Older blog entries for Flanneltron (starting at number 100)

Is Humanism False?

Ryan Norbauer is pretty sure that: Not only are all religions manifestly false, but so too are all the secular narratives (humanism, positivism, liberalism, libertarianism) that, like religions, attempt to craft a system of positive values out of the epistemologically questionable notion that something can be transcendently and meaningfully true merely because it would be [...]

Syndicated 2013-01-11 18:37:26 from SynapticNulship

Are Emotional Structures the Foundation of Intelligence?

It seems like all human babies go through the exact same intelligence growth program. Like clockwork. A lot of people have assumed that it really is a perfect program which is defined by genetics. Obviously something happens when a child grows. But surely that consists of minor environmental queues to the genetic program. Or does [...]

Syndicated 2013-01-09 07:00:04 from SynapticNulship

A PIC-Based Scripted Robot System

The last time I used the aforementioned scripting framework was in the robot system described here. It was intended for a spherical robot, however, I also used an old RC truck chassis for testing. It was fairly generic—there wasn’t anything specific to spherical robots in the board design or programming, with the exception of the [...]

Syndicated 2013-01-07 05:38:19 from SynapticNulship

Robot Scripting

During 2003 and 2004, I worked on FIRST robots. I was a college student, but Northeastern University hosted a team supporting multiple high schools. FIRST competition robots are radio controlled, however autonomous routines activated by the operator are allowed and would be hugely advantageous. But most teams never got to that point, and were lucky [...]

Syndicated 2013-01-03 04:11:31 from SynapticNulship

Pissing People Off is Part of Reaching Your Full Potential

I read a great quote from Gina Bianchini [1] (co-founder of Ning): Inherent in being proactive and trying things and not waiting to be told what to do is the fact that you’re going to fail, you’re going to make mistakes, and you’re probably going to piss people off. And if you’re not pissing people off, if you [...]

Syndicated 2012-12-31 00:22:07 from SynapticNulship

Infants, Monkeys, Love, and AI

Perhaps you have seen pictures or videos from the 1960s of rhesus monkey babies clinging to inanimate surrogate mothers. These experiments were by Harry Harlow, who eventually went against the psychology mainstream to demonstrate that love—namely caregiver-baby affection—was required for healthy development. Dr. Harlow created inanimate surrogate mothers for the rhesus infants from wire and [...]

Syndicated 2012-12-28 03:03:40 from SynapticNulship

Emotional Developmental Symbol Creation

To create an artificial intelligence system that is similar to humans or other animals, it has to have some way to generate meaning. A potential mechanism of meaning is an emotional system which has built in symbol grounding. When I talk about mental symbols in this article, I assume that ideas, concepts, knowledge, representations, etc. [...]

Syndicated 2012-12-03 01:25:45 from SynapticNulship

The Programming Experience vs. the Math Experience

In the book The Mathematical Experience, the chapter on symbols mentions computer programming [1]. But it really doesn’t do justice to programming. In fact it’s actually one of the lamer parts of an otherwise thought-provoking book. It’s not that it’s dated—a concern since the book was published in 1981—but that the authors only provide the [...]

Syndicated 2012-11-30 03:53:21 from SynapticNulship

Kurzweil’s “How to Create a Mind” is Severely Lacking

A day after its release, I strolled into the Harvard Co-Op bookstore and read most of Ray Kurzweil’s new book, How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed. I then quietly placed it back on the shelf and wandered out of the store in a state of wonder. Wondering, that is, if [...]

Syndicated 2012-11-25 00:05:06 from SynapticNulship

Failure Does Not Necessarily Mean a Theory is Wrong

Many writers use a metaphor of the type “theory T has failed to explain phenomenon P” or “the field of F has failed…” For example: The modern materialist approach to life has conspicuously failed to explain such central mind-related features of our world as consciousness, intentionality, meaning, and value. [1] Ever since the Crash of [...]

Syndicated 2012-11-05 00:30:16 from SynapticNulship

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