What is Artificial Intelligence?

Use this forum to discuss the philosophy of science. Philosophy of science deals with the assumptions, foundations, and implications of science.
Post Reply
Steve3007
Posts: 5393
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Eratosthenes
Location: UK

Re: What is Artificial Intelligence?

Post by Steve3007 » September 30th, 2017, 12:59 pm

The Truth is not something to know, instead, it is something to exist in.
Is it? I thought that was called "the world" or "the universe" or something.

-- Updated Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:04 pm to add the following --

So if "truth" actually means "world", what word are we going to use for the thing that Jack Nicholson says Tom Cruise can't handle?

User avatar
Atreyu
Posts: 1724
Joined: June 17th, 2014, 3:11 am
Favorite Philosopher: P.D. Ouspensky
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: What is Artificial Intelligence?

Post by Atreyu » October 1st, 2017, 3:56 am

My view is that the laws of physics and mathematics (at least some of them) are a step toward understanding the world more objectively, and that they reflect certain real properties of the Universe. The laws themselves are not going to change. What you're talking about is science finding new laws, or being able to more precisely elucidate and elaborate on already known laws.

Take the law of gravity, for example. It actually explains the behavior of large bodies in the Universe. It's "correct". The laws of gravity are not going to change. The fact that Einstein's theory of relativity has been shown to be more exact and correct than Galileo's explanation of gravity in no way means the laws of gravity have changed. It simply means that now we see them in a different light. They still apply, and always will, it's just that now we have even more data and know that they cannot explain things exactly.

But what does all this have to do with artificial intelligence? I think we got off topic....

Synthesis
Posts: 189
Joined: July 15th, 2017, 12:54 pm

Re: What is Artificial Intelligence?

Post by Synthesis » October 2nd, 2017, 4:27 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
The Truth is not something to know, instead, it is something to exist in.
Is it? I thought that was called "the world" or "the universe" or something.

-- Updated Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:04 pm to add the following --

So if "truth" actually means "world", what word are we going to use for the thing that Jack Nicholson says Tom Cruise can't handle?
There are two truths, "truth," with the conventional meaning, and "Truth," in the absolute sense, meaning Reality.

-- Updated October 2nd, 2017, 4:33 pm to add the following --
Atreyu wrote:My view is that the laws of physics and mathematics (at least some of them) are a step toward understanding the world more objectively, and that they reflect certain real properties of the Universe. The laws themselves are not going to change. What you're talking about is science finding new laws, or being able to more precisely elucidate and elaborate on already known laws.

Take the law of gravity, for example. It actually explains the behavior of large bodies in the Universe. It's "correct". The laws of gravity are not going to change. The fact that Einstein's theory of relativity has been shown to be more exact and correct than Galileo's explanation of gravity in no way means the laws of gravity have changed. It simply means that now we see them in a different light. They still apply, and always will, it's just that now we have even more data and know that they cannot explain things exactly.

But what does all this have to do with artificial intelligence? I think we got off topic....
Gravity only explains the behavior of the physical Universe if you make a great deal of assumptions. Dispose of such fabrications, and gravity [like all things] falls apart.

Nobody will ever truly understand anything. It's kind of reassuring, no?

User avatar
Atreyu
Posts: 1724
Joined: June 17th, 2014, 3:11 am
Favorite Philosopher: P.D. Ouspensky
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: What is Artificial Intelligence?

Post by Atreyu » October 2nd, 2017, 7:25 pm

Synthesis wrote:Gravity only explains the behavior of the physical Universe if you make a great deal of assumptions. Dispose of such fabrications, and gravity [like all things] falls apart.
The laws of gravity are good enough to predict where bodies will be at a given time with a great degree of accuracy.

My original point was simply that the laws of the Universe don't change over time. It's our understanding of them which changes over time.

Synthesis
Posts: 189
Joined: July 15th, 2017, 12:54 pm

Re: What is Artificial Intelligence?

