Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Naturally Stupid

I am just another naturally stupid guy that had nothing to do with Artificial Intelligence (AI).

But I became a great fan of David Gelernter after reading a few of his lucid descriptions of complex AI concepts that I stumbled upon, mistaking it for philosophy initially. He talks of AI in such a plain language, just as Stephen Hawking glides along deep science concepts in A Brief History of Time. Gelernter believes it’s highly unlikely that a conscious mind will ever be built out of software, and belongs to what he calls as “anti-cognitivists” camp. Here's to sample his style -

"So what is it like to be a computer running a complex AI program? "Exactly like being a computer running any other kind of program".

Of course, we can't know literally what it's like to be a computer executing a long sequence of instructions. But we know what it's like to be a human doing the same. Imagine holding a deck of cards. You sort the deck; then you shuffle it and sort it again. Repeat the procedure, ad infinitum. You are doing comparisons (which card comes first?), data movement (slip one card in front of another), and so on. To know what it's like to be a computer running a sophisticated AI application, sit down and sort cards all afternoon. That's what it's like.

The computer's routine never varies: grab an instruction from memory and execute it; repeat until something makes you stop.

If you sort cards long enough and fast enough will a brand-new conscious mind (somehow) be created? This is, in effect, what *cognitivists* believe."
He amazes me with his lucidity. Aren't you too...?

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