Analysis of the meaning of a sentence, based on the knowledge base of an operational thinking machine. Reflections about the meaning and artificial intelligence.
One of the milestones of my AGI research. I wrote this particular article and the comments in Bulgarian as a 19-year old freshman in Computer Science at Plovdiv University.
By Todor Arnaudov | 13 March 2004 @ 21:49 EET | 340 reads |
First published at bgit.net and the e-zine “Sacred Computer” in Bulgarian
Comment #1 by Konstantin Spirov | 15 March 2004 @ 20:25 | EET
(…) I'm a classical programmer and I haven't really dealt with AI. However I reflected about how I would define “meaning”.
To me, the thirst and urge for finding a meaning does not prune contradictions, in contrary – it's searching for the cause, for the prime mover, the initial force. This is not related to contradictions.
For example, a tawdry clock with a thermometer is not incompatible, contradictory – it can hang on the wall, and neither the clock, nor the thermometer disturbs the other. However, to me this object is pointless, meaningless – you can't tell me any reason to put it on the wall.
On the other hand, the opposite phenomenon happens every day. People do absurd things, which however appear to be full of deep meaning. Programmers sing - out of tune... A banker who owns millions and visits luxury restaurants once passes next to an old lady who is selling donuts; then he takes one from a dirty bag and buys a donut for 30 cents. No doubt this donut was made by a poor snotty baker, but... For the banker, this is the best food and the best thing in the world!
There we are! For him, this is an act that is filled with deep meaning, but how would you persuade a computer program? Especially if the program is counting the number of viruses and bacterias that has entered the banker's organism in that very moment. How does the banker would explain it - “I felt a thrill, I remembered once when I was a child...”. From the viewpoint of the computer, this is a non-sense, just a random association – especially if from this little moment eventually grow up a serious decision for his life and career; how would you explain to a computer what's in common between the donuts and the money?
As we know, AI has many directions – the most of the researchers belong to the “weak” one, that is – not trying to model an AI, but just aiming to make the behavior of the computers to appear human, in order to make the life of the users easier – nothing more. These researchers discuss like this – the problem is complex and often vague, but we know tricks that would help us to cope it very well – we just have to spend some time and be more …. There are also researchers from the Strong direction, like the respectable Marvin Minskyor the clown prof. Kevin Warwick (sorry if you like him), who are aiming at goals which are much more interesting for the media. Some of them probably do, because of problems with funding, others do really believe, because this sounds more heroically.
I personally support the Weak AI and I think that the questions posed in this article very precisely describe the reasons – you can model non-contradictory system, learning and even something that looks like freedom (at least external unpredictability), but I cannot imagine how the thirst for a meaning can ever be modeled.
Scientists can invent any formal systems, to analyze and replay words, but we cannot give them a meaning (“да ги оглосим“ - an ancient Bulgarian word used). The meaning is a deeper concept than us, it is discussed by the ancient Greek philosophers. The whole human civilization from all the times deals with the meaning. (…) In the bible “слово“ (logos) means also meaning, cause. … “Logos“ - the First Cause, which can't be understood or explained (…other stuff about another explanation of a cat and an uphill about a real cat that has gone wild; usage of “to drink” in a metaphorical sense (to drink a stone with a gaze), hard to translate an not relevant:
P.S. за "котката и нанагорнището" ми хареса. Замислих се, че мога да дам неизчанчено обяснение за него. А компютърът - не.
Та сетих се, че за мен "котката изпи камъка и литна под нанагорнището" си е съвсем смислено изречение. Всеки, който си има котарак знае, че те са загадъчни същества и имат странни способности. Освен това мога да докажа, че съм виждал веднъж как котката пие камъка и лети под нанагорнището. Беше миналото лято на Варна. Тъст ми и тъщата ми си имат виличка на 30 километра от града, в една сушава местност с изглед към Варненското езеро. Пълен пущинак. Вилата име с картонени стени и се състои от две стаи.
