We haven't' heard much in the news about Artificial Intelligence (AI) lately, but ideas about 'teaching computers to think' have been on research front burners for decades... or as seen in technology-terms, thousands of generations.
There is now, for example, an 8-week high school course on AI designed by a third-year Ph.D. student in Computer Science at Cornell University, Kamal Aboul-Hosn. According to Aboul-Hosn, "The course revolves around the development of Artificial Intelligence and the potentials this field holds in radically changing our notions of thinking and of existence."
As described by Tufts University AI-buff Daniel C. Dennett, the leading-edge assertion is that "thinking is 'something going on' in the brain... but it is not [mechanical] computation at all: thinking is something holistic and emergent -- organic and fuzzy and warm and cuddly and mysterious."
Dennett -- described by Mitchell Waldrop in his 'must read' article The Age of Intelligent Machines: Can Computers Think? -- is "a witty and insightful observer of AI" who has dubbed the AI think-tank which asserts that 'thinking = computation' (ie: mechanical alignment of mathematical algorithms with nothing warm-and-cuddly about it) as the "High Church of Computationalism" whose "prelates include such establishment figures as Simon and MIT's Marvin Minsky; its Vatican City," asserts Dennett, "is MIT, 'the East Pole'."
Newly emerging string field theory (commonly referred to as "the theory of everything" and intricately interwoven with ideas about quantum computers capable of thought) is challenging longstanding theories in physics which have earned widespread scientific support dating from Einstein. Many of these ideologies are being recalled for inspection and possible upgrade, suggesting that a radical quantum-leap in scientific awareness is afoot.
Unnecessarily complicated by the Creationism vs Evolution debate, at the heart of the issue is a simple scientific question: Is thinking, like mathematics, 'linear'...? That is, is the thought process entirely that of a+b+c+d=e? Or is thinking 'dimensional', ie: an 'irreducible complexity' harboring invisible and as yet scientifically unidentified components which somehow 'magically' combine (ie: synergize) to enable thinkers to think thoughts which are greater than the 1+1=2 sum of their parts...???
The answer to this question -- given we ever find it -- will as a side effect open the doorway into a new universe of 'how we see ourselves' as either finite mortals or infinite beings. Still, the fundamental provocateur of the AI quest is simply to determine if computer technology can take a cognitive leap into the realm of thinking and acting on its own self-inaugurated thought.
Even now some amazing forerunner applications are in the works. "I would guess everyone has some kind of secret [brain-based computing] project in Silicon Valley,” said Jerry Swartz -- founder of the technology think-tank Swartz Foundation which explores how physics, math, computer engineering, and neuroscience can together replicate the human mind -- in an article published by the business-technology zine RedHerring.
"Robots, a growing market worldwide, are natural candidates for cognitive intelligence," the article asserts. "The Japan Robot Association says the global market for medical, personal, and assisted-living robots will reach $7.9 billion by 2010. And some cognitive computing robots are already under way... But headed to toy shelves this holiday season is Pleo, a $250 baby dinosaur android built by Emeryville, California-based Ugobe. It emotes in a kind of way, reacting to sounds, touch, and other stimuli and eventually understanding them—such that one Pleo might become conditioned to beg for food while another may learn to forage if its owner is frequently absent."
Under a seemingly unrelated and yet intricately interconnected heading, The Century of the Self is an absolutely fascinating 4-part video series produced by the BBC, chronicling the advent of public relations and marketing and its relationship to psychology, democracy, industrial strength social-engineering, personal liberty and the whole idea of self-governance. Really well done and, imho, a *must see* for every thinking being among us <ha>! All four full-length episodes may be downloaded free from Google Video:
Couldn't have said it better...
Voters need to make it clear we want SOLUTIONS, not ideology-gone-wild. RESIST the urge to exact retribution (except there may be no way to reign in some of the mavericks like Dingle). Use the time between now and January sessions to build bridges, coalitions, whatever – to restore the PUBLIC INTEREST as Job 1, and figure a way to limit the influence of the corporate lobby while listening to citizens.
The Republicans ultimately self-destructed because they became arrogant and abused the power the VOTERS gave them. Democrats need to rise above that, and put an end to "binary thinking." EVERY state and many local communities sponsor leadership programs which include heavy doses of problem solving and conflict resolution. The methodologies may differ slightly, but at their core are the same: problem solving rests on the foundation of consensus. You cannot solve a problem until its attributes are CLEARLY & CONCISELY defined and agreed on. An over-simplified, yet elegant overview of this process is: Lock them all in a room and don't let them out until they agree. USE these well-established methods to effect (bi-partisan) SOLUTIONS.
Most of the problems that divide us defy real solutions because they have become industries, with tens of thousands of JOBS dependent upon the underlying problem NEVER BEING SOLVED. The two most visible and notorious (although certainly not the most IMPORTANT) are abortion and the "war on drugs."
