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vallentin

What is really AI?

81 posts in this topic

Here's my own checklist of an Intelligence:

-Senses: Can receive information about its environment
-Knowledge: Has ideas about how its environment works
-Reasoning: Can infer new information from senses and knowledge
-Behavior: Can affect its environment
-Memory: Can remember past sensations and deductions
-Planning: Can reason about time
-Learning: Can adapt its behavior to its environment

However, my most honest answer to the question "What is really AI" is "I dont really care. Check this out...".
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To answer the question what is AI one must first define intelligence. Unfortunately intelligence like the universe and God is one of those things which cannot be defined. Only filtered. That is, we can only say what intelligence is not, and not what it is.

Nonetheless there is a checklist or a list of axioms I have for myself that I feel serves as a good approximation that serves as a fair model which captures much of the essentials of what people mentally invoke when they say intelligence.

Axiom 1: Extreme High Adaptability

The entity is capable of adapting to all sorts of environments - both abstract (internal, communicable and shareable) and physical (external, experienced). While the entity may have a set of in built automatic responses to certain stimuli the entity is capable of new behaviours that are not inbuilt. These may be due to structures or connections and networks that have been built and are then leveraged to create unique or emergent behaviours. One may say that the entity is capable of learning or building on its set of behaviours.

Corollary - Framing is important

A side-effect of this is that how such an entity chooses to frame a series of inputs and variables or filter and structure its network of associations or whatever will affect how it perceives a problem and thus how it solves it. A learned and alters its internal representational structures and can now handle more variables on the problem and deal with it more deftly.

Axiom 2: Observably Intelligent

This one is tricky and you may disagree with it. In essence it states that For All Entities there Exists some Entity which may observe its behaviours and state that this entity satisfies its criteria for intelligent and self driven behaviour. If no such entity exist for some entity E, then this entity is not intelligent.

Suppose there is some entity of type E. Its behaviours are so complex that Humans cannot perceive it as intelligent. But other entities of type E and a meta-entity of type F can attest to E's intelligence. It does not matter that humans cannot. This type of reasoning is best placed in a modal type of logic where for any entity is this entity intelligent can have [local] values beyond true and false but universal values of T and F.

Theorem 1: Self Direction and Choice

I feel self direction is important. Here the notion of direction is weak. What is meant by this is that the entity in question is believes it can direct its actions. It does not matter whether it can or not, simply that it feels that it can and there is some other entity that can agree with it. Where this belief can be observed (per axiom 2) to be in a way that suffices axiom 1 in that this belief is emergent and not built in. This entity is capable of thinking on the free will problem and may make choices that attempt to maximize some abstract concept of utility. In essence the entity is capable of treating itself as an environment to be built on or learned from.


Theorem 2: Entity Can Communicate

An entity may perceive itself to be intelligent and capable of self direction and choice but if its actions have no effect on the external then it may as well not be intelligent. It is not intelligent because it is not observably so. Thus some hypothetical rock might perceive itself to have free will but truly it does not and is neither intelligent.

Thus for all observably intelligent entities there exists some entity for which some method of interaction can serve as communication between them. And all such entities can solve the communication problem in terms of ways which draw from concepts that were poorly sketched in axiom 1.

Theorem 3: True AI

True AI is an intelligent entity that did not evolve or come about by natural means, accidentally or some act of god but rather was willfully created by some entity where the proposition I(x) = "Is x intelligent" returns a value of true. And this new entity, AI also satisfies the proposition I(x).

[Edited by - Daerax on March 28, 2008 1:10:32 PM]
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Sorry this is gonna meander a bit, but I don't know how else to put it.

Theorem 1, on Self Direction and Choice, may be over-rated. I offer two examples to point to extremes:

1). Ants gathering food follow paths drawn by other ants. They don't have a choice, they are programmed to do so; and yet it seems an intelligent behavior.

2). People often try to lose weight/quit smoking/drugs/gambling. They say "for real, this time". Again. Like they were kidding last time. Like maybe they weren't sincere 'enough' last time. And even prayer and tears don't help. The suffering person wished to be free, and decided to do something about it. Yet they aren't.

