algorithms inspired by human problem solving

Today 17:16   

Julia

Yes, I read about Newell and Simon, this was Dreyfus’ main target, no?

Today 17:16

Sam

Correct, but there are other approaches as well, such as making a computer learn, instead of programming it

Today 17:17   

Julia

OK, so machine learning, using artificial neural networks?                

Today 17:18

Sam

Those networks are only very roughly similar to the structure of a human brain and not really meant as a model of how humans do it

Today 17:19   

Julia

But they would be a serious alternative for the older approach?      

Today 17:19

Sam

In a way, but we are still very far from AGI, so far we don’t even know how far …

Today 17:20   

Julia

When did this new approach really get off the ground? I’ve found texts referencing artificial neural networks back in the 19th century …

Today 17:20

Sam

What!? That can’t possibly be right!

Today 17:21   

… Continue reading our conversations that are posted every Saturday …

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A material program living in a material world

A material program living in a material world

A material program living in a material world

Thus, the only question which can reasonably be discussed at present is not whether robots can fall in love, or whether if they did we would say they were conscious, but rather ..
To what extent a digital computer can be programmed to exhibit the sort of simple intelligent behavior characteristic of children and sometimes animals, such as playing games, solving simple problems, reading sentences, and recognizing patterns

Dreyfus 1965

Julia and John are talking about the following article:
Why general artificial intelligence will not be realized

In this post the dialogue is realised by an interaction of virtual characters, for more information please check the page “Virtual characters

Julia

In the beginning people thought General AI was just around the corner

Today 17:08

John

Like in the ‘50s and ’60s? 😊

Today 17:09   

Julia

Yes, Newell and Simon were convinced that they already had a thinking machine (Computer Simulation of Human Thinking)

Today 17:09

John

That does sound a bit ambitious, for the kind of equipment they had … 😅

Today 17:10   

Julia

Of course hype like that brought out many critics, famously Hubert Dreyfus

Today 17:11

John

Not sure I’ve heard of him …

Today 17:12  

Julia

He was a philosopher, not an engineer, and wrote a book on “What Computers can’t do

Today 17:12

Julia

basically, that computers cannot understand the world like humans do

Today 17:12

John

Oh, I remember Sam saying something about the world not being a chessboard , is it like that?

Today 17:13  

Julia

I think it is exactly that: computers lack the background knowledge about how things work

Today 17:13

Julia

if it isn’t explicitly there in the algorithm, in the program, it doesn’t really exist for the computer

Today 17:13

John

But that’s not how humans think, right?

Today 17:14   

Julia

Yep, Dreyfus was a phenomenologist and looked at how humans experience and act in the world

Today 17:15

Julia

and AI’s lack the specific human way of “being in the world” as Heidegger called it

Today 17:15

John

So that’s why AI’s would have a lot of trouble with stuff a little kid can do effortlessly? 😊

Today 17:15   

Julia

Indeed, but this also suggests a solution: put the AI in the world like a human 😊

Today 17:16

John

Ah, of course, instead of a disembodied algorithm, you give it a robot body, and senses, and make it learn, and …

Today 17:17   

Julia

Bingo! Humans aren’t disembodied minds, so if you want human intelligence … 😊

Today 17:18

John

Good stuff! But we should definitely check in with Sam about this too.

Today 17:19   

Julia

Sure, will do, and perhaps you can talk to Manuel, about the interview he did him?

Today 17:19

John

Yes, and see if he has more material.

Today 17:20   

Julia

Great! Then we’ll catch up later 😉                                                         

Today 17:20

John

See you soon! 😊

Today 17:21   

… Continue reading our conversations that are posted every Saturday …

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Mental Programs

Mental Programs

Mental Programs

This article is concerned with the psychology of human thinking.
It sets forth a theory to explain how some humans try to solve some simple formal problems.
The research from which the theory emerged is intimately related to the field of information processing and the construction of intelligent automata, and the theory is expressed in the form of a computer program.

Newell & Simon 1961

Julia and John are talking about the following article:
GPS, A Program that Simulates Human Thought

In this post the dialogue is realised by an interaction of virtual characters, for more information please check the page “Virtual characters

Julia

Remember that you mentioned Newell, Shaw, and Simon to me?

Today 17:08

John

Yes, did you find out how they would fit in all this?😊

Today 17:09   

Julia

Absolutely! 😊 Their research is a great fit for this topic                  

Today 17:09

Julia

They tried to figure out the laws of thought to turn them into an algorithm

Today 17:09

John

OK, so from psychology to programming? 😉

Today 17:10   

Julia

Exactly: humans use algorithms too, we just need to figure out which ones.