Post by Synthesis » October 3rd, 2017, 11:57 am

Atreyu wrote:
Synthesis wrote:Gravity only explains the behavior of the physical Universe if you make a great deal of assumptions. Dispose of such fabrications, and gravity [like all things] falls apart.
My original point was simply that the laws of the Universe don't change over time. It's our understanding of them which changes over time.
And how would you possible know that the laws of the Universe do not change [over time]?

User avatar
Atreyu
Posts: 1724
Joined: June 17th, 2014, 3:11 am
Favorite Philosopher: P.D. Ouspensky
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: What is Artificial Intelligence?

Post by Atreyu » October 3rd, 2017, 8:53 pm

Synthesis wrote:
Atreyu wrote: (Nested quote removed.)


My original point was simply that the laws of the Universe don't change over time. It's our understanding of them which changes over time.
And how would you possible know that the laws of the Universe do not change [over time]?
Why would they?

Give me an example of one of them changing.

Synthesis
Posts: 189
Joined: July 15th, 2017, 12:54 pm

Re: What is Artificial Intelligence?

Post by Synthesis » October 4th, 2017, 12:58 pm

Atreyu wrote:
Synthesis wrote: (Nested quote removed.)

And how would you possible know that the laws of the Universe do not change [over time]?
Why would they?

Give me an example of one of them changing.
Can you give me an example of something that does not change [besides gravity]?

All things knowable change. It is the nature of the intellectual process.

Besides, gravity doesn't exist in the first place. Somebody just made it up [like everything else].

User avatar
Atreyu
Posts: 1724
Joined: June 17th, 2014, 3:11 am
Favorite Philosopher: P.D. Ouspensky
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: What is Artificial Intelligence?

Post by Atreyu » October 4th, 2017, 8:07 pm

Synthesis wrote: Can you give me an example of something that does not change [besides gravity]?
None of the laws of physics change. That's why I asked you for an example, so I could try and find out exactly what you mean. Interesting that, rather than provide one, you ask me.
Synthesis wrote: All things knowable change. It is the nature of the intellectual process.
Again, how we understand various laws is quite different than talking about the laws themselves.
Synthesis wrote: Besides, gravity doesn't exist in the first place. Somebody just made it up [like everything else].
Well, someone made up the name to describe the phenomenon. But the laws which explain it have not changed. The fact that they are not exactly accurate is not material to the point.

Synthesis
Posts: 189
Joined: July 15th, 2017, 12:54 pm

Re: What is Artificial Intelligence?

Post by Synthesis » October 5th, 2017, 12:04 pm

Atreyu wrote:
Synthesis wrote: Can you give me an example of something that does not change [besides gravity]?
None of the laws of physics change. That's why I asked you for an example, so I could try and find out exactly what you mean. Interesting that, rather than provide one, you ask me.
Synthesis wrote: All things knowable change. It is the nature of the intellectual process.
Again, how we understand various laws is quite different than talking about the laws themselves.
Synthesis wrote: Besides, gravity doesn't exist in the first place. Somebody just made it up [like everything else].
Well, someone made up the name to describe the phenomenon. But the laws which explain it have not changed. The fact that they are not exactly accurate is not material to the point.
The fact that they are not exactly accurate is SPECIFICALLY the point. My raison d'etre is to demonstrate that reality is not accessible to the human intellect. I get that you believe that 'close enough' is a good thing, but I believe that all people who dabble in intellectual matters are deceiving themselves in this regard.

If you are a student of history [as I would imagine most are on this discussion-list], is it not fascinating to learn about how people rationalized [every damn thing] throughout the ages? How would it be possible that this is not going on as we speak?

Believing that we can understand anything [even the simplest of things have an infinite number of facets] is the greatest of all human folly. And, besides, there is no need to "understand" anything. Simply being with something [anything] is plenty good and leads to a wonderful sense of contentment [and, after all, can one really hope for more in this life?].

User avatar
Atreyu
Posts: 1724
Joined: June 17th, 2014, 3:11 am
Favorite Philosopher: P.D. Ouspensky
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: What is Artificial Intelligence?

