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Old 09-22-2008, 04:34 PM   #46
Steven Lyle Jordan
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Agreed, but why can't this be considered as a very sophisticated processong "device"? Altough unlilke most devices we build nowadays? How I see this, is the processing way you described is just much more random driven than one we would like to see a computer work with said data.
Sure, a brain can be called a "processing device." But its similarity to a machine processor ends there. Just as 2-dimensions are vaguely similar to but so incredibly limited in comparison to 3-dimensions, so the ability to count numbers that is the basis for all machine intelligence is vaguely similar to, but incredibly limited in comparison to, the way the human brain operates. In fact, calling a brain a "processor" at all is a lot like calling the International Space Station a "cave."

A brain and a machine can no more be directly compared to each other than a wheel and a wing can be directly compared to each other. Although both can do much the same tasks, they go about it in markedly different ways.
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Old 09-22-2008, 04:46 PM   #47
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Sure, a brain can be called a "processing device." But its similarity to a machine processor ends there. Just as 2-dimensions are vaguely similar to but so incredibly limited in comparison to 3-dimensions, so the ability to count numbers that is the basis for all machine intelligence is vaguely similar to, but incredibly limited in comparison to, the way the human brain operates. In fact, calling a brain a "processor" at all is a lot like calling the International Space Station a "cave."

A brain and a machine can no more be directly compared to each other than a wheel and a wing can be directly compared to each other. Although both can do much the same tasks, they go about it in markedly different ways.
So let me rephrase:

Idea (Output) = Input In + personal individual history + social surrondings + a bit of random luck + work in.

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Old 09-22-2008, 05:13 PM   #48
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Sure, a brain can be called a "processing device." But its similarity to a machine processor ends there. Just as 2-dimensions are vaguely similar to but so incredibly limited in comparison to 3-dimensions, so the ability to count numbers that is the basis for all machine intelligence is vaguely similar to, but incredibly limited in comparison to, the way the human brain operates. In fact, calling a brain a "processor" at all is a lot like calling the International Space Station a "cave."

A brain and a machine can no more be directly compared to each other than a wheel and a wing can be directly compared to each other. Although both can do much the same tasks, they go about it in markedly different ways.
So using ordinary processors to implement some machine learning to solve a problem what is then the markedly different way that works compared to how the brain works?

The basic unit in the brain also just do something extremely simple like comparing things.
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Old 09-22-2008, 06:43 PM   #49
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So using ordinary processors to implement some machine learning to solve a problem what is then the markedly different way that works compared to how the brain works?

The basic unit in the brain also just do something extremely simple like comparing things.
The brain uses associative content addressable look up which a computer has never been able to duplicate. A brain has no ALU at all. Mathematics in the brain is done with table look up. Remember all the tables you had to learn as a child. The computer depends heavily on the ALU (arithmetic logic unit) portion for all decision making. While externally a computer seems to be doing things that a human does the process is totally different.

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Old 09-22-2008, 07:27 PM   #50
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The brain uses associative content addressable look up which a computer has never been able to duplicate. A brain has no ALU at all. Mathematics in the brain is done with table look up. Remember all the tables you had to learn as a child. The computer depends heavily on the ALU (arithmetic logic unit) portion for all decision making. While externally a computer seems to be doing things that a human does the process is totally different.

Dale
I hope we don't stray too much off topic here, but I think this failure is not something inherently in "electronic" way of processing, as compared to the hybrid of biologic/chemical/electric way the brain works.

