Older blog entries for Flanneltron (starting at number 97)

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

Mechanisms of Meaning

How do organisms generate meaning during their development? What designs of information structures and processes best explain how animals understand concepts? In “A Deepness in the Mind: The Symbol Grounding Problem“, I showed a three layer diagram with semantic connections on the top. I’d like to spend some more time on the bottom of the [...]

Syndicated 2012-10-15 06:57:41 from SynapticNulship

Languages, Assemble!

Look what I found in my closet: This is my old Motorola 68HC11 microcontroller board. Here’s a close up photo of the microcontroller itself: For those who arenn’t familiar with these terms, a microcontroller is basically a computer on a chip. They are often very tiny and low powered, and are ubiquitous whether you realize [...]

Syndicated 2012-10-09 06:35:31 from SynapticNulship

A Deepness in the Mind: The Symbol Grounding Problem

The Symbol Grounding Problem reared its ugly head in my previous post. Some commenters suggested certain systems as being symbol-grounding-problem-free because those systems learn concepts that were not chosen beforehand by the programmers. However, the fact that a software program learns concepts doesn’t mean it is grounded. It might be, but it might not be. [...]

Syndicated 2012-09-29 09:20:50 from SynapticNulship

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