Archive for the ‘Neurology’ Category

EMOTION PLANS LOGIC. Want No More Fakery? Tell the Truth! Hurt the Feelings of Fakers!

January 11, 2019

Emotional logic builds geometrical logic. This is a neurological fact. And yes, there are alternative facts, all over, because there are incomplete logics, logic with incomplete universes, all over. Any logic depends upon a universe of facts. Not all universes of facts are complete, far from it. It happens even in physics. Somehow, much vaunted modern physics is missing 95% of the mass-energy: it has no idea whatsoever what Dark Energy and Dark Matter could be made of: a case where major facts are still missing.

Philosophy , once it knows enough science, realizes that, although we don’t know all the details yet, clearly the topology of various substances bathing the brain, with their many dimensions, are what direct neuronal geometry… This, in particular explains why one cannot fight emotions with facts readily. That is like changing grass in the steppe with scissors.

If a child makes a mistake, one doesn’t respect the “alternative”, false computation. Instead, one says, pedagogically, that the computation is not correct. Children listen, because they respect teachers and parents (or used to…) So the emotional logic of respect, makes school possible.

Paradoxically, the problem then, maybe that one uses too much rationality to try to bend rationality, confronted to adults who have the wrong emotional logic.

When I say that “emotions plan reason”, I allude to the fact that the emotional system is actually a topological computer. Topological structures can actually be more stable than geometric structures: that Descartes guessed, and Lord Kelvin elaborated further (in an attempt to make particles out of ether vortices… something which will one day resurface… Thanks to pilot wave theory…)

Faced by a lethal religious fanatic, or a climate change denier (for example), the best method may not be to present them with facts and logics they can’t understand, or are unwilling to consider. Instead, one should probably appeal to their emotional logic.

How? One way is to call a cat a cat. Confronted to idiocy, it may be more pedagogical to say it as it is: idiotic. Instead, “Multiculturalism” (and Latour was part of it) insisted that complete idiocy and primitivism, were valuable alternate realities. Now Latour says there is just one reality. Right. However the philosophy known as “French Theory” said the opposite for 60 years….

Want no more fakery? Tell the truth! Hurt the feelings of fakers!

Patrice Ayme

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Note 0: I have addressed this subject many times before:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/emotion-primes-reason/

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/emotions-prime-reason-ii/

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/hormones-rule-reason/

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/1914-imprinting-emotions-rule-iii/

Note 1: The preceding, that emotional machinery is the architect of the geometric logic, explains the observation of John Stuart Mill that ideas don’t work to change systems of mind readily (Discoverer of the Quantum Max Planck said the same a bit later, pointing out that physics progresses one funeral at a time, or something to this effect). Anyway here is Mill: in the Subjection of Women (1869; following an essay by a female feminist in 1851)

“The very words necessary to express the task I have undertaken, show how arduous it is. But it would be a mistake to suppose that the difficulty of the case must lie in the insufficiency or obscurity of the grounds of reason on which my conviction rests. The difficulty is that which exists in all cases in which there is a mass of feeling to be contended against. So long as an opinion is strongly rooted in the feelings, it gains rather than loses in stability by having a preponderating weight of argument against it. For if it were accepted as a result of argument, the refutation of the argument might shake the solidity of the conviction; but when it rests solely on feeling, the worse it fares in argumentative contest, the more persuaded its adherents are that their feeling must have some deeper ground, which the arguments do not reach; and while the feeling remains, it is always throwing up fresh intrenchments of argument to repair any breach made in the old. And there are so many causes tending to make the feelings connected with this subject the most intense and most deeply-rooted of all those which gather round and protect old institutions and customs, that we need not wonder to find them as yet less undermined and loosened than any of the rest by the progress of the great modern spiritual and social transition; nor suppose that the barbarisms to which men cling longest must be less barbarisms than those which they earlier shake off.”

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Note 2: The preceding short essay was a comment sent to, and published by, the New York Times regarding “Why Fighting Fake News With the Facts Might Not Be Enough” by Jennifer Szalai. I give an extensive quote below, not because she is such a genius… but because the context she provides unwittingly is telling… Latour, by the way, is from a top plutocratic wine family, wealthy for generations… So his (not really “his”, just the latest parroting) declaration that massive uncontrolled immigration to the Europe is justified, just as a tsunami is justified, because waves come and go, and come back again… is a red herring… Something to look at… while doesn’t look at how Latour and his class became wealthy, the old fashion way, inheriting it…
Jan. 9, 2019

“Alternative facts”: The term manages to be tedious, ridiculous and perilous at once — a real sign of the times. For anyone who doesn’t remember, Kellyanne Conway introduced it in early 2017… serenely chiding an exasperated Chuck Todd for being “overly dramatic” as he repeatedly tried to get her to concede that lying to the American public was bad.