Hm. Predictable, and also somewhat short of reasonable. There must be something wrong with them, because it doesn't match the preachings. As for me, I'm much different: I wouldn't for instance repeatedly promise to take better care of the [whatever] next time.

[Edited by - AngleWyrm on March 29, 2008 12:37:19 PM]
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Original post by AngleWyrm

Theorem 1, on Self Direction and Choice, may be over-rated. I offer two examples to point to extremes:

1). Ants gathering food follow paths drawn by other ants. They don't have a choice, they are programmed to do so; and yet it seems an intelligent behavior.


You might want to review this experiment I performed some time ago.
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Interesting experiment: The program of following the trail left by other ants seems to be intelligent behavior, but only if we consider the colony's survival, or possibly the species of ant. From one ant's perspective, it might not be so intelligent.
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Sorry this is gonna meander a bit, but I don't know how else to put it.

Theorem 1, on Self Direction and Choice, may be over-rated. I offer two examples to point to extremes:

1). Ants gathering food follow paths drawn by other ants. They don't have a choice, they are programmed to do so; and yet it seems an intelligent behavior.

2). People often try to lose weight/quit smoking/drugs/gambling. They say "for real, this time". Again. Like they were kidding last time. Like maybe they weren't sincere 'enough' last time. And even prayer and tears don't help. The suffering person wished to be free, and decided to do something about it. Yet they aren't.

Hm. Predictable, and also somewhat short of reasonable. There must be something different: I wouldn't for instance repeatedly promise to take better care of the [whatever] next time.


I do not quite understand what you are trying to say but the framework I gave can handle your ants extreme. I stated:

Here the notion of direction is weak. What is meant by this is that the entity in question is believes it can direct its actions. It does not matter whether it can or not, simply that it feels that it can and there is some other entity that can agree with it. Where this belief can be observed (per axiom 2) to be in a way that suffices axiom 1 in that this belief is emergent and not built in.
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Original post by AngleWyrm

Theorem 1, on Self Direction and Choice, may be over-rated. I offer two examples to point to extremes:

1). Ants gathering food follow paths drawn by other ants. They don't have a choice, they are programmed to do so; and yet it seems an intelligent behavior.


You might want to review this experiment I performed some time ago.


hehe I like how the story end as kind of a fable. The moral of the story is...
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...Self direction is a belief system?

Part two of my extremes example above illustrates cases where people believe that they have free will, that they direct their actions. Actions their friends and society also believe they have control of, and even hold them accountable for. Actions that directly impact their personal health and social status. And yet even in spite of their own desires on the matter, they still fail to accomplish inaction -- just NOT doing something.

As for the ant: What happens if instead of shampoo, we draw a circle of ant-scent?

[Edited by - AngleWyrm on March 30, 2008 4:42:49 PM]
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...Self direction is a belief system?

Part two of my extremes example above illustrates cases where people believe that they have free will, that they direct their actions. Actions their friends and society also believe they have control of, and even hold them accountable for. Actions that directly impact their personal health and social status. And yet even in spite of their own desires on the matter, they still fail to accomplish inaction -- just NOT doing something.

As for the ant: What happens if instead of shampoo, we draw a circle of ant-scent?


No, an "intelligent" (sentient, sapient, cogent, fat,etc) self directed entity in my system must have a set of beliefs. This is because this entity cannot know everything due to physical limits. Now within these set of beliefs must be an emergent belief in which this entity can think that it has the ability to make free choices and also there must be some entity with which it can communicate such. Borrowing from modal logic again, each set of entities encompasses a local world . Thus for example with respect to any given entity the proposition this entity is intelligent is a contingent one.
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AI is search.


Ignorance is bliss


I figure while we're assigning arbitrary definitions to an apparently ill defined concept, why not take the simplest?


Except that saying that "AI is search" is like saying that a house is a hammer. Search is a tool that can be used to create the end result (along with other tools, skill and creativity), but that doesn't magically transform it into the final product.