Its my critique at the electronic computing sciences and economy. At the core there has been no development for decades for now. Von Neumann invented the Von Neumann machines 62 years ago, and today Computers still are Von Neumann machines, without changes at the core archticture. The Van Neuman machines got faster, a lot faster, they got more random access memory (a concept of Von Neumann machine), they were optimized with supreme-mega-fast-pipethrough-out-of-order-caching-computer-guessing, or how this extra optimize techs are all called of modern cpus, but the basic idea remained so much the same. Now it seems we are hitting a physicial barrier (who knows if it can be transgressed one day, but currently somwhere between 3-4 GHz seems to be a pretty hard barrier not to transgress at linear computing). What does industry and science come up with? Not that we think of inhertintly different ways of computing things in a parallel with electronics.. Now we are putting 2 Von Neuman machines into one chip. Then 4, now 8. IMHO its time to start looking into alternative concepts of computing, that are just so totally different than we are used what computers are and how they work. Can you for example imagine a computer that has no main memory at all? Where all its internal memory would be small calculating logical as well? A computer where a programm would not be transgressed by one or several linear processes going down step by step? Where part of the "active memory" gets actived as needed to fullfill a given task? Its certainly hard to imagine, and even if we start to get into this sort of computing now, it will take sure considerable time to have computers built that way, that can equally well assist us with tasks we want computers to do for us today. For one things we would also have to through all the modern OSes away (Windows, Linux, Mac) as they all are also fundamentally built on the Von Neumann electronic computing design....

However the argument that started this computer debatte of was:

Out of a human does not come out, what you don't put at some point in.

And I do stay by that. I don't want to take him the free will, and I don't say he cannot come up with insights of a higher magnitute as output that was given him as input, as people can "sort" and things to "imagine" new stuff. But a guy coming up with an idea, without a serious array of inputs that give a nice track to that idea, its not coming out. Its just as unlikely as someone to suddendly start speaking chinese who did never hear chinese / read it or learned it.

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Old 09-22-2008, 07:46 PM   #51
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The brain uses associat
ive content addressable look up which a computer has never been able to duplicate. A brain has no ALU at all. Mathematics in the brain is done with table look up. Remember all the tables you had to learn as a child. The computer depends heavily on the ALU (arithmetic logic unit) portion for all decision making. While externally a computer seems to be doing things that a human does the process is totally different.

There are a lot of implementations of associative lookup so I really do not know what you mean by your claim.

I took a genetical algorithm (or machine learning algorithm) as an example. In what way is this different from how the brain works. The method is inspired by how the brain works.

Also on some abstraction level and for some tasks the brain works very like a traditional computer program. But the question was if an ordinary processor could be used to implement the functionality of the brain (Weak AI) and most AI researcher think this is unproblematic. And I have really not seen any arguments in this thread for why it should not be possible.
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Old 09-23-2008, 09:08 AM   #52
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I took a genetical algorithm (or machine learning algorithm) as an example. In what way is this different from how the brain works. The method is inspired by how the brain works.
Since you specified an algorithm: The fact that a computer can give you the answer to any mathematical algorithm in milliseconds, while a human brain will take thousands, hundreds of thousands, or multiple-millions more time to do the same task, should give you a clue to how differently the two things are. A processor processes... specifically, numbers. In essence, that's all it does. If you can't reduce a question to numbers, you can't give it to a processor, because it does not know what to do with it.

A human brain does not process numbers in that way... in fact, it can process numbers, but mostly it extrapolates from memorized data (like the multiplication tables) and unique experience... the process called "thinking." And beyond that, the brain is capable of processing non-numerical information that a computer would just choke on. (Not all data can be reduced to numbers.)

This is why Axel's computers have hit the wall... the ability to crunch numbers is effectively maxed out, and any "advances" are gained only by throwing more capacity, more energy, or faster components at it. In order to progress to the next level, computers need a completely different way to function, a method as far beyond number-crunching as... well, the human brain.

It's this ability beyond mere number-crunching that allows a human brain to output something that was not input... that is the real power of the brain above the computer, which is limited to outputting only variations of what was input. (Axel, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that.)

There's a reason scientists continue to dissect and study the brain, and why they are still largely in the dark about exactly how it functions. They have tried using computer analogies, and they have all fallen far short of describing how the brain works. That is because the mechanism and method of brain functioning, compared to processors, is like comparing apples to car keys.