Her phrasing may have been new, but Conway was taking part in what has apparently become a conservative tradition — performing a skepticism so extreme that it makes the ancient Greek skeptics look like babes in the woods. Recall a high-ranking aide in the Bush administration needling a journalist for belonging to “the reality-based community.” A respect for facts, the aide suggested, was ultimately for suckers: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”

You might think this kind of postmodernism would appeal to the French anthropologist and philosopher Bruno Latour, who has spent a career studying how knowledge is socially constructed. You would be wrong. Such pretensions to reality-creating grandeur, Latour suggests, amount to little more than a vulgar, self-defeating cynicism.

In “Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime,” Latour argues that climate change is forcing all of us to confront truths that seem hard to reconcile but turn out to be two sides of the same thing: 1) reality exists, whether we like it or not; and 2) our attempts to apprehend it are contingent on our social context. Along with Cailin O’Connor and James Owen Weatherall’s “The Misinformation Age: How False Beliefs Spread,” Latour’s new book offers a way to think through the seemingly insurmountable impasse carved out by political polarization and fake news.

Latour calls for an entirely new way of understanding the world. He says he wrote “Down to Earth” with a “deliberate bluntness.” He vests a surprising hope in Europe, whose colonial past — or “crimes,” as he puts it — he depicts as inextricable from the migrations it tries to keep out. “Europe has invaded all peoples; all peoples are coming to Europe in their turn,” he writes. “Give and take. There is no way out of this.”

Latour also describes migration as the human embodiment of our “new climatic regime.” Under the old way of thinking, exploited peoples and places were ignored, silenced and stripped of agency; now migrants and the earth itself are both setting out “to recover what belongs to them.”

No doubt some readers will find this to be too much, too philosophical and too French. But maybe it takes a brilliantly mind-bending book like Latour’s to show that so much reality can’t be denied.

Self-Taught AI Defeats Programmed AI: What Higher Thinking Means

October 19, 2017

Hint: Highest thinking doesn’t mean being a parrot. Just the opposite. SERIOUSLY THINKING ABOUT THINKING means not just mastering AI, but ESCHEWING ANY THINKING WHICH DEPENDS ONLY UPON A FEW EXPLICIT RULES: Artificial Intelligence will help define the highest forms of thinking, and push them higher than ever before. Thus spoke Brainythustra.

Earlier this year the AlphaGo artificial intelligence program ended humanity’s 2,500 years of supremacy at the board game Go. Not content with its 3–0 victory over the world’s top player, AlphaGo creator DeepMind Technologies unveiled on 10/18/2017 its enhanced version—AlphaGo Zero—which soundly thumped its predecessor program in an AI face-off, winning all 100 games played. Thanks to creativity (I will allege, and there is a wisdom therein for us all).

So here we have Artificial Intelligence, self teaching now, spending 40 days playing against itself, and defeating anything programmed by humans. A new program, teaching itself, AlphaGo Zero, needed just three days to invent advanced strategies as yet undiscovered by human players in the multi-millennia history of the game of Go! An essential ingredient towards our termination, lest we get much smarter: to stay ahead of the game, we have to do better than Alpha Go Zero versus Alpha Go Master.

AlphaGo had been taught to play the game of Go by using two different methods. In the first, called supervised learning, researchers fed the program 100,000 top Go games and taught it to imitate that. In the second, called reinforcement learning, researchers had the program play against itself and learn from the results. AlphaGo Zero skipped supervised learning. The AI learned, by itself., without human data, guidance or domain knowledge beyond game rules. After three days, and 4.9 million training games against itself, AlphaGo Zero routed AlphaGo.

The Catholic ex-seminarian, the real Nazi philosopher Heidegger, extra conjugal lover of the (secular Jew) Hannah Arendt, explained that he struggled to define what he was doing, and who he was. Later he elected to call himself a “thinker”, rather than simply a “philosopher”. Heidegger may have been too optimistic in his own case, but the fact is, “wisdom” is not just what “thinking” produces, but what superior thinking produces. Yes, superior, like in above. A superior race of thinking, so to speak, what Heidegger aspired to.

Philosophy is good, thinking is better.

All you see here is programmable, and that means it’s nonlinear programming (as it acts upon itself. Moreover, the Quantum looms in the fine details of the machinery, introducing an unpredictable, nonlinear, nonlocal ingredient as Deus Ex Machina

Thinking is essentially a phenomenon of abstraction revealing the mysterious hierarchies of cause and effect ruling the universe.

Google purchased the company “DeepMind” and is now is studying “Deep Learning”. I must admit it seems to be doing enough of an excellent job at it, to feed the philosophy of thinking and creativity (by supporting experimentally for all to see, strategies of creativity I long believed in).

How did AlphaGo Zero become so dominant? Learning. Unlike the original AlphaGo, which DeepMind trained with human knowledge and supervision, the new system’s algorithm taught itself to play well. Self-taught. The system was not taught to imitate what humans had previously done. That’s the key.