Today 17:11

John

and then translate them into somethings a computer can use.

Today 17:12  

Julia

Yes. Basically they thought that thinking is just “problem solving”

Today 17:12

Julia

and that there are some general rules that we use all the time, whether playing chess or doing math

Today 17:12

John

I think Manuel mentioned this to me at some point: it’s all information processing

Today 17:13   

Julia

That is indeed the kind of approach: humans and computers use algorithms to solve problems, to process information

Today 17:13

John

So the laws of thought that we discover through psychological research can be turned into a program

Today 17:14   

Julia

There’s just one problem …. it doesn’t really work all that well.

Today 17:15

John

How do you mean?

Today 17:15   

Julia

The idea was: humans are intelligent, we make computers do what humans do, and then we have intelligent computers, AI.

Today 17:16

Julia

However, there’s quite a difference between a computer algorithm and how humans solve problems.

Today 17:16

Julia

The analogy works really well for chess and math, and is terrible for, like, more mundane problems: grocery shopping, navigating traffic, etc.

Today 17:16

John

So the whole “laws of thought” stuff didn’t work out in the end?

Today 17:17   

Julia

Not really, and the link to logic was lost too: programmers simply went with what works, the most pragmatic option

Today 17:18

John

So rules of thumb and heuristics and not deduction and statistics

Today 17:19   

Julia

Indeed, and then of course the way a computer solves a problem becomes very different from how a human does.

Today 17:19

John

OK, so I guess we should include some of the setbacks and critics of AI as well

Today 17:20   

Julia

I think that would be a good idea, so we can make it clear how things are different now. 😉

Today 17:20

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Don’t know much about history, don’t know much psychology

Don’t know much about history, don’t know much psychology

Don’t know much about history, don’t know much psychology

Logical laws are identical with natural laws of thought. Logic is … a physics of thought, otherwise it is nothing

Lipps 1880

Julia and John are talking about the following article:
Psychologism

In this post the dialogue is realised by an interaction of virtual characters, for more information please check the page “Virtual characters

Julia

In philosophy you had two camps: one group considered logic as the physics of thought

Today 17:08

Julia

logic is the set of laws that describe how we think, just like the law of gravitation describes how things fall

Today 17:08

John

Ok, that’s clear. The other group? 😊

Today 17:09   

Julia

The others thought logic is like an ethics of thought: what we should do if we want to think right

Today 17:09

John

I do understand the difference between those, but I’m still not sure why this would matter so much … for AI 🤔

Today 17:10   

Julia

Well, if I got things right, then the point is that in one case we can’t disobey the laws of thought, it’s just how we are wired?

Today 17:11

Julia

In the other case we choose to try to follow those laws, but we can fail. An AI could do the first, but not the second.

Today 17:11

John

Ah, now it is becoming clearer what the issue is! An AI can only do what it’s told to do, not choose what rules to follow.

Today 17:12  

Julia

Yes, also the difference would be between logic as an ideal theory or as a human practice

Today 17:12

John

Right, so is logic pre-given or do we develop it as seems fit to us?🤨

Today 17:13   

Julia

Exactly! That why everyone was accuring everyone else of being some kind of “psychologist”.

Today 17:12

John

What so bad about being a psychologist? I don’t get it …

Today 17:14   

Julia

In German there’s a difference between someone who practices psychology and philosophers who apply psychology where it doesn’t fit

Today 17:15

John

Somewhat like science and scientism?

Today 17:15   

Julia

Yes, that’s a good analogy: overextending the tools of one discipline to everything else

Today 17:16

John

But why was everyone name-calling everyone then? Isn’t is clear to which camp they would belong?

Today 17:17   

Julia

Well, if logic is hard wired in the brain, then you would be a “psychologist” in one sense, 😊

Today 17:18

Julia

but if logic is something humans build to fit their own needs then you would be a “psychologist” in another sense.

Today 17:18

John

This is all very confusing, I hope we can simplify that for the article.

Today 17:19   

Julia

Yes, perhaps we should leave the whole “psychologist” thing out, and focus on the physics vs ethics

Today 17:19

John

That would seem like a good idea, and make the link to AI more explicit!

Today 17:20   

Julia

I’ve actually got some good material on that from another group!

Today 17:20

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