Terminator Genesis 1 – The Need For Terminators

Once upon a time, there were Right Brothers. They built a machine that could fly and the machine had little resemblance to how birds fly.

They were not alone.

The printing press before them had little resemblance with our hands, the natural writing tool.

Still, there’s a particular aversion among computer scientists against Natural Intelligence.

I find this aversion peculiar.

On the one hand, these scientists are obsessed with neural nets because of the neurons that make up natural brains. And on the other hand, they dislike any discussion of NI or attempt to mimic it.

I know they do this because they don’t understand NI and they’re worried about the flight of capital from their field of preference.

Now let us revisit the first problem faced by Hamid. He wanted the computer to print the value of Force, given Mass and Acceleration.

How hard that could be?

Here is the FORTRAN pseudcode he wrote:

Force = Mass * Acceleration
Mass = 5.0
Acceleration = 3.0
WRITE (Force)

He was annoyed to see the computer’s inability to calculate Force. Instead of printing 15.0, it kept printing garbage.

The reason is that computers do not have a memory like ours. They are especially designed to process data in a sequential manner and once they’re done, to forget everything.

So when the computer looks at the above code, it will multiply Mass by Acceleration and store the result in Force.

And at this time, it won’t look at nor see the next two lines where the values of Mass and Acceleration are given. Hence, according to the FORTRAN specifications, it will multiply any garbage value in the memory location assigned to Mass with another garbage in Acceleration, producing yet another garbage that it will store in Force.

The FORTRAN fathers thought up the following solution: give the programmers the ability to create “functions”.

If the FORTRAN compiler comes across a function, it will insert a jump to its code wherever it encounters the name of that function. Thus, the following code will work as expected:

Mass = 5.0
Acceleration = 3.0
WRITE (Force)
FUNCTION Force = Mass * Acceleration

In this listing, the computer is still working in a sequential fashion. Yet, it is made to seem as if it wasn’t.

This proved a too-strong an illusion. With the advent of Java and concepts like OOP and operator-overloading, it seemed computers were getting smarter and were learning.

But the truth is, software development tools hit a wall with Visual Basic 5. There has been little improvement since.

It seems software development cannot be made any easier.

This illusion is one reason why scientists have failed to see the problem and the necessity for doing away with the practice of Computer Programming altogether.

I once read in an article about a scientist who manually fed some 2 million facts into a computer. The computer was then given the following question:

A guy entered a fast food restaurant and ordered a burger. What did he eat?

The computer couldn’t answer the question as there was no information provided about what the guy had eaten.

The article writer contended that any 3-year-old could answer such a question.

My niece was 3 years old.

I put the question to her and she answered “a burger”!

Amazing, isn’t it?

Another reason behind scientists’ failure is that “intelligence” is a misnomer.

Computers lack no intelligence and we all know that. This has confused the scientists because they don’t know where to start and what they need to build.

It’s like you want a bigger car to move more passengers at a time but you keep telling the salesman that your (sports) car is not fast enough!

Now I’m going to assume that by this third post, I have presented enough evidence & apology for my belief that traditional approach to AI is totally misguided.

Beginning from the next post, I’ll start presenting my approach to AI: machines that are capable of behaving like humans.

I like the name Terminator for such machines because T-800 was an evil device in 1984 that was mysogynist and sought to kill a woman named Sarah Connor and it failed.

But by 1991, it had a change of heart and became a protector of women & children. This is what Sarah Connor thought about it in 1991:

“Of all the would-be fathers who came and went over the years, this thing, this machine was the only one that measured up.”

Till next post, see ya.

Terminator Genesis 1 – The Need For Terminators

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