Computer programs, so far, recognize faces, select or correct trajectories, make purchasing recommendations, parallel park cars from “learning algorithms,” written by humans who feed massive amounts of data into an artificial neural networks. 

This is not new: the deliberate mimicking of neural networks by computer systems goes all the way back to the 1940s. This is called machine learning. In AlphaGo’s case it involved analyzing millions of moves made by human go experts and playing many, many games against itself to reinforce that learning. AlphaGo defeated Ke Jie—then the world’s top human go player—It also beat other grand masters such as Lee Sedol, with the aid of multiple neural networks requiring 48 Tensor Processing Units (TPUs)—specialized microchips for neural network training.

AlphaGo Zero’s training involved only four TPUs and a single neural network that knew nothing much about Go, besides the basic rules. The AI learned without supervision—it simply played against itself, and soon was able to anticipate itself and how moves would affect a game’s outcome (as we do in dreaming).

“This technique is more powerful than previous versions of AlphaGo because it is no longer constrained by the limits of human knowledge,” opined DeepMind co-founders Demis Hassabis and David Silver. “If similar techniques can be applied to other structured problems such as protein folding, reducing energy consumption or searching for revolutionary new materials, the resulting breakthroughs have the potential to positively impact society,” their blog and their Nature article, “Mastering the game of Go without human knowledge”, say, insisting that “a long-standing goal of artificial intelligence is an algorithm that learns, tabula rasa, superhuman proficiency in challenging domains”.

AlphaGo Zero devised unconventional strategies. Go is typically played using “stones” colored either black or white on a board with a 19 by 19 grid. Each player places stones with the objective of surrounding an opponent’s. AlphaGo Zero discovered, played and ultimately learned to prefer, series of new joseki [corner sequence] previously unknown. Go games typically start with plays in the grid’s corners, to gain a better overall position on the board. Move 37 in the second game against Lee Sedol showed the creativity of AlphaGo and the potential of AI is widely recognized as “rare and intriguing”by professional Go players.

Here we touch something that has been central to my thinking, ever since I seriously think about thinking: topmost human thinking is not about what is measured easily. Topmost human thinking is not about what is programmed easily, and ruled easily. This is what the triumphs of AI show us.

That’s why I have secretly scoffed QI (however flatteringly towering it got my mandatory experience through QI once showed me most of it is BS, as i spent time meta-analyzing the test itself). I also look down on all brainy games, such as chess, because, precisely, they are not brainy enough. Same objections to most.fiction literature. I like to play chess, just as I like tennis, but it’s no proof of intelligence, or even of a correctly functioning brain. The same objection can be ruled out, against (much, not most) mathematics itself. If you want full brains, you have to get smarter.   

DeepMind claims “a very impressive technical result; and both their ability to do it—and their ability to train the system in 40 days, on four TPUs—is remarkable,” says Oren Etzioni, chief executive officer of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) (founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2014). “While many have used [reinforcement learning] before, the technical aspects of the work are novel.”

However Etzioni says “I think it would be a mistake to believe that we’ve learned something general about thinking and about learning for general intelligence,” he adds. “This approach won’t work in more ill-structured problems like natural-language understanding or robotics, where the state space is more complex and there isn’t a clear objective function.”

Unsupervised training is the key to ultimately creating AI that can think for itself, Etzioni says, but “more research is needed outside of the confines of board games and predefined objective functions” before computers can really begin to think outside the box.

Of course, for thinking out of the box, we need something that is adverse to boxes, and is actually always out of anything box we try to stuff it in.

And the answer is…

The Quantum.

Quantum computers are the key to maximally innovative intelligence. Precisely because the Quantum recognizes no bounds. Just as real intelligence. And real consciousness. Verily, that’s no accident, but consequence.

In conclusion, let me reinforce what we learned here experimentally, because it has great philosophical import: maximal human creativity requires, first, tabula rasa. Hence all human mental activities not resting on tabula rasa should be viewed as belonging to a lower, more menial sort. This is real progress in thinking about thinking, and how to make it better…

Patrice Ayme’

Those Who Don’t Meditate Don’t Creatively Think

August 8, 2017

 

Thus meditation is at the core what it means to be human, let alone civilized.

This being said, there are many ways of meditating. Many  more ways than is usually considered, or believed.

The root of the word meditate, is the Proto Indo-European “med”: “taking appropriate measures”. Hence the Romans “meditari”, to reflect, consider, think it over.

The basic argument of some meditators is that they can put their mind in a different state, and logically and emotionally approach things anew. Calm and rest, slowing the heartbeat can do this. Right. It’s most appropriate, especially to hot heads. Those who tend towards road rage, ill-considered relationships, depression for shallow reason(s), drug, tobacco and THC addiction, abusing others, etc.