We're a long way from the "next generation" of computers, because we have to figure out how the brain works first... and we're still a long way from doing that.
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Old 09-23-2008, 09:25 AM   #53
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It's this ability beyond mere number-crunching that allows a human brain to output something that was not input... that is the real power of the brain above the computer, which is limited to outputting only variations of what was input.
Either the human brain is a magic black box or it isn't. You seem to fall on the magic black box side. Just because something wasn't input right now doesn't mean the brain can't correlate/derive inspiration from some prior input/sets of input or extrapolate from them (all tasks that computers right now don't excel at by the way). That's the whole problem - our brains are the result of a number of evolutionary hacks built upon hacks with self-awareness added somewhere at a late stage, and a lot of the internal workings happen below the surface of consciousness. But I don't see a reason to presume a magic black box that does things that are not in any way related to prior input.
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Old 09-23-2008, 09:54 AM   #54
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It's this ability beyond mere number-crunching that allows a human brain to output something that was not input... that is the real power of the brain above the computer, which is limited to outputting only variations of what was input. (Axel, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that.)
What do you think a neuron does? Why can you not simulate the behaviour of a neuron using a traditional computer?

And if you have randomness in a computer program what it outputs is not decided by the input.

I agree with acidzebra that you seem to ascribe magick or something supernatural to the human brain. A lot of people cannot accept that the human brains works on the same level as a computer and therefore they need something to make humans superior.
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Old 09-23-2008, 10:52 AM   #55
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What do you think a neuron does? Why can you not simulate the behaviour of a neuron using a traditional computer?

And if you have randomness in a computer program what it outputs is not decided by the input.

I agree with acidzebra that you seem to ascribe magick or something supernatural to the human brain. A lot of people cannot accept that the human brains works on the same level as a computer and therefore they need something to make humans superior.
And a lot of people cannot accept that a human brain is not like a computer. These starting assumptions flavor our ideas but if you place them aside you will find a lot of things that are similar and a lot of things that are different.

For example I have already mentioned that an ALU is not present in the human brain and this is basic to how a computer works with numbers and performs logic. A brain works differently in this respect. Memory is also different as I pointed out even though we have used some software to attempt to emulate some features.

There are similarities of course. For example the left brain/right brain is fairly similar to modern computers that now have graphics processors (right brain) and the logic computer (left brain). We also have cache memories for rapid access similar to the short term memory in the brain. And like cache the short term memory has limits which is the main reason we sleep as long as we do. The body can physically get by a 3 or 4 hours sleep but the mind needs more. What is happening while we sleep is the left brain is busy indexing and categorizing the data that came in for the day and being stored in the short term memory. This work takes all night. During this time the right brain is pretty much on its own and facilitates and supports dreaming. The right brain has only a short term memory and without the left brains work we forget our dreams very rapidly.

If we overload the short term memory we become sleep deprived and may actually lose some of the data or not categorize it completely. Partially indexed data can be corrected later but may result in our inability to remember things unless it is triggered through a particular path. This behavior is significantly different from how a computer works whose behavior is more deterministic.

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Old 09-23-2008, 11:09 AM   #56
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This behavior is significantly different from how a computer works whose behavior is more deterministic.
"more deterministic"? Something is either deterministic or it isn't. Is the human brain working in a deterministic fashion? I think yes, this seems to be a deterministic universe on the macro scale, our brains and even neurons firing are macro-scale structures. Complexity does not mean it ultimately isn't deterministic in nature.

Computers 'evolved' from the von Neumann architecture, which is based on sequential processing and execution of explicit instructions. On the other hand, the origins of artificial neural networks are based on efforts to model information processing in biological systems, which may rely largely on parallel processing as well as implicit instructions based on recognition of patterns of 'sensory' input from external sources. In other words, at its very heart a neural network is a complex statistical processor (as opposed to being tasked to sequentially process and execute) which might be a good way to model how humans go about things internally.

We'll see where it goes, perhaps neural nets will unlock some of the answers, and perhaps we'll need to look elsewhere. I'm on the hard determinist side. No magic dust in the human brain.