Участникът в действието не е "котката", а една конкретна котка - котаракът Марти. Всяка дама би казала, че е и мил пухльо, http://polly-and-kosio.net/_predi/pages/bulkata_s_mama_i_tatko_jpg.htm, и в същото време, когато попадне в своята среда - той се превръща щастлив и див кръвопиец. До вилата има едно дере - когато Марти отиде на Варна, в него се събужда Хищника. Веднага избягва в дерето и по цяла седмица оттам не се чува нищо друго освен воя на вълците, лаенето на кучетата и крясъка на птиците. Точно, когато "родителите му" (тъст ми и тъщата ми) са изгубили всяка надежда, че ще го видят отново, той се завръща горд, с чувството на победител, ветеран, преживял своята неразбираема война.
Та изречението: "котката изпи камъка и литна под нанагорнището" много точно описва, какво се случи последния път, преди да изчезне в дерето. Зад камъка стоеше Иванчо, моят син, който току що беше проходил. Откакто "навлекът" бе там, Марти не получаваше достатъчно внимание. Преди да избяха на хълма и след това да литне под нанагорнището (към дерето), Марти за последен път изпи със завистлив поглед камъка, зад който се криеше Иванчо.
Comment # 2 by Todor Arnaudov | 18 March 2004 @ 21:58 EET | 0
Control Units, Causes, Goals, Achieving goals of a Control Unit == Pleasure
“Reasonable behaviour” - a search for local maxima of alterating and changing functions of expected pleasure and many more
[In brief, the concept of "Control unit" or CU means something like a causal force, it's more complex, but explanation is in the bigger theory of Universe and Mind to be translated.]
Thanks for the opinion and for the opportunity to post some more reflections on the topic... (...)
I agree that “meaning” has other meanings in different contexts and circumstances. E.g. “a purpose”, “goal”. “There is no purpose” means that I don't have a reason to do it, there is nothing that I want to achieve, linked to this “item”. With “reason” or “cause” - you cannot find a cause that could cause you to do this particular thing.
However, the first, primary causes are something with many features, as well. E.g.:
I feel thirst, I want to drink some water. Then, my goal becomes “to satisfy” my thirst. Then I start to search for means to achieve this goal in the possibly closest spatio-temporal area around me. I found this location is the sink, which is a few seconds away. I'm moving my chair a bit, get up, walk, open the door, pass through the corridor, open another door, turn around, take a cup, put the cup under the fountain, catch the tap for the cold water with my right hand, turn it; water spills; the cup gets filled, I turn the tap back; bend my hand back; prepare my mouth to drink; bend the cup, spill its content in my mouth; swallow....
Ready! The thirst was satisfied...
Machine: Why did he drink some water?
Human: Why, really I did?
Inpatient one: Because he was thirsty... It's obvious!
Machine: I don't think so. Why not the cause to be that because one or another Nuclear World power DID NOT sent Hell just a moment before, so that he couldn't drink? Or why because there WAS NOT an earthquake etc. [Right, this is also because of Occam's Razor, complex examples – 2010 addition, but the point is that there are zillions of possible reasons and causes, and we're pruning them because we're searching for simple explanations.] There are simpler meaningful possibilities – if on the table next to him there was a bottle of a juice or another soft drink, he might haven't drunk water, but this beverage. In the situation's definition, it was not told that there was not such a bottle. This is an assumption, you don't even think that it is possible.
So it is possible that there was a bottle of soft drink, a Coke, and he has realized in this very moment, that those kind of soft drinks cause bad teeth and he has recalled the visit to his dentist. This is not mentioned in text, but it is not denied either.
And why not say that he drank water, because:
- He is a human? Or because...
- He is a living being? Or because
- It was hot? Or because...