...and having said that we must accept that a 'so-called AI' that uses only search to solve a problem is not 'AI', but rather just an intelligently designed implementation of a solution to a computational problem.

This is the most common objection raised about AI: that it's just intelligent design, rather than an embodiment of intelligence... but then, are we any more (and here I state that I believe in 'design by evolution' rather than 'design by God', just to make my position unequivocally clear). So where do we draw the line?
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No, an "intelligent" (sentient, sapient, cogent, fat,etc) self directed entity in my system must have a set of beliefs. This is because this entity cannot know everything due to physical limits.
Beliefs as a behavior/knowledge heuristic?

Quote:
Original post by Timkin
...and having said that we must accept that a 'so-called AI' that uses only search to solve a problem is not 'AI', but rather just an intelligently designed implementation of a solution to a computational problem.

This is the most common objection raised about AI: that it's just intelligent design, rather than an embodiment of intelligence...

and
Quote:
Original post by Daerax
Now within these set of beliefs must be an emergent belief in which this entity can think that it has the ability to make free choices and also there must be some entity with which it can communicate such.

This brings up an interesting point: What exactly is a free choice? Is selecting the best option a free choice, or is it simply an optimized relationship to the environment? Is choosing randomly from a probability distribution of personal biases over the options a free choice?

Something I've noticed: When people are presented with a set of alternatives, they often express their intellect by attempting to step 'out' of the alternatives, and view the problem from a more global perspective. Searching for a solution on a higher plane, or composing other alternatives from past experience with similar problems.

Also, sometimes people will choose an alternative that is clearly suboptimal by my implied score system, but could be ranked as superior by their scoring system. For instance, by dispensing with some presumed code of conduct. When done well, it comes across as victorious, proving that my scoring system could be better if it were unburdened by needless rules.

[Edited by - AngleWyrm on April 2, 2008 6:48:17 AM]
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This brings up an interesting point: What exactly is a free choice? Is selecting the best option a free choice, or is it simply an optimized relationship to the environment? Is choosing randomly from a probability distribution of personal biases over the options a free choice?

We have a pretty hardwired dualistic view of the world, where all objects obey the laws of physics, but some seem to have "souls", or "behaviour". This gives us an illusion of free will that probably has nothing to do with how the world really works, but it's a powerful metaphor that helps us understand and predict events around us. I don't think this illusion has to necessarily be present in an agent to be able to call it intelligent. It's just a byproduct of the way we are implemented.
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A tall cool glass of beer calling out "drink me, driiiinnnk meeee" -- an anthropomorphism in jest.
Sometimes my computer doesn't want to cooperate -- an implied metaphor used to simplify what is likely a tangle of dreary detail.
Long ago, the word 'angel' meant 'messenger' -- an artistic license that should have been revoked for malpractice.
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What is AI, really? A misnomer!

Intelligence doesn't exist. It is a human abstract concept that tries to poetically add some mystery to the idea that the world is a series of chemical reactions dictated by the laws of physics (and maybe some mystical forces from another dimension).

The definition of intelligence is as filmsy as the definition of life. Anything that grows, including a crystal, can be considered alive to some, others will tell you it has to have DNA and reproduce, that it has to have at least one cell...

So that's the problem. There's no set definition, you have to pick a side.

I would say you can't create an artificial version of what doesn't exist. Call me a nihilist if you will :P

But in practice... AI is a set of patterns that attempt to emulate behaviors. Those behaviors can be predictable or not. Their purpose is simply to allow non-software things, like humans, to interact with a machine in a certain context.

The start menu and the office paperclip are in fact artificially intelligent. In their own way.
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Original post by Timkin
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Original post by Rixter
AI is search.


Ignorance is bliss


I figure while we're assigning arbitrary definitions to an apparently ill defined concept, why not take the simplest?


Except that saying that "AI is search" is like saying that a house is a hammer. Search is a tool that can be used to create the end result (along with other tools, skill and creativity), but that doesn't magically transform it into the final product.

...and having said that we must accept that a 'so-called AI' that uses only search to solve a problem is not 'AI', but rather just an intelligently designed implementation of a solution to a computational problem.