However, for more perfect, PC types, slowing one’s already supine mind will not bring mental perspective. The problem is the exact opposite to that of hot heads. The average, rather sedate and conformist Commons need to put their minds in different state(s) to reach greater perspectives, hence higher wisdom, through excitement, not anesthesia.

Hence violence and passion can lead to higher wisdom. Yes, they won’t slow down the heartbeat: that’s precisely the point. Indeed the human brain needs oxygen, nutrients, blood flow: the brain uses between 20%, 25% and 43% of a human oxygen… To try to change the brain by starving the brain of blood flow sounds more akin to hanging by the neck, than of conditions conducive to creative thinking.

Extreme situations can provide with extremely different perspectives, which, well interpreted, can provide with extreme wisdom as nothing else can.

For example, thinking about the same subject under very heavy exertion gives very different approaches and results than doing it half asleep in one’s bed as Leonardo Da Vinci, and quite a few other mathematicians or physicists have recommended to.

One can be swimming in the sea, and watch a giant shark pass by, and this will put oneself in a very different mental state. Irreversibly, most probably. I was personally caught in a giant rock avalanche, the largest rock avalanche I have ever seen, even on TV, and miraculously survived (meaning I won’t believe the story if someone told it to me). That changed me very deeply (not just the avalanche itself, but the near impossible survival)   

Actually, putting one in a completely different meditative state is the main advantage of extreme sports, and why they capture their practitioners so well. (Contemplate me!)

Enthusiasts sitting in a room, with high ceilings and a gong, can talk about approaching meditation through measured breathing all they want. Diving so deep in the sea, with just one’s lungs, so deep only the sandy bottom of the sea shines, FORCES one to master one’s breathing (and heart, and peripheral body, and brain). Meditate, or die. What could be more motivating, more thorough?

A human brain is a marvellous thing. Pain is generally experienced only when it’s profitable to do so, in light of the overwhelming necessity of survival of self, or significant other(s). The French solo sailor Alain Colas once calmly operated his giant sailboat with a nearly sectioned foot. He didn’t experience disabling pain (until he was in a safe situation). I experienced several torn tendons and two fractures on May 11. After the event, I calmly jerked back a finger which was out of its articulation. I learned that in B movies, but it worked. Then I started running again, as rescue was distinctly not on the mountain. I knew the pain was manageable if I got into action answering the situation. I did the same (on the same mountain!) when I was stung by more than 40 wasps.

The best, or at least the deepest, way to be reminded how powerful, and correct, the human mind can be, is to go extreme. Sitting in a lotus position without moving a neuron, won’t do it. Confronting the world will. It will not necessarily make you look, or sound, nice. But it will make you wise and good deep down inside.

Generally nastiness comes from sectarianism, and that, in turn, provides with comforts which, wisdom shows, should be denied.

Patrice Ayme’

Mentality Trumps Logic

November 30, 2016

Mental States Trump, Prime and Build (Local Linear) Logic

How do people think? When thinking about thinking, intellectuals tend to go back to Plato describing the mythical Socrates ponderously going from a) to c) because a) implied b) and b) implied c). Well, this is NOT how the brain works. The brain has basically two systems: Local Linear Logic, and Topological Logic (TL = emotion, so we will call it ES, the Emotional System). LLL and ES are entangled. For example, ES, the Emotion System, shuts off, and opens, various sub-systems in the brain. Moreover the ES directs consciousness into these subsystems. Each of these systems comes with its own logic. So there is no such a thing as “logic” per se. 

Actually modern axiomatics in logic considers that any Logic L comes with its own Universe U (in which it sits, so to speak). Varying U varies L. Thus a Logic L in the brain, sitting in subsystem S1 will be different from one sitting in subsystem S2, because they constitute different universes U. (An aspect of that was long known, as thinkers argued that various drugs, from alcohol to THC enabled them to reach various stages of consciousness…)

Thus what Plato talked about is basically irrelevant to foster wisdom. What is relevant is mental subsystems selection, how, and why. And even subsystem management. Instead, Plato explores logic, LLL. And recent events have been enlightening: LLL is mostly secondary for directing people’s behavior. 

I think, Therefore I sting. At Least, Sometimes, I Feel That Way.

I Think, Therefore I Sting. At Least, Sometimes, I Feel That Way.

By “Trump Madness” I do not mean Trump is mad, far from it: after all, he is the next president, and already causing more change than Obama did in 8 years (see Europe dumping “austerity” within 30 hours of Trump’s election). Clearly, there was a very smart method to Trump’s madness, and it was highly successful for him, as he obtained the loftiest job in the world (at least as far as conventional wisdom has it; in truth the loftiest job is mine, but never mind…). Thus “Trump madness” was anything except madness, on the part of Trump… Or his supporters (who also got what they wanted).

