[Paleopsych] Towards a truly clever Artificial Intelligence
checker at panix.com
Tue Feb 8 22:14:39 UTC 2005
Towards a truly clever Artificial Intelligence
The University of Reading 04.02.2005
[See you on Easter!]
A pioneering new way of creating computer programs could be used in
the future to design and build robots with minds that function like
that of a human being, according to a leading researcher at The
University of Reading.
Dr James Anderson, of the Universitys Department of Computer Science,
has developed for the first time the perspective simplex, or Perspex,
which is a way of writing a computer program as a geometrical
structure, rather than as a series of instructions.
Not only does the invention of the Perspex make it theoretically
possible for us to develop robots with minds that learn and develop,
it also provides us with clues to answer the philosophical conundrum
of how minds relate to bodies in living beings.
A conventional computer program comprises of a list of instructions,
and if one of those instructions goes missing or is damaged then the
whole program crashes. However, with the Perspex, the program works
rather like a neural network and is able to bridge gaps and continue
running and developing even when it sustains considerable damage.
"All computer programs can be written in terms of the Perspex.
Essentially, it is a new, geometrical computer instruction that looks
like an artificial neuron. Any existing computer program can be
compiled into a network of these neurons".
The Perspex links the geometry of the physical world with the
structure of computations so, to the extent that mind is computable,
the Perspex provides one solution to the centuries-old problem of how
mind arises in physical bodies.
"Perspexes exist in a mathematical space called perspex space. Perspex
space can describe the ordinary space we live in, along with all of
the physical bodies that make up our space, and all of the minds that
arise from physical bodies. It provides a model that is accurate
enough for a robot to use to describe its own mind and body".
Perspex programs show the very human trait of periodic recovery and
relapse when they are damaged; perhaps for the same reason. The
Perspex tells us how mind can relate to body so the geometrical
properties that govern a Perspex programs injury and recovery also
apply to us because our bodies exist in space. We share a common
geometry, and this has implications for our minds and bodies. For the
first time, the Perspex makes computer programs prone to injury,
illness, and recovery like a human being. And a computer program that
continues developing despite damaged, erroneous, and lost data means
that, in the future, we could have computers that are able to develop
their own minds despite, or because of, the rigours of living in the
The Perspex allows global reasoning to be attained with just one
initial instruction. So a Perspex program can operate on the whole of
a problem before it attends to the myriad of detail. This is very much
like human strategic thinking. It arises from the geometry of the
Perspex, not from the specific detail of the program that is being
run. This tells us that strategic thinking can be a property of the
way our brains are constructed and is not necessarily to do with the
substance of what we happen to be thinking about. It might be that
some people are better at strategic thinking than others because of
the geometry of their brains."
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