Monday, April 23, 2007

How Past Had Seen The Future Of AI (Artificial Intelligence)

This stuff is kind of old but still is really interesting.
I read the whole text in just 40 minutes . Yes it was that interesting.
Hope you will like it too .

===== CAN MACHINES BE CREATIVE? =====
We naturally admire our Einsteins and Beethovens, and wonder if
computers ever could create such wondrous theories or symphonies. Most
people think that creativity requires some special, magical "gift" that
simply cannot be explained. If so, then no computer could create - since
anything machines can do (most people think can be explained.

To see what's wrong with that, we must avoid one naive trap. We mustn't
only look at works our culture views as very great, until we first get good
ideas about how ordinary people do ordinary things. We can't expect to
guess, right off, how great composers write great symphonies. I don't
believe that there's much difference between ordinary thought and
highly creative thought. I don't blame anyone for not being able to do
everything the most creative people do. I don't blame them for not being
able to explain it, either. I do object to the idea that, just because we can't
explain it now, then no one ever could imagine how creativity works.

We shouldn't intimidate ourselves by our admiration of our Beethovens
and Einsteins. Instead, we ought to be annoyed by our ignorance of how
we get ideas - and not just our "creative" ones. Were so accustomed to the
marvels of the unusual that we forget how little we know about the
marvels of ordinary thinking. Perhaps our superstitions about creativity
serve some other needs, such as supplying us with heroes with such
special qualities that, somehow, our deficiencies seem more excusable.

Do outstanding minds differ from ordinary minds in any special way? I
don't believe that there is anything basically different in a genius, except
for having an unusual combination of abilities, none very special by
itself. There must be some intense concern with some subject, but that's
common enough. There also must be great proficiency in that subject;
this, too, is not so rare; we call it craftsmanship. There has to be enough
self-confidence to stand against the scorn of peers; alone, we call that
stubbornness. And certainly, there must be common sense. As I see it, any
ordinary person who can understand an ordinary conversation has
already in his head most of what our heroes have. So, why can't
"ordinary, common sense" - when better balanced and more fiercely
motivated - make anyone a genius,

So still we have to ask, why doesn't everyone acquire such a combination?
First, of course, it sometimes just the accident of finding a novel way to
look at things. But, then, there may be certain kinds of difference-in-
degree. One is in how such people learn to manage what they learn:
beneath the surface of their mastery, creative people must have
unconscious administrative skills that knit the many things they know
together. The other difference is in why some people learn so many more
and better skills. A good composer masters many skills of phrase and
theme - but so does anyone who talks coherently.

Why do some people learn so much so well? The simplest hypothesis is
that they've come across some better ways to learn! Perhaps such "gifts"
are little more than tricks of "higher-order" expertise. Just as one child
learns to re-arrange its building-blocks in clever ways, another child
might learn to play, inside its head, at Fe-arranging how it learns!

Our cultures don't encourage us to think much about learning. Instead
we regard it as something that just happens to us. But learning must itself
consist of sets of skills we grow ourselves; we start with only some of them
and and slowly grow the rest. Why don't more people keep on learning
more and better learning skills? Because it's not rewarded right away, its
payoff has a long delay. When children play with pails and sand, they're
usually concerned with goals like filling pails with sand. But once a child
concerns itself instead with how to better learn, then that might lead to
exponential learning growth! Each better way to learn to learn would lead
to better ways to learn - and this could magnify itself into an awesome,
qualitative change. Thus, first-rank "creativity" could be just the
consequence of little childhood accidents.

So why is genius so rare, if each has almost all it takes? Perhaps because
our evolution works with mindless disrespect for individuals. I'm sure no
culture could survive, where everyone finds different ways to think. If
so, how sad, for that means genes for genius would need, instead of
nurturing, a frequent weeding out.

===== ARE HUMANS SELF-AWARE? =====
Most people assume that computers can't be conscious, or self-aware; at
best they can only simulate the appearance of this. Of course, this
assumes that we, as humans, are self-aware. But are we? I think not. I
know that sounds ridiculous, so let me explain.

If by awareness we mean knowing what is in our minds, then, as every
clinical psychologist knows, people are only very slightly self-aware, and
most of what they think about themselves is guess-work. We seem to build
up networks of theories about what is in our minds, and we mistake these
apparent visions for what's really going on. To put it bluntly, most of
what our "consciousness" reveals to us is just "made up". Now, I don't
mean that we're not aware of sounds and sights, or even of some parts of
thoughts. I'm only saying that we're not aware of much of what goes on
inside our minds.

When people talk, the physics is quite clear: our voices shake the air; this
makes your ear-drums move -- and then computers in your head convert
those waves into constituents of words. These somehow then turn into
strings of symbols representing words, so now there's somewhere in your
head that "represents" a sentence. What happens next?

When light excites your retinas, this causes events in your brain that
correspond to texture, edges, color patches, and the like. Then these, in
turn, are somehow fused to "represent" a shape or outline of a thing.
What happens then?

We all comprehend these simple ideas. But there remains a hard problem,
still. What entity or mechanism carries on from there? We're used to
saying simply, that's the "self". What's wrong with that idea? Our standard
concept of the self is that deep inside each mind resides a special, central
"self" that does the real mental work for us, a little person deep down
there to hear and see and understand what's going on. Call this the
"Single Agent" theory. It isn't hard to see why every culture gets attached
to this idea. No matter how ridiculous it may seem, scientifically, it
underlies all principles of law, work, and morality. Without it, all our
canons of responsibility would fall, of blame or virtue, right or wrong.
What use would solving problems be, without that myth; how could we
have societies at all?

The trouble is, we cannot build good theories of the mind that way. In
every field, as Scientists we're always forced to recognize that what we
see as single things - like rocks or clouds, or even minds - must sometimes
be described as made of other kinds of things. We'll have to understand
that Self, itself, is not a single thing.

For the full text check out : http://web.media.mit.edu/~minsky/papers/ComputersCantThink.txt
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