Post by Atreyu » October 7th, 2017, 2:49 am

Synthesis wrote: The fact that they are not exactly accurate is SPECIFICALLY the point. My raison d'etre is to demonstrate that reality is not accessible to the human intellect. I get that you believe that 'close enough' is a good thing, but I believe that all people who dabble in intellectual matters are deceiving themselves in this regard.
You're changing the topic. I agree that reality is not accessible to the human intellect. In fact, this is a basic premise in philosophy and psychology. But we approach understanding reality when we formulate various laws which explain phenomenon.
Synthesis wrote: If you are a student of history [as I would imagine most are on this discussion-list], is it not fascinating to learn about how people rationalized [every damn thing] throughout the ages? How would it be possible that this is not going on as we speak?
What else can we do but reason things out? That's all we can do, until we find a way to improve the working of our machines (bodies). Reason is the tool nature gives us to figure things out, as much as that is possible. And good reason knows its own limitations...
Synthesis wrote: Believing that we can understand anything [even the simplest of things have an infinite number of facets] is the greatest of all human folly. And, besides, there is no need to "understand" anything. Simply being with something [anything] is plenty good and leads to a wonderful sense of contentment [and, after all, can one really hope for more in this life?].
You're exaggerating and taking an extreme position. Understanding is relative. Of course we can't ultimately understand things, but we can understand them better or worse, and formulating laws is one of the ways we begin to understand things.

Synthesis
Posts: 189
Joined: July 15th, 2017, 12:54 pm

Re: What is Artificial Intelligence?

Post by Synthesis » October 7th, 2017, 4:12 pm

Atreyu wrote:
Synthesis wrote: The fact that they are not exactly accurate is SPECIFICALLY the point. My raison d'etre is to demonstrate that reality is not accessible to the human intellect. I get that you believe that 'close enough' is a good thing, but I believe that all people who dabble in intellectual matters are deceiving themselves in this regard.
You're changing the topic. I agree that reality is not accessible to the human intellect. In fact, this is a basic premise in philosophy and psychology. But we approach understanding reality when we formulate various laws which explain phenomenon.

What does that mean?
Synthesis wrote: If you are a student of history [as I would imagine most are on this discussion-list], is it not fascinating to learn about how people rationalized [every damn thing] throughout the ages? How would it be possible that this is not going on as we speak?
What else can we do but reason things out? That's all we can do, until we find a way to improve the working of our machines (bodies). Reason is the tool nature gives us to figure things out, as much as that is possible. And good reason knows its own limitations...

Instead of, "reasoning things out," we can simply accept things as they are. Any productive "reasoning" happens in the moment before our fictitious reasoning kicks-in.
Synthesis wrote: Believing that we can understand anything [even the simplest of things have an infinite number of facets] is the greatest of all human folly. And, besides, there is no need to "understand" anything. Simply being with something [anything] is plenty good and leads to a wonderful sense of contentment [and, after all, can one really hope for more in this life?].
You're exaggerating and taking an extreme position. Understanding is relative. Of course we can't ultimately understand things, but we can understand them better or worse, and formulating laws is one of the ways we begin to understand things.

Understanding is only relative in terms of its distance from the mark [i.e., the accepted mis-understanding].

Atreyu, if it is appropriate to be extreme about anything, then this would be the place. Mis-understanding is rampant, leading to tremendous difficulties for our species. Transcending such would be a significant move forward [were this possible].

User avatar
Atreyu
Posts: 1724
Joined: June 17th, 2014, 3:11 am
Favorite Philosopher: P.D. Ouspensky
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: What is Artificial Intelligence?

Post by Atreyu » October 8th, 2017, 4:14 am

Synthesis wrote:
Atreyu wrote:You're changing the topic. I agree that reality is not accessible to the human intellect. In fact, this is a basic premise in philosophy and psychology. But we approach understanding reality when we formulate various laws which explain phenomenon.
What does that mean?
Let's suppose that reality is a cube, and the human intellect is incapable of comprehending any 3-D objects. By understanding certain laws about this unknowable reality, we might be able to say something like "Reality is outside of anything we can comprehend, it's beyond 2 dimensions, but we think it's something like a square." Previously, we had no idea. This would be approaching reality, even though it would be impossible for us to know it.
Synthesis wrote: Atreyu, if it is appropriate to be extreme about anything, then this would be the place. Mis-understanding is rampant, leading to tremendous difficulties for our species. Transcending such would be a significant move forward [were this possible].[/color]
Yes, but the way to transcend misunderstanding is to understand what we can. Nothing will be accomplished if we assume it's impossible.

