machine brains

ray scanlon rscanlon at wsg.net
Tue Nov 11 20:56:47 EST 1997



Neil Rickert <rickert at cs.niu.edu> wrote in article
<64a8qu$abu at ux.cs.niu.edu>...
> In <01bceec8$7cb77900$fd7a61ce at asdf> "ray scanlon" <rscanlon at wsg.net>
writes:

> >Artificial intelligence is philosophy, connectionism is science.
> 
> Artificial intelligence is science, but science with science
> presented with hype that far exceeds the achievements.  Connectionism
> is mainly wishful thinking, with a touch of science.

Oh, Lord. What is science, what is philosophy. I was merely restating
my case that artificial intelligence deals with the mind, with
intentional symbols, with representations. Is this science? Wundt
should be perfectly at ease with artificial intelligence.

Connectionism uses neural nets. No matter how thin the connection
'neural' is based on neurons. Neurons are part of the external world.
Note that for decades neuroscientists have simulated nets of neurons on
computers. They claim science. Of course they don't claim
connectionism.

> >                                                                 Can
I
> >combine the interior world of intentionalism with the exterior world
of
> >extensionalism under one rubric?
> 
> No, you can't.
> 
> >                                 David Chalmers says I should try,
he
> >is an optimist.
> 
> David Chalmers can't either.
> 
> >                Colin McGinn says no, I lack the needed machinery.
He
> >is a pessimist.
> 
> McGinn is more realistic.

Personally, I tend to stand with McGinn as you apparently do. But I am
ready to listen to one who can demonstrate that I, as soul, am part of
the physical universe. I just won't hold my breath waiting.

> The term sub-symbolic is used more by connectionists than by symbolic
> AIers.

I will take your word for it since you know many more members of both
groups than I.

I thought the word was used by AI people to categorize connectionism.
God only knows what connectionists mean by the word. It makes me think
they do not know their trade.
 
> >                                                               I
would
> >say it should be more fruitful to view the neural net as a passive
> >filter that does not manipulate or process anything. There is no
> >information present, no data packages, no labeled lines, no
affective
> >computation, no agent.
> 
> In that case the neural net does nothing, unless there is something
> at the other end of the passive filter.  What is that something?
> Surely, if you are right, then connectionism is of only minor
> importance, and what must be studied is that something at the other
> end.

In this context, I should connect sensors and effectors to the neural
net. The environment presses on the sensors, the output of the sensors
flows through the net and actuates the effectors that press, in turn,
on the environment.

I do not understand your reference to a 'something' that is on 'the
other end'. Could you elaborate just a little bit.
 
> >                       If  I must anthropomorphize then I will see
> >things from the point of view of the neuron--Pulses come in and
pulses
> >go out, the neuron lives in a 'Chinese Room.'
> 
> If the neural net is a passive filter, then the neuron should have no
> point of view.

The minute I anthropomorphize, I am doomed. Still I thought it was a
cute little picture, the poor little neuron living in a 'Chinese Room'.
 Squiggles in, squiggles out.

Ray

-- 

email: rscanlon at wsg.net

If you are interested in how the brain works, visit
http://www.wsg.net/~rscanlon/brain.html



More information about the Neur-sci mailing list