The real madness has been the flow of insults and indiscriminate violence on the part of “Clinton” supporters. Innocent thinkers were called “unscholarly, uncouth, anti-semitic, racist, xenophobic, judged to have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder,  and compulsive liars”. This was just a sampler of the most polite insults directed at me… by “friends”… and I am NOT a Trump supporter. Just thought to be so, because I rolled out all sorts of graphs depicting demoncracy (from inequality, to incarceration, rate, to life expectancy, to government investment, etc.).

Never mind that this was all for positions I held sometimes for decades, they are all extremely progressive, and I am just culprit of having Trump embracing them.

Insults directed at Trump were often obviously more insane than grievous. Trump was called “xenophobic” (the evidence is, the exact opposite, that is, Trump is an extreme xenoPHILE). Trump was called “anti-semitic” (his beloved and trusted son-in-law is an observant Jew). Trump was called a business failure (he grew his “organization”, now in 60 countries, from 17 million dollar to somewhere around ten billion…)

How come Clinton supporters became so abusive? OK, they were surprised. Not just because people were scared to reveal in the polls that they would vote for Trump, skewing polls (pollster Nate Silver discovered this a week or two before the vote, so he “unskewed” the polls, and revealed the chances of Trump were significant; I knew for months, just talking to people, that people were hiding their Trump preferences).

Clinton supporters did not turn abusive and insulting just because what they worry about turns out not to be what most of the country worries about. But, mostly, they hated, because it turned out that they had become strangers to themselves, and the world. Part of them rose in fury, and took over their persona, because they wanted to lash out, so great was the pain that uncomprehension caused..

The Clinton supporters had no idea how neurohormonally entangled with (their idea of) their candidate. Precisely because they were deliberately ignored the (left, leftist, liberal, progressive) case I have made for more than eight years (with all those graphs), they had turned into fanatics, Jihadists, because they had rejected (the unsavory) reality.

The mental order in the brains of these self-described progressives, supposed to address politics, had become hopelessly disconnected from reality. For example, in judging Obama, they judged his brown skin, but not the fact Obama was led by the nose by Lawrence Summers, the Harvard-Goldman Sachs surrogate who had dismantled, under Bill Clinton, the Banking Act of 1933 (“G-S”). And this, seven months before Obama reigned. And they ignored hundreds of other indicators which were flashing way more right, and corporate fascism, than any other president before.

Thus the mental subsystems Clinton supporters activated over the years made them not just unreal, but incapable of activating anything else. One of my prefered game these days is to question Clinton-Obama fanatics about Quantitative Easing. I generally draw a blank. The self-perceived) most clever ones tell me it was a good thing. So here you have so-called progressives saying that giving more than ten trillion dollars to the world richest, most corrupt people and institutions was… a good thing.

Guess what, you dummies? It was a good thing only for plutocracy, also known as demoncracy. The only person who could understand what I was talking about, and agreed with me, before meeting me, is Senior VP in a major bank.

People think first with their neurohormones. Tell me their neurohormones most active, and I can tell you where their Local Linear Logic delves. Obsessions leads and localizes reflection.

Is there experimental evidence for the preceding? Yes, there is, from… insects. The theory of consciousness is starting to rise. It involves making flies play videogames, or seeing if, like American students, they can get scared. Flies can be put in a state of “scariness” and wanting to get to a “safe space”.

Insects have a rudimentary ego, though very different from Narcissus or classical literature would have it. Insect ego appears as the ability to act and mentally concentrate on certain environmental cues thus ignoring others. “They don’t pay attention to all sensory input equally,” cognitive scientist Andrew Barron of Australia’s Macquarie University declared.

When you and I are hungry, we don’t just move towards food, as bacteria do. Our hunger creates a particular feeling (an emotion) which, in turn rearrange which subsystems are activated in our brain. Such a state is called a “subjective experience” in traditional philosophy. Do insects have the same? Obviously they do (I can say from anecdotes, and thus as a philosopher; scientists will verify and make sure).

Insects can be led into mental states which do not fit reality. So can humans (humans even do this deliberately, when they play or make jokes). Once in such a state, a particular logic, the universe of which is that precise mental state, flows. That Local Linear Logic is particular, yet it leaves (neural) connections behind. If suddenly precipitated, for real, in a situation calling for that mental state, the LLL is ready to kick in. That’s why humans play, and make jokes.

This election was a joke. So were the mental states most citizens put themselves, or let themselves been put, in the last few decades. Time to wake up.

And time to wake up to the reality that it is moods which create logic, even more than it is logic which creates moods.

Some will rise their hands in surrender, reading this. They will see logic as defeated. But, well, not at all. Quite the opposite. That mentality trumps logic means logic has to go meta, meta on mentality. One can’t just be logical, to defeat enemy logic. Enemy logic, like ours, is grounded in mentality, and emotion. The fight has to be carried there, it’s not just logical, it’s metalogical.

