Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jeopardy quiz show was lots of fun

The Jeopardy quiz show was lots of fun. I refer especially to the shows featuring IBM's natural language computer. It was fun to watch, not for the answers, but for the players, and by that I mean the host, and the IBM programmers interviewed. The conclusion to the game seems to be that the computer beat the people playing the game. But that is not what happened, and thereby lies entertainment on another level.
The answers Watson the computer, gave, were easy because all the answers in its databanks were "correct." The computer could only chose to answer the question based on picking an answer supplied in some gigaencyclopedic dump. Nothing required an intelligence that observed, that experimented, that could come up with something new. Neither can a human, of course, using their own binary verbal intelligence. But while humans can come up with answers regardless of their own pervasive ignorance of their intellectual wiring, a computer can only, ever, rearrange the pieces on the board, the chalk lines on the grass, and never really deal with the new, that breath of the future that prevents the whole house of cards from collapsing on itself. Jan Cox found the whole idea of artificial intelligence amusing, and I suspect my points above may have been part of the reason.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Is 'Watson" the heart of human intelligence?

Is "Watson" the heart of human intelligence? This is the description given by an IBM engineer involved in developing this computer. The answer would depend on one's ability to appreciate the nature of human rationality---the human brain has a verbal level which depends on binary thought. A common assumption among academics is that this verbal level is the depth and dimensions of human intelligence.  Actually those academics are incorrect, but let's pretend there is some legitimacy to this stance. Watson's success in answering natural language questions is a sham. All the answers have already been stored in the computer. There is no environmental interplay and learning which involves dealing with a chaotic interface to an external world. All the answers Watson discovers are right, because the computer only has RIGHT answers stored in it. A human binary brain, may seem limited compared to have have a million encyclopedias scanned into one's cranial cap, but even at the most limited view of the human brain, the view which actually ignores human experience and history, even this binary rattletrap, learns by interacting with a multivalent flow of energies which is only artificially divided into external and internal. Take the answer given on the Jeopardy show----Toronto. A mistake you say, but Toronto is the right answer to some question, just not the one that was asked. The human players on this revered game show, had to pick the right answer, not from a finite list of correct answers, but a infinite list of almost correct answers, mixed into the imbroglio. Reality at even the binary level is only superficially composed of alphabetical blocks. At any juncture there is an infinity of answers, which the players pick from, a job made easier by mechanical intelligence, but only superficially does this ease get confused with the crisp matrix of yes and no which the Watson engineers only can guess is the nature of reality.

But wait, the patient reader may protest, weren't you going to keep your response within the artificial and unreal limits of binary thought. Are you not pointing beyond the rational mind when you point out the chaotic edges of reality.
No. And I say no, we are still talking about binary thought, because the thinker can only ever stay with the limits of binary thought by imaginatively ignoring the reality that his cranial canvas is something unique to him. Since the binary thought extends from a broader organism called humanity, even the fiction that binary thought is the way a man thinks can only be maintained by allowing his individuality to remain unexamined. The human binary mind, can be compared to the natural language computer, ---both mechanical, both blissfully unaware of their limitations, but the human binary mind, still must, thrive, in a chaotic situation, or else the most mechanical mind, could not breathe.  Like slats in a fence perhaps, all measured out and fixed side by side, and nailed against a cross beam at intervals,  is that human mind at its most mechanical, but even then, and this is the point, it has to have slits between the slats, a view of a real chaos of the unexpected, to perform its mechanical function. Like a bee, adorablly mechanical, must still search for new flower patches.
And of course, we let up on Watson, just so we could make the argument seem fair. The human mind is not just a binary machine, though such is the main part of the verbal structure. And who will be able to see this point?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Is there a word that describes "it all?"

Is there a word that describes "it all?" A word like cosmos, but a
word which hints at the mechanics of reality, not just the beauty. You
might suggest verbalizable, but this does not suggest that which is
not verbalizable. The word that occurred to me is "knock-off." Jan Cox
expressed a comparable idea when he pointed out that without real gold,
there would be no market for counterfeits. The thought that the world we talk about is a knock-off suggests a reflective quality of words. At the same time knock-off suggests there is a world which is unmediated by thought.