Older blog entries for Flanneltron (starting at number 104)

What is a Room?

We all share the concept of rooms. I suspect it’s common and abstract enough to span cultures and millennia of history. The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity. (One is unable to notice something because it is always before one’s eyes.) —Wittgenstein Rooms are [...]

Syndicated 2013-02-05 06:52:09 from SynapticNulship

Rambling: Should All Software Be Real-Time?

As a design guideline, most disembodied “smart” computer systems should be real-time, at least of the soft variety. But they aren’t. We’ve gotten used to the cheap non-real-time properties of mainstream software. Evolution may have resulted in that design guideline for minds. But our computer programs and networks aren’t minds—at least not yet. However, successful [...]

Syndicated 2013-02-02 19:22:25 from SynapticNulship

All Minds Are Real-Time Control Systems

I conjecture that all minds are real-time control systems. In this post I will explain what that means and why it seems to be true. Creatures and Real-Time Systems Consider, if you will, artificial creatures that exist in either the real world or some model thereof. These [ro]bots do not know the environment beforehand, at [...]

Syndicated 2013-01-25 06:09:12 from SynapticNulship

Emotional Experience Needs Do Not Prevent Conscious Artificial Intelligence

I have mentioned the book The First Idea by Greenspan and Shanker many times recently. Lest anybody assume I am a fanboy of that tome, I wanted to argue with a ridiculous statement that the authors make in regards to consciousness and artificial intelligence. Greenspan and Shanker make it quite clear that they don’t think [...]

Syndicated 2013-01-19 02:44:56 from SynapticNulship

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

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