Patrice Ayme’

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And example of emotion underlying logic has been TDS. TRUMP Derangement Syndrome (TDS) Is MENTALLY ENLIGHTENING, so thank you, all of you, clueless pseudo-progressives, for providing us with not just entertainment, but insights on how insects and other animals think. They think, because they sting. Most people with TDS are at a loss to inform us what progress should be made of, because they lose emotional power, contemplating progress. All the emotions they have tend to underlay their dislike of Trump. I personally disliked Trump 30 years ago, and find him rather improved, nowadays… And, on the progress side, I get more emotional than in my dislike of just one individual… 

SEEING IN THE DARK

August 19, 2016

Seeing in the Dark, and from the Dark

Human beings are not cats,
They don’t see as well in the dark.
Still they do see in dark.
In the dark, new shapes appear.
I giant scree slope I know well,
Looked at in the dark, seemed to flow as a glacier,

Glistening below Mars and Jupiter,

Swooping around a mountain.

I was amazed how clear it was.
And you know what?
That may well be what it is:
A rock glacier, as they are called,
Rock flowing on top of an ice mix.

In the dark, we see things we could not see in the light.

In the dark, we see things we could not see in the light.

In the dark,
What was never seen before becomes luminous.
What was seen, but not observed,
Suddenly because completely different,
And calls for attention, description, explanation.
We can change angles on things
To bring forth different aspects,
Or we change luminosity we bring to bear.
How come?
Lowering luminosity, intensity,
Enables to forget the details,
Which fogged the mind.
Explode the light, to see the dark.

To see anew,

New ways.
Patrice Ayme’

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE SOON ALL TOO HUMAN

March 10, 2016

What Characterizes Human Intelligence?

HOW DO HUMAN & ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCES DIFFER?

We had a president Obama running amok with his “signature strikes” with half-blind drones with pixelated vision killing civilians, far from battle fields, in far-away lands. These crimes full of technological arrogance gave a bad name to Artificial Intelligence. Are we far from robots running amok? It’s clear that the Obamas of this world will have to be reined in.

The (Korean) world champion of the famous Chinese game “Go” was beaten by a Google computer: “I am very surprised because I have never thought I would lose. I didn’t know that AlphaGo would play such a perfect Go.” The champ looked a bit frazzled, but not as angry as Gary Kasparov, the world chess champion, when he was beaten by an IBM computer program, DeepBlue. Kasparov stormed out of the room.

Kasparov’s anger was not an intelligent reaction, because it was obvious, all along, that chess is not such an intelligent game that a simple machine cannot do better. If you want a really  intelligent game, try to become really ethical (vote for Sanders, not the corrupt one). Ethics? A supremely human game where my friend Obama failed miserably. He and his toys, armies of drones and plutocrats.

The Artificial Neural Networks We Build Do Not Grow Naturally. And Their Neuronal Nodes Are Simplistic Relative To Real Neurons. Real Neurons Are Environmentally Sensitive Self Building Micro Computers.

The Artificial Neural Networks We Build Do Not Grow Naturally. And Their Neuronal Nodes Are Simplistic Relative To Real Neurons. Real Neurons Are Environmentally Sensitive Self Building Micro Computers.

“Go” is 3,000 years old. A Go board is 19 by 19, a Chess board, is 8 by 8. People who love to sound scientific say: “Go has more combinations that there are atoms in the universe” (reality check: we don’t know how big the universe is, so we cannot know how many atoms are therein!)

DeepBlue used brute force to beat Kasparov. With “Go”, the breakthrough came from using neural networks. Neural networks can be made to learn. The computer used a program called “Alphago” (devised by my whipping boy, Google, which I congratulate, for once!)  “Alphago” had to use something closer to “INTUITION”, some even say, imagination.

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Does Patrice “Make Things Up”? I Hope So!

A few days ago, I pointed out to some would-be Stoics that the trite rejoinder of his admirers that Marcus Aurelius was the first emperor “with a natural born son” was a grotesque lie. I rolled out counterexamples, complete with the names of various sons…

All these sons were not named emperors-to-be, by their doting fathers. Only Marcus Aurelius did that This is of considerable import, because Marcus Aurelius is viewed as a pinnacle of wisdom by a large following (Marcus is the Muhammad of Stoicism).

Whereas I claim that, when Aurelius named his five year old son second in command in the empire (“Caesar”), contrarily to all Roman tradition, Marcus Aurelius showed he was anything but wise. Insane maniac, would-be king, violating the Republic is more like it. In particular, the two emperors just prior to Marcus Aurelius had more than three sons and grandsons, yet nominated none of them as successors when they were children. Although Marcus did. (Even the kings of Saudi Arabia don’t really do this!)

That, in turn, shows that Marcus’ followers have a serious problem evaluating reality. And sure they do.

A philosopher with a prestigious chair reacted angrily, accused me in public of “MAKING THINGS UP”. Even as a self-described “stoic” he could not take the reality of all these sons anymore.

Of course, I did not make anything up, in this particular case. I shoot vicious minds to kill, or, at least, maim. It’s best done with the truth.

