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Thinking without language?

Seth Russell seth at halcyon.com
Tue Nov 30 12:36:04 EST 1999

Hi Ken,

I think you may be interpreting my use of "survival" here much more
narrowly than i meant it.  For me "survival" points to the sticking of
processes in objective reality such that they persist there without further
effort.  "Survival" does not necessarily refer only to the persistence of
an individual or a biological gene of a species. What's more, survival -
let's call it persistence - is always "of what".  It is impractical to work
for survival (as if it were some ephemeral substance itself) - rather we
work to make a specific thing persist, to transcend ourselves, so that it
persists without our effort.   So I would view the ~life~ of a person in a
comma as not surviving. Of course it's more complicated than even that -
some process will always survive - but from our perspective we may choose
to call the surviving process decay - the decay calls the surviving process
"me" and thinks it's doing just fine.     What might be interesting is to
hear you translate that concept (or your rebuttal of it) into terms without
using the concept of persistence through time.

Seth Russell

kenneth Collins wrote:

> hi, Seth. i disagree because unless one's in sight of a goal, almost
> everything one does seems 'worthless' with respect to 'survival'. so if
> one goes by the criterion you suggest, one will never get anywhere very
> far from where one already is... which explains a lot with respect to
> common business practice :-)
> ken
> Seth Russell wrote:
> > Patrik Bagge wrote:
> >
> > > What i'm getting at here is that everything & everybody is at sale
> > > , it's about specifying the desire and 'bying' the solution
> >
> > Actually i think that simple concept could be the seed of a new
> > AI paradigm.  Survival is what drives progress (even in AI) - or
> > to put it another way around: if it doesn't survive, then it's not
> > progress.  And one of the primary mechanism (strategies) of
> > survival is the commerce between an agent and its environment.
> > Specifying desires and buying solutions is commerce.  So perhaps
> > we can make progress with AI, by applying that mechanism.  The
> > ecology of a flourishing system of commerce is exactly the ecology
> > that an artificial mind needs to generate answers to problems that
> > have no known pre programmed solutions.
> >
> > Seth Russell
> > Logic is great, survival is better.
> > http://RobustAi.Net/Ai/conjecture.htm

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