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“An idea is like a virus. Resilient. Highly contagious. And even the smallest seed of an idea can grow.” — Cobb in the movie Inception.

Open-ended generative processes like evolution and human culture have a thing that is replicated and propagated by the process. For evolution, these are known as genes. For culture, these are known as memes.

It became obvious to me that there isn’t an equivalent for individual brains. Is there something that is equivalent to this in general intelligent systems or biological brains?

I have come up with a term that describes these. The word I’ve invented is ‘dicene’. This word is inspired by C.S. Peirce’s dicent sign or dicisign. It is the combination then of dicent and gene, and thus dicene. …

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Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

It is astonishing that most of cognitive science ignores an obvious reality. That there are two kinds of minds.

Tomasello has a very credible hypothesis that what distinguishes humans from the great apes is the inclination towards shared intentional behavior. What is innate is the disposition and like personalities, it is what defines our cognition as we grow.

If cognitive preference is so critical in cognitive development then why is it that we seem to have completely ignored the difference in cognitive preferences between men and women?

Humans are that species of primates that wandered out into the savannah. The savannah is different enough from a dense jungle to exert the evolutionary pressures that encourage the development of planning and forecasting skills. …

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Photo by Lysander Yuen on Unsplash

Two fundamental mechanisms: (1) The recognition of self and non-self and (2) the recognition of past, present and future.

A self that cannot distinguish time is a self that isn’t alive.

Greater intelligence is a consequence of (1) an increase in the scope of the self and (2) an increase in time horizons.

In both cases, complexity increases, and therefore a more capable intelligence must evolve.

Biological brains are hive minds that are contained in the same mind. Civilizations and the internet are hive minds that are distributed across many self-contained minds.

The recognition of both, specifically the non-self, the now and the future demands that an organism develop a prediction mechanism. It must navigate the environment it lives in that is also composed of other-selves that are making similar predictions. …

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It would be absurd to believe that given the brain’s massively parallel construction that there is only a single thread of cognition. Consciousness is that illusion that there is only one thread. It would be absurd to believe that this one thread is the core of cognition instead of the multiple threads that are running in the background.

What runs in the background is what is described as the unconscious. This is known as system 1 processing in dual-process theory. We are essentially intuition machines. What we describe as consciousness is a thread that intermittently executes that is reflectively providing an explanation of a slice of the many thought threads that are running. Consciousness feels continuous but this is just an illusion. …

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Photo by Jongsun Lee on Unsplash

A good theory of consciousness is one that predicts behavior that is unexplained by other current theories of consciousness. Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity was given credence because it predicted the bending of light near large massive objects like the sun. Einstein’s Theory was validated during a solar eclipse in 1919.

What do current theories of consciousness predict that is outside common intuition about the nature of consciousness? Many theories of consciousness are elegant, but do they predict anything out of the ordinary? Richard Feynman once said It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. …

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Conscious and conscience are two words that share the same origin but mean two different things. The bias against explanations of consciousness comes from the conflation of these two words.

In addition, the question of free will is also adjacent to the notion of both consciousness and conscience. The ideas of consciousness, conscience, and free will serve as the foundation of justice in our civilization. (care to add another?)

So when we see people fail to condemn an act that is morally repugnant, we wonder if they have a conscience. But we don’t wonder if they are conscious. …

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Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

As progress accelerates towards AGI, the number of people who realize the significance of each new breakthrough decreases. This is the AGI Significance Paradox.

There is a very old metaphor that you can boil a frog in water without it jumping out when you gradually increase the temperature. The fable goes that the frog does not have the internal models to recognize that there is a change in the water temperature. A cold-blooded creature like the frog is thought to have its temperature regulated only by the external environment.

To recognize change, an agent must have an internal model of reality that is able to recognize this change. Unfortunately, a majority of the population do not have good models of human general intelligence. In fact, even the simplistic dual-process model of system 1 and system 2 is not very well known. It took years for researchers to start using the terminology that Deep Learning was a System 1 (i.e. Intuitive) process. The reason why you see today Daniel Kahneman in many panels of AI is because of this recognition. …

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Picture created in collaboration with several intuition machines.

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s picture theory of meaning (aka the picture theory of language), is a theory of linguistic meaning articulated by in his published work the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Wittgenstein suggested that a meaningful proposition is pictured as a state of affairs. Wittgenstein claimed that there is an unbridgeable gap between what can be expressed in language and what can only be expressed in non-verbal ways. The theory states that verbal statements are meaningful only if they can be pictured in the real world.

OpenAI has recently released a demonstration of Wittgenstein’s theory. …

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Photo derived from Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash

Walter Pitts, the other half of the duo that formulated the first model of an artificial neuron, burned his Ph.D. thesis and drunk himself to death. Why?

Ludwig Wittgenstein, after publishing his work to finally solve philosophy, one of the wealthiest men in Europe, gave up all his wealth and left philosophy at the age of 31. Why?

Both Pitts and Wittgenstein, the former who grew up impoverished and the latter who grew up wealthy, were gifted with superior analytical minds. Both investigate logical system only to come to an unassailable conclusion. Their formulations were wrong!

Are there problems that take years of intellectual effort to solve, or is most of the effort spent removing obstacles out of the way? Are there solutions that are simple but hidden by wrong assumptions? One could truly say that biology is hampered by the obstacle of lack of information about its intrinsic complexity. We don’t know what we are looking at so we can’t see the simple mechanisms. Here’s the rub though. We don’t even know if there are simple mechanisms! …

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Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

Chess may be a good analogy for explaining the difference between a descriptive model of reality and a generative model of reality.

A descriptive model of chess will describe the rules (i.e. initial setup, allowed moves, points per piece, objectives). This tells you how a chessboard might evolve and also narrows the combinations of realistic chess positions.

In contrast, a generative model involves the actual gameplay between competing players that follow the rules. It generates new styles and patterns. It establishes new strategies and tactics. It generates new openings, middle gameplay, and end game tactics. Humans conjure up names like Queen’s Gambit or Sicilian to describe openings. …


Carlos E. Perez

Author of Artificial Intuition and the Deep Learning Playbook —

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