But accusation got me to think. Do I make things up? That’s one beautiful thing about nature and its dangerous animals: even rattlesnakes can help me to think. Especially rattlesnakes.

The obvious glared back to me: even to find the truth, one has to make things up. First make things up (that’s imagination, which is most important, as Einstein pointed out). That’s making a theory. Or, in the deep cases, making a new neural networks (this is the part where intuition, that is emotion enters, as it is exactly what builds the network). Then checks that this new theory fits the truth (that’s the part where the network learn).

In the case of Aurelius, after revering him for a few decades, I came across facts and quotes which changed my emotional disposition relative to him. Instead of staying a psychological prisoner of his “Meditations”, I became an hostile witness, and explored facts which would demonstrate Marcus Aurelius’ viciousness. I found plenty (including the “natural son” story).

***

HUMAN HIGHEST INTELLIGENCE IS ABOUT MAKING THINGS UP:

My theory of the mind is simple: impelled by genetics and epigenetics (both in the most general sense imaginable) plus the environment, neural circuitry gets elaborated in an attempt to make mini models of pieces of nature within the brain. So mental circuits are (SORTS OF) answers to the environment.

“Sort of” is crucial: it means the neural circuitry elaborated in reaction will often NOT be (capable of being) a faithful (enough) model of the environment. That’s literally impossible, but that discrepancy is precious.

That discrepancy is the difference between what the neural circuitry impelled by the (perceived) environment and said (real) environment, is human creativity.

(I say “human”, for ease of conceptualization, but actually I should say “animal intelligence”.)

What is going on with Artificial Neural Network machines? They learn, as we do through what is called the Hebbian mechanism.

How to explain neural network learning in the simplest terms? Basically, in very rough first approximation, imagine the neural network is a canal system (made of canal which can be eroded). Suppose one wants an output: more water through a desired exit gate. Suppose one augment the flow there (say by lowering that exit gate). The canal network will adjust itself to maximize output.

However, we, very intelligent animals use a META-HEBBIAN mechanism of neuronal network genesis. In Artificial Neural Networks, the network is given, and then it learns: the neural circuit is provided presently by humans to become part of a machine.

The machine does not make it itself. But we do.

Human brains literally make things up, because we objectively, physically, make our neural networks up. We do not just tweak our networks. The networks which characterize our highest intelligence are themselves answers to the environment we are in.

To make a neural network we use emotions: it is known that emotional activity drives dendrite growth, thanks to glial activity.

These neural networks’ construction is tightly controlled from the outside, not just by the environment in the most general sense, but, essentially, by what we call culture. Culture is the set of schematics of the networks which work.

***

So, when we want to explore if machines could become as clever as human beings, we have to ask: could machines be devised to make things up? Could machines be devised which would make their own artificial neural networks?

Many of our fundamental neural networks (such as those controlling breathing) from “genetics” (in the most general sense). Those arise semi-automatically (with minimal back and forth with the environment). However, we make our own most sophisticated neural networks from the emotions which guide their architecture. Emotions are organized topologically, with NON-METRIC topology.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, and certainly worryingly, yes, we could make machines which have their own emotions which build their own neural networks. There is no reason to think we could not build such machines. They probably would have to use artificial neurons, etc. (And why not real neurons?)

The superiority of the human mind comes from making things up, or making ourselves up. Such machines would be similar.

Technologies, the special discourses, are our genus’ genius. Technologies made our genus possible, for at least three million years. Artificial, creative intelligence is more of the same, generating what we become. Not only we are becoming gods, but gods we cannot even imagine.

Imagination is when we make things up. It entails the construction of neural networks which will constitute what future knowledge is made of. This is why imagination is more important than knowledge. Because, without imagination, all the knowledge we would have would reflect neither creativity, nor even will.

Oh, by the way, should we panic? No. But it means that clueless individuals such as the ethically challenged Obama should not have the powers he had under stupid and Nazi-like technology such as drones used to kill civilians. It’s not a matter of replacing Obama by Sanders (although that would be a good idea).

We need a revolution (as Sanders say). We are going to get, in any case, a technological revolution. Intelligence is going to become a science.

But that intelligence revolution has to be about direct democracy fed by the best information possible, that is, total transparency, the exact opposite of the world the malefactor manufacturer Apple is proposing to us. And Obama in all this? He has only a few months to atone for the crimes he committed with the wanton usage of high tech he made. But first, he would have to realize how egregious they were.

This goes well beyond drones. Having the correct ethics will be fundamental for the safe and effective deployment of all too human artificial intelligence.

Patrice Ayme’

Hard Wired? Not So fast!

March 3, 2016

Swallowing is self-taught. Anything else a bit more sophisticated is taught by others. We are cultural animals. Discuss.

Massimo Pigliucci, a (Roman!) biology PhD cum philosophy PhD teaching from an elevated chair in New York, objected to my tweeting aphorism above: “That is contradicted by a number of well established studies in developmental psychology, as well as by research on other primates.”

