Older blog entries for Flanneltron (starting at number 108)

Sherlock Holmes, Master of Code

What if I told you that fictional mysteries contain practical real-world methodologies? I have pointed out the similarities between detectives solving mysteries to software debugging before. My day job of writing code often involves fixing bugs or solving bizarre cases of bad behavior in complex systems. In a new book called Mastermind: How to Think [...]

Syndicated 2013-03-29 03:20:19 from SynapticNulship

Biomimetic Emotional Learning Agents

Since I didn’t blog in back in 2004, you get to suffer—I mean, enjoy—another breathtaking misadventure down memory lane. In 2004 I started designing and coding (in C++) a cognitive architecture called Biomimetic Emotional Learning Agents (BELA). The Grand Plan This antique diagram reveals my old plans: The diagram indicates general flow of time from [...]

Syndicated 2013-03-26 04:16:20 from SynapticNulship

Comparison: ChainLocker vs. Heirarchical Mutexes

In “Concurrent Programming with Chain Locking,” Gigi Sayfan presents a C# class demonstrating chain locked operations on a hierarchical data structure. This reminded me of lock hierarchies described by Anthony Williams in the book C++ Concurrency in Action. To take a step back for a moment, the overall goal is to create multithreaded code which [...]

Syndicated 2013-03-08 06:59:00 from SynapticNulship

On the Concept of Shaping Thought with Language

Psychologist Lera Boroditsky says she’s “interested in how the languages we speak shape the way we think” [1]. This statement seems so innocent, and yet it implies that language definitely does shape thought1. It also leads us to use a metaphor with “shape.” Causes and Dependencies Does language cause thought? Or at least in part? [...]

Syndicated 2013-02-25 02:54:47 from SynapticNulship

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

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