Steve3007
Posts: 5393
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Eratosthenes
Location: UK

Re: What is Artificial Intelligence?

Post by Steve3007 » October 8th, 2017, 6:54 am

In this flat-world scenario, I would say that the concept of the cube is a mental model that we create in order to link the patterns that we've noticed in the shapes of all the various 2D shapes that we see in our world. If it's useful we keep it. If it turns out not to be useful we don't, or we adjust it. Or add to it. There is no sense in which it is definitely the true reality of which our observations are (literally in this case) imperfect shadows, because then, if it turns out not to be useful, we're stuck with it.

I guess we're in Plato's cave here.

Synthesis
Posts: 189
Joined: July 15th, 2017, 12:54 pm

Re: What is Artificial Intelligence?

Post by Synthesis » October 8th, 2017, 12:02 pm

Atreyu wrote:
Let's suppose that reality is a cube, and the human intellect is incapable of comprehending any 3-D objects. By understanding certain laws about this unknowable reality, we might be able to say something like "Reality is outside of anything we can comprehend, it's beyond 2 dimensions, but we think it's something like a square." Previously, we had no idea. This would be approaching reality, even though it would be impossible for us to know it.
Synthesis wrote: Atreyu, if it is appropriate to be extreme about anything, then this would be the place. Mis-understanding is rampant, leading to tremendous difficulties for our species. Transcending such would be a significant move forward [were this possible].[/color]
Yes, but the way to transcend misunderstanding is to understand what we can. Nothing will be accomplished if we assume it's impossible.
Please consider the following. If you step out and peer up into the night sky [approximately 44.34 degrees, 35 minutes, 21 seconds facing due north], there is an object sitting on a an asteroid which is approximately 425M light years away [sorry, there is also no light available]. What can you tell me about this object?

Your cube is what you believe it is only from an extremely narrow point-of-view, and then, it is really not that at all. The layers of subjectivity that gives rise to our human reality are infinite and ever changing [as all conditions surrounding, change]. Believing that we can truly understand anything close to its actual Reality is foolhardy given the infinite variability at play.

The entire of basis of science [that we can get closer and closer to the truth] is similar to a small child who believes that he can protect himself from the monsters in the closet by hiding under his pillow. There is no need to understand any of these things. Eat when you are hungry, sleep when you are tired, help others when you are able, so on and so forth. Attempting to understand has only led to misery in this world.

User avatar
Consul
Posts: 1294
Joined: February 21st, 2014, 6:32 am
Location: Germany

Re: What is Artificial Intelligence?

Post by Consul » October 8th, 2017, 12:05 pm

"Artificial intelligence, or AI, is the field that studies the synthesis and analysis of computational agents that act intelligently. Let us examine each part of this definition.
An agent is something that acts in an environment; it does something. Agents include worms, dogs, thermostats, airplanes, robots, humans, companies, and countries.
We are interested in what an agent does; that is, how it acts. We judge an agent by its actions.

An agent acts intelligently when
• what it does is appropriate for its circumstances and its goals, taking into account the short-term and long-term consequences of its actions
• it is flexible to changing environments and changing goals
• it learns from experience
• it makes appropriate choices given its perceptual and computational limitations

A computational agent is an agent whose decisions about its actions can be explained in terms of computation. That is, the decision can be broken down into primitive operations that can be implemented in a physical device. This computation can take many forms. In humans this computation is carried out in 'wetware'; in computers it is carried out in 'hardware'."


(Poole, David L., and Alan K. Mackworth. Artificial Intelligence: Foundations of Computational Agents. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. pp. 3-4)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

Post Reply