AI and the replicant mind

Is our understanding of intelligence anthropomorphic? How can we simulate the human mind when we can't even define it?

The Turing Test, as currently understood, is simply this: if a computer can perform in such a way that an expert cannot distinguish its performance from that of a human, then it is said that the computer also has that ability. So, the goal for programmers seeking to design intelligent computers is to design programs that will simulate human cognition in such a way as to pass the Turing Test.

However, Searle counters that a computer passing the Turning Test isn’t an actual intelligence and that the computer wouldn’t truly “understand” what it is doing, rather the computer would only be imitating / simulating believable human behavior. Under Turing’s test, even if the computer mirrored human behavior flawlessly, Searle posits that the computer still wouldn’t “really know” what, why, or how it came to the conclusions or responses that it did, or attribute any meaning to them—he demonstrates this in his famous example of The Chinese Room.

Heraclitus world fire

Embrace change wholeheartedly, and accept contradiction. Knowing these words–and understanding them–are two entirely different things.

Heraclitus preceded Parmenides, living from 535—475 BCE, and like Parmenides, none of his writing has survived in its complete form. Heraclitus’s philosophy on the surface is in direct contrast with Parmenides by positing a natural argument (I say “on the surface” as their ultimate conclusions, Parmenides’ “All Is One” and Heraclitus’ “World-Fire”, seem to be saying the same thing, but the two taking two drastically different approaches to arrive at the same place).

Parmenides Poem

Parmenides, the Greek grandpappy of metaphysics, might be my favorite philosopher.

In hindsight, he may have ruined the world in many ways… but that’s only because people exploited what it is that he was trying to say *cough cough canonization of The New Testament*. In truth, we may never know what he was ‘truly’ trying to say—for one, it’s complicated almost beyond belief; second, no fully intact account of his original work On Nature remains. Archeologists and scholars have yet to complete the translation—and they may never. I know I don’t understand All of what he has to say—but I want to.

With that said, if there was ever someone touched by the divine, it was Parmenides. While his work has nothing to do with religion, he saw the world as Neo saw The Matrix—and he moves up, down, in, out, and around every bit of logic and semantics that constitutes existence and non-existence. He is a true genius and often overlooked next to Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle—but what he achieved rivals DaVinci and Einstein.

AI, Robots, and The Singularity

What is the technological singularity, and why we should care about it?

The technological singularity marks the point beyond prediction. The theory holds that technology / machines will become so advanced that they will gain an intelligence of their own. This intelligence will duplicate (independent of humans) and compound to the point of super-intelligence, or an intelligence greater than that of a human being. Intelligence is subjective, but my definition involves an entity defining its own goals / objectives and then making decisions in an effort to achieve those goals / objectives. Should technology reach this state of being, the vast possibilities of outcomes are so great and dramatically different from one another that no quantifiable predictions can be made as to how this event will impact the world or human beings themselves.

Las Vegas Strip

Today was… difficult.

October 2, 2017—the day of the Las Vegas Massacre. It was technically the night before, but the world woke to another tragedy. A community shocked and numb.

It wasn’t surprising—I feel like everyone knew something like this was going to happen at some point in Las Vegas—but that doesn’t make it any less devastating or easier to accept.

I’ve seen it closeup several times before. I have a lot of connections to the Columbine shooting—know people on the hit list, have friends who lost their friends. I was there for the Theater Shooting, was a couple of miles up the road from the New Life Church shooting, drove along the highways during the Arizona I-10 Shooter scare, and used to play arcade games where the Trolley Square Shooting went down. I have dealt with this in my backyard, I have seen it unfold through the eyes of people who have established roots in these communities.

Vegas still felt different.

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