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Old 09-23-2008, 12:13 PM   #57
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I agree with acidzebra that you seem to ascribe magick or something supernatural to the human brain.
You and Acid are wrong. I am not calling it magic... I am saying the design and function of the brain is fundamentally different from the design and function of a computer processor, and that centuries of scientists have as yet not managed to figure out the exact workings of the brain (and since scientists who have been working on these concepts for quite some time haven't figured it out yet, I challenge whether either of you know the workings of the brain better than they do).

If you want to call a lack of knowledge "magic," in accordance to Clarke's Theorem, that's up to you. I call it "as-yet-undiscovered knowledge."
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Old 09-23-2008, 12:29 PM   #58
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You and Acid are wrong. I am not calling it magic... I am saying the design and function of the brain is fundamentally different from the design and function of a computer processor, and that centuries of scientists have as yet not managed to figure out the exact workings of the brain (and since scientists who have been working on these concepts for quite some time haven't figured it out yet, I challenge whether either of you know the workings of the brain better than they do).

If you want to call a lack of knowledge "magic," in accordance to Clarke's Theorem, that's up to you. I call it "as-yet-undiscovered knowledge."
No Steve, you are wrong. What we refer to with "magic" is your claim that a human brain has "ability beyond mere number-crunching that allows a human brain to output something that was not input" - we are not referring to not completely understanding the depths and workings of the human mind. Although you might be surprised at the advances in neuroscience - I frequently am.

Of course the design of the brain is different from a processor. So is an artificial neural net. But we can EMULATE a neural net on a traditional processor. Barring magic pixie dust, there is no good reason why we could not emulate a human brain in the same way, eventually.

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Old 09-23-2008, 02:56 PM   #59
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No Steve, you are wrong. What we refer to with "magic" is your claim that a human brain has "ability beyond mere number-crunching that allows a human brain to output something that was not input" - we are not referring to not completely understanding the depths and workings of the human mind. Although you might be surprised at the advances in neuroscience - I frequently am.

Of course the design of the brain is different from a processor. So is an artificial neural net. But we can EMULATE a neural net on a traditional processor. Barring magic pixie dust, there is no good reason why we could not emulate a human brain in the same way, eventually.
Well, if (by your statement) you think the "ability beyond mere number-crunching that allows a human brain to output something that was not input" would be magic, that's fine... I do not. And the fact that a processor can EMULATE a biological function is not nearly the same as saying both functions work the same way... they do not. We may understand the human brain well enough in the future to know exactly how it does the things it does, but we are not there now.

Weren't we talking about idea ownership, anyway?
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Old 09-23-2008, 03:04 PM   #60
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You and Acid are wrong. I am not calling it magic... I am saying the design and function of the brain is fundamentally different from the design and function of a computer processor, and that centuries of scientists have as yet not managed to figure out the exact workings of the brain (and since scientists who have been working on these concepts for quite some time haven't figured it out yet, I challenge whether either of you know the workings of the brain better than they do).

If you want to call a lack of knowledge "magic," in accordance to Clarke's Theorem, that's up to you. I call it "as-yet-undiscovered knowledge."
I'm with acidzebra on this. Okay I accept human brains are working fundamentally different than computers we konw. I accept that we don't know in detail how the brain works. However I donot accept that in the its also a "biochemicelectrical device" that gets input from our senses, and makes output through our muscles, altough having a strong history and through its chaotic nature a quite undeterminable behaviour. But anything going out is in some way a result of the input given throughout the lifetime into this "device".

The only other option IMHO you can go is to say, okay the output does not come from the input, but from another ethernal plane. From souls, from specific spiritual type that is special to the human as human, and cannot be duplicated by any other electronic. This is an opinion I don't share, but I accept as religious freedom. But it doesn't seem this is the option you went for either.

Just because we don't understand exactly how the brain works, I don't know where you say output should come from if not from input, and not from an ethernal out-of-this-world being like the soul.

Last edited by axel77; 09-23-2008 at 03:06 PM.
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