OK, Massimo, relax, I was a bit quick, thus simplistic in my formulation. Any discourse is incomplete, I was pointing at a direction. Indeed, I am a great advocate of ethology. Ethology, the experimental study of behavior, is an experimental field. That means its fundamental architecture is made of experiments.

Nicotinoid Insecticides Don't Kill Bees Directly, But Make Them Neurologically Dysfunctional Enough To Die From It

Nicotinoid Insecticides Don’t Kill Bees Directly, But Make Them Neurologically Dysfunctional Enough To Die From It

[All scientific fields are like gravity, they are experimentally driven. We basically know, experimentally speaking, not much more than what Newton knew already, as far as gravity is concerned (with the further twist of gravity being a field at speed c, like electromagnetism, hence, waves, etc.). A true revolution will happen in gravity the day we find something completely unexpected (the fact that gravity at this point is also equivalent to a space curvature theory is a triviality consecutive to Bernhard Riemann’s deep differential manifold theory). Some say we already found something unexpected, the phenomenon known as “Dark Matter”]

Ethology is also experiment driven. And our experiments are not as sophisticated as they soon will be. Differently from gravity, the progress in ethology is going to be quick, and very deep.

Ethology discovered already what writers of fables for children, and “primitive” “savages” hunting for survival, have long known: advanced animals care, have a sense of justice, are observant, loving, etc. More generally, advanced animals,, and others, not even very advanced are endowed with many other sophisticated behaviors we used to attribute to humans exclusively, etc.

Ethology has now gone further: ethologists also discovered that sophisticated, virtuous human-like “instincts” are not universal, even in a species which exhibit them: exploiters and freaks are not just a human phenomenon. In prides of lionesses, the same particular individuals tend to do all the work. Worse: lionesses have been observed having no maternal “””instinct”””. Other, experienced and caring lionesses had to intervene.

So animals have been observed to have altruistic behaviors, or behaviors making group life possible. (It’s quite a bit a chicken and egg situation: without apparently “hard wired” behavior, group life is impossible; the “group” could be just mother and child, such as a leopard and her kitten, or a mother orangutan and her child…)

However, ethology has not yet determined systematically how much is learned from others, and from the environment.

Hence the role of other animals, and how much is self taught is not clear at this point (insects such as wasps and bees “think” at least seven times faster than humans, so they can learn fast, and it looks like “instinct” to us!). In either case, when there is learning, there is no “hard wiring”. Or more exactly much of the “hard wiring” comes from the neurological life of the individual, as it does in any… creator. The creature being created by itself as creator of itself. God inside.

Learning is essential for survival of bees. Honey bees make repeat visits only if said plant provides enough reward. A single forager will make visits to that type of flower for most of the day, unless the plants stop producing nectar or weather gets adverse. Honey bees practice associative learning, and standard classical conditioning, which is the same in honey bees as it is in the vertebrates.

In other words, if even insects learn much more than a few tricks, as I have long suspected, we don’t know what “instincts” are really made of. This will have to be determined by further, much more refined ethological studies (differently from gravity, where it’s not clear what new experiments to do, and how to get results, although LIGO and VIRGO may well bring breakthroughs… In ethology, new experiments are just matter of financing, considering the progress of micro-electronics).

A famous example of what I am talking about is Lorentz’s geese (he got the Nobel for that). Young geese were imprinted on Konrad being their mom, and thereafter followed him everywhere, at some point of their development.

Why can’t that happen for all behaviors, and all species with advanced brains? In other words, could not just all our behaviors come, to a great extent, from some sort of imprinting?

Hey, one can self-imprint. When I want to eat more correctly, I starve myself a bit, and then eat the correct foods (say apples, carrots, tofu). Then I repeat a few times. Then I long for apples, carrots, tofu…

So south American monkeys have a sense of justice. But that does not mean that sense of justice is “hard-wired”. It may just have been taught. By others. Other monkeys. Or it may even be a sort of natural monkey science. Indeed natural interactions with others can be a teaching experience (or a succession of experiences, until a theory arises)…

But that does not mean that sense of justice is “hard wired”. It may just have been taught. By others. Other monkeys. Or it may even be a sort of natural monkey science. Indeed natural interactions with others can be a teaching experience (or a succession of experiences, until a theory arises)…

Standing up, and being able to run, is crucial to the survival of herbivores. A casual look at how a new born herbivore stands up shows that it learns to do so in a few minutes. Some moves are learned in a few seconds. However, today’s most sophisticated programmers could not write such a program. Nor does the brain of a small antelope contain a large computer loaded with such a software. Thus the truth: the antelope learns to stand up. That means it hard wires itself through the learning process. The environment in the most general sense imprints it with the appropriate circuitry.

Ethology will enlighten neurology, and conversely. Both fields are just getting started.

Patrice Ayme’