Pro choicers and pro lifers need to come to the table, and halt their primary methodology, which is simply to sling rocks at one another and attempting to obliterate the other side, rather than effecting solutions and healing change. The place to start is to agree on simple, measurable objectives, like "reduce the number of abortions as birth control by 10% by 2008." Then search for workable activities which will accomplish this goal. What IF this type of approach, over time, actually reduced the number of abortions exponentially? Would this satisfy the pro life hard core? If not, we need to stop listening to them.
Drug warriors need to abandon their foundation of LIES and start by telling the truth as their fundamental value. History proves that the "prohibition" approach doesn't work, period; get over it. Other countries have done a stunningly better job in addressing the problems of substance abuse and addiction, and what our Drug Enforcement Administration does about this is spend millions of dollars on propaganda attempting to undermine the truth. Instead of sticking with their ineffective methodologies, drug warriors need to study what WORKS. The fundamental change lies at the root of their fantasies: they need to acknowledge there is a HUGE difference between substance USE, and substance ABUSE, and abandon efforts to stop drug use, which has NEVER worked in the history of mankind. A simple fact of life: a huge percentage of humans want to get high; deal with this reality! [More on this: see PRESS RELEASE, below, and also Gozarks special Hemp report.]
Briefly back to politics and governing… The root of what divides us politically is competing ideologies, and a refusal to listen. A guideline for diminishing this divisiveness is a simple objective: Seek first to understand. EVERY endeavor, whether it's the "shouting heads" on TV or your coffee klatch needs to adopt the "talking stick" of the American Indian council; the ONLY person who can speak is the one with the stick in her/his hand. Everyone needs to embrace "Habit 5" of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. We probably need to institutionalize the entire 7 into our schools.
The tools exist to upgrade our
effectiveness, both personally and societally (is that a word?? ;>), we
just don't give them enough priority. For example if we included "life
skills" as a major component of public education our society could
improve by leaps and bounds. We have abandoned simple values of the
past, like being polite, with disastrous consequences. There are reasons
why we have the highest spousal and child abuse rates in the world, and
why we incarcerate more people per capita. We are graduating high school
absent fundamental skills like balancing a checkbook, and understanding
simple concepts like personal accountability. A PRIME example is the
trashing of America, when it's a simple thing to understand that there
is NO "away," as in "throw it away." Once again, we go off on the wrong
track in education, spending Billion$ on methodologies and quick fixes;
what we need to do is look at the schools which WORK, and adopt their
Early and absentee ballots are being challenged in Carroll County and those votes have not yet been counted. But among votes cast Tuesday, the marijuana measure is leading 598 to 345 in unofficial returns with 63% voting to de-prioritize marijuana interdiction.
To Those Who Have...
This earnest and cautionary warning is repeated almost verbatim in
Matthew 25:29, Mark 4:25, Luke 8:18, and Luke 19:26, seemingly emphasizing the significance of the message which, to me at least, makes the thought implicit to the meaning -- in context of a (supposed) 'all loving God' who is NOT a 'respecter of persons' and desires only the finest of the best for all of us children of creation -- rather uncomfortable to swallow.
I mean really, how does this idea of 'enriching those who already have' and 'depleting those who already lack' mesh with ideas about fairness, justice and love? Honestly, at face value this sounds more like something an arrogant bully would rant. Unless, that is, we examine these predictive consequences under the heading of 'self accountability' as understood in science as the law of attraction and compounding returns.
Think of it this way (perhaps after reading Good Things), thought is energy. (Note here for skeptics: bone-up on human biology, physics, Albert Einstein, and cognitive dynamics before you scoff.) Energy can be neither created nor destroyed. Energy has no beginning and no end. Energy simply cycles around, enlivening matter with whatever concepts we thinkers choose to think up.
Energy is power. Power is authority. Authority is choice; the ability (backed by the willingness) to choose. And whatever we choose -- whether it is 'good for us' or not -- is, de facto, entirely up to (each of) us.
Now, what if in our own choosing of the thoughts, ideas, plans and actions that we cause to fill our minds... what if in the very act of choosing we are fine-tuning the 'universal (and some would say God given) mechanism' that regulates the circumstances inherent to the quality of our day-to-day life...???
What if we each are, already, innately culpable for every 'good' and 'bad' circumstance which has ever existed in our unique experience of reality... but at the same time bound of our own ignorant innocence about the existence and operation of this 'system' in lock-step with making manifest all the crap (ie: terrorism) we say we would rather be without...???
Think about this. Really. Think about the amount of courage, tenacity and integrity it would take for you (or anyone) to step up to this plate of personal accountability. Especially because we live in a culture which instructs us almost exclusively on the the correctness of laying all the blame for everything which seems to us 'wrong' on somebody else.
Think about all of this and then, if you're a mind to, consider my recommendations for the upcoming November 7 election. Also, take a look under the Elections heading of Gozarks October front page and, if you haven't already, give some thought to my ideas on A Real Education posted on that same page. Then VOTE... or DON'T VOTE -- as howsoever by the Law of Attraction you are of your own choosing moved....
If the general conversation
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