Thursday, June 17, 2010

The State of the Artificial

In a sense, artificial intelligence boils down to a set of IFs matched to a set of THENs, with a response rule. If the user types or (eventually, a few years from now maybe) speaks x, the program responds with y. The IFs are simply a collected inventory of remarks to build the bot's mind, which will eventually function generatively as well as merely responding with straightforward statements, questions, and inferences. And this will eventually be done in a way that is indistinguishable from a human. . . .

I've been monitoring new voices as they come out, but that Mike16 is awfully close to being indistinguishable from a real human person speaking. Bandwidth is the problem for chatting in voice, understanding natural language is the biggest programming problem, but speaking it back to the user is getting very good.

  An artificial intelligence program can include self-coding, analysis of universals, and metatheoretic analysis, but so far this type of thing is in its infancy, basically limited to strings of keywords, although that itself can be quite effective. I'm working on a theistic philosophy bot, but the basics can be quite tedious since you have to deal with the entire set of more realistically possible first and second moves in conversations. For example, think of a bot asking the user "Does God exist?" or "Do you believe in God?" You first have to think of all the usual or typical responses, and then provide responses for each one. But then comes the second user response to your first response, so you have to build secondary responses to those, etc. For a stunning example of what happened when a real person conversed with one of the first chatterbots in the mid-60s, check out The potential for other subject matter (such as belief in God) is obvious. Weizenbaum's own assistant, who worked on the project for several years, once got into a conversation with this same simple Eliza program---and demanded that everyone leave the room so that she could be alone with the program.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

God and Other Unquestioned Authorities

The ultimacy and decisiveness of reason is itself just as vulnerable as the existence of God. That one ought to “justify” one’s thought is to me just another religious-like commandment. If someone does not buy into the god-level authority of reason, especially pertaining to universal and ultimate domains of predication themselves, there is no possible logically prior inferential warrant.

Only assuming logic and reason makes logical priority possible and necessary, so there is nothing possibly logically prior, in the sense of more inferentially basic, if logic itself is questioned. One can end up *appealling* to some kind of pragmatics of intellectuality, but that’s not a logical appeal unless it is simply begging the question all over again: namely, whether logic or general reason have any god-like authority over one’s thinking, and this is just as questionable in any other proposed authority, hardly limited to the God belief.

These points and any other possible points that I am making in this writing are themselves subject to the same problems, since they too depend on a wholesale acceptance of some core of a logical/rational ideal, nonlocal obligation relations between rational standards and each mind, the preferential value of inquiry, reason, etc.

But at that level what can be argued against them, and what need is there to justify them?

Friday, June 04, 2010

Wasn't There

Now all the disconnected things seems to hook up. That's the funny thing about going away, knowing the date you're gonna die. It's like pulling away from the maze. While you're in the maze you go through willy-nilly, turning where you think you have to turn,  banging into dead ends, one thing after another. But get some distance on it, and all those twists and turns are the shape of your life. It's hard to explain. But seeing it whole gives you some peace. I'm sorry for the pain I caused other people.

But I don't regret anything. Not a thing. I used to. I used to regret doing the mundane work I did for a living.

I don't know where I'm being taken. I don't know what waits for me, beyond the earth and sky. But I'm not afraid to go. Maybe the things I don't understand will be clearer there, like when a fog blows away.

Maybe she will be there.

And maybe there I can tell her all those things they don't have words for here.

Adapted from the film The Man Who Wasn't There