Posts Tagged ‘Artificial Intelligence’

To state that the human brain has capabilities that are, in some respects, far superior to those of all other known objects in the cosmos would be uncontroversial. The brain is the only kind of object capable of understanding that the cosmos is even there, or why there are infinitely many prime numbers, or that apples fall because of the curvature of space-time, or that obeying its own inborn instincts can be morally wrong, or that it itself exists. Nor are its unique abilities confined to such cerebral matters. The cold, physical fact is that it is the only kind of object that can propel itself into space and back without harm, or predict and prevent a meteor strike on itself, or cool objects to a billionth of a degree above absolute zero, or detect others of its kind across galactic distances.

But no brain on Earth is yet close to knowing what brains do in order to achieve any of that functionality. The enterprise of achieving it artificially – the field of “artificial general intelligence” or AGI – has made no progress whatever during the entire six decades of its existence.

Despite this long record of failure, AGI must be possible. That is because of a deep property of the laws of physics, namely the universality of computation. It entails that everything that the laws of physics require physical objects to do can, in principle, be emulated in arbitrarily fine detail by some program on a general-purpose computer, provided it is given enough time and memory.

So why has the field not progressed? In my view it is because, as an unknown sage once remarked, “it ain’t what we don’t know that causes trouble, it’s what we know that just ain’t so.” I cannot think of any other significant field of knowledge where the prevailing wisdom, not only in society at large but among experts, is so beset with entrenched, overlapping, fundamental errors. Yet it has also been one of the most self-confident fields in prophesying that it will soon achieve the ultimate breakthrough.

via Philosophy will be the key that unlocks artificial intelligence | David Deutsch | Science | guardian.co.uk.


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Tiny micro robots called claytronic atoms, or ‘catoms’, which interact with each other are being worked on at Intel Research and at Carnegie Mellon. They behave like atoms in the sense that they become the basic building blocks of the objects they are programmed to form.

Imagine needing only a few rooms in a house because the furniture morphs; imagine having a watch that, when you lay it down, becomes a toothbrush and then, when you hold it in the middle, it becomes a fork.

via Shape-Shifting Robots: Forget Nanotech; Think Claytronics.

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We’ve been throwing the smartest people on the planet at the problem of artificial intelligence since the 1960s, and all we have to show for it is the Roomba vacuum cleaner.


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