This is the most common objection raised about AI: that it's just intelligent design, rather than an embodiment of intelligence... but then, are we any more (and here I state that I believe in 'design by evolution' rather than 'design by God', just to make my position unequivocally clear). So where do we draw the line?


Can't they both be true?How come we exist?Due to what?Something or someone is accountable for that Let's call Him God.
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I submit that "Artificial Intelligence" is just the name for an academic field. It is a social label first and foremost, used by researchers to classify themselves and others.

Like those from all academic fields, its practitioners are dependent on grant money to survive, and judged by the number of papers they write that are accepted for publication by major journals. Those are the inputs and outputs of the academic game.

Success in the game comes partly from having good ideas, and it comes partly from having the technical expertise to execute them well. But it also depends strongly on marketing, self-promotion; you have to convince others -- article reviewers at journals, funding agencies, and sometimes even the general public -- that your ideas are better, cooler, more interesting.

And what better way to do that then by calling them "Artificial Intelligence?"

An example: What really is machine learning? There is some system which, given inputs, produces outputs; we want to select inputs which minimize some cost function defined over the outputs. That is all. Another group of academics does pretty much the same thing (using more abstract language), and they call what they do "Optimal Control."

Question: Who is more likely to get the newspaper article written about them with the sexy headline, "Smart Computers 'Learn' like Babies:"
1 - the researcher who calls what they do "Machine Learning" and talks about the computer being "intelligent,"
OR
2 - the researcher who calls what they do "Optimal Control" and talks about minimizing objective functions?

Answer: #1.

This is just one example of a general trend. You succeed in academia by making what you do sound sexy -- and calling what you do "Artificial Intelligence" achieves that.

If it sounds like I'm bashing Artificial Intelligence researchers, I'm not: It's the game that all academics play. And if it sounds like I'm more generally bashing academics, again, I'm not: Much of industry, politics, and essentially every other human endeavor is built on a strong foundation of bullshit.

I'm just pointing it out in this case, because I'd hate for everybody to waste their time philosophizing about what is essentially a brand name.
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AI is search.


Ignorance is bliss


I figure while we're assigning arbitrary definitions to an apparently ill defined concept, why not take the simplest?


Except that saying that "AI is search" is like saying that a house is a hammer. Search is a tool that can be used to create the end result (along with other tools, skill and creativity), but that doesn't magically transform it into the final product.


Except isn't that like saying an encyclopedia is intelligence? (This is like a game of telephone, isn't it? :) ). I would be more inclined to say it's the producing of the solution that is intelligence, not the solution itself. I'm not exactly going to defend this "AI is search" idea to the death (it's not even originally my idea), so maybe there are other tools that can't be classified as search, but I would consider skill and creativity to be more attributes of intelligence.


Quote:


...and having said that we must accept that a 'so-called AI' that uses only search to solve a problem is not 'AI', but rather just an intelligently designed implementation of a solution to a computational problem.


Perhaps our definition of search is different as well. As you said, one does not need to know how to do something for AI techniques to work, and sometimes not even the end goal. Wouldn't that require some form of search? Wouldn't even the wiring and re-wiring of our brain be a form of search? I don't know.


Also, I don't necessarily believe that AI is a misnomer, rather I think people tend to have these Johnny 5 expectations of what it is or should be.

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What if I say that intelligence is the "ability of organizing information" ?
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Bubble sort organizes information.
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Ahh, the definition groweth! Currently "Is an autonomous creature AND organizes information".

Consider a program which, given a poem as input, determines how interesting it is, and then composes a witty retort to the poem using the same metric and rhyming structure. Since it isn't an autonomous creature, is it not AI?
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I said intelligence, not AI.

For AI we dont need to imagine much, there are plenty of game AIs that behave pretty intelligently. And we could say that they *are* intelligent to some degree.

But if there was a scale to measure inteligence on how qualitatively and cuantitatively a being (artificial or not) organizes data, then bubble sort, your program and all the games AI's would be near ZERO and humans would be at the top.
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Alright. Is it not intelligent?
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