- There was a schedule of the water supply, and in this very moment there was water in the tubes. Or.. because not him, but his throat was dried then. !!!! пресъхнало
Or because last day he did forget to fill the bottle that he keeps next to the computer.
And the reason, the cause not to fill the bottle was that previous night he was too much into commenting in an Internet forum. The reason to be so concentrated in this forum was that...
And so on... You, poor humans, there are endless number of possible reasons, not just those simple one, that you short-sighted humans see next to your nose.
Impatient one 2: Shut up, you stupid piece of metal. What the heck you know? You're a machine, machines can't think... Everything is formalized in you, so you're stupid. And there was a sentence... the more you know, the less you know.... Errr..
Impatiant one 3: He drank water, because he was thirsty. It's so simple!
Human: It seems so, because when one is searching for reasons, for causes, he is limiting the space of the search the way that fits his own desires in the particular case. If one has read “He wanted to drink some water”, the first and easy plausible explanation we see is written in direct words. Immediately, while one is creating the virtual world of this situation, he is setting precomputed, biased reasons, based on his initial impression. Then, when one seems to search for the causes, he finds them immediately – nice and easy, there are right there in the root of the search tree..
Impatient one 2: Did you believe this machine? You shouldn't! Never be persuaded by a computer, no matter as smart it seems to discuss. No matter how it appears to be, it cannot think, because it doesn't have a soul. I don't know what exactly a soul is, but .. Blah-blah...
Human: But you cannot drink water, if there is no a sink and a tap. The reason and cause he drank water was both his desire and the existence of a mean, a source to achieve its goal!
Machine: Good. And why did he bend your arm before he drank?
Impatient one: Why... In order to drink! You are so dumb!
Machine: But the arm doesn't know what is “to drink”. It is just a lever. He bended his arm, because his brain instructed the arm to bend. But this instruction was sent, because the human decided to drink, without bending the whole body and drink directly from the water jet. And there could be a reason not to do it, because he has a trauma in his back.... Why did he have the trauma? Because a few days ago he attempted to lift a too heavy weight; he did, because he wanted to practice, because he saw his girlfriend looking too much strong men's asses. Therefore, if we stop the search for a cause right here, then the reason, the cause that the man has bended his arm was his girlfriend, and her looks to the strong men's asses. However, why not saying that those strong men are the reason? The woman wouldn't look them, if they didn't exist. Or they muscles? The mere existence of muscles. Or these specific circumstances – in a specific moment they met strong men in the park, the woman looked at their asses, the man was jealous, he tried to lift heavy weights in order to practice, then this caused a trauma to his back, then he wanted to drink some water, and he used to bend his back and drink without a cup, but this time he couldn't, so that's why he bended his arm...
The conclusion is that there are many and many possible reasons and causes that are actually true in the same time, because the reason and cause for every event could be assumed to be everything that has happened, and depends on the moment we decide to stop and simplify. In the total, common cause there is no meaning – there is no specific reason/purpose/meaning/cause. The intelligent beings make sense and choose causes/reasons/purposes/meanings, based on their knowledge (and aim; knowledge = their biases/structure/configuration/state/development...).
(The intelligent beings are fitting reality to their virtual reality - fitting the laws in their virtual worlds to the laws they assume to be laws to the real world, comment from 2010).
Impatient one: The question was, what the brain has instructed the arm...
Patient one: Why what the brain has instructed? The cause the arm bended was that the muscles bended, then they pulled the bones, which are supporting the soft tissue of the arm and the hand, which is holding the cup.
Machine: Human call “reasons/causes/purposes” those ones that he himself, in particular, has accepted to call “causes”. In this specific case – the first items that appear in his mind. The first items that appear to a mind are his thoughts and feelings, linked to a particular event he recalls. And if a plausible enough cause/reason/purpose is found (usually “enough” is really a small ammount), the search is concluded and the searcher doesn't ask for more.
Patient: I see, but I'm tired already...Konstantin: (…) There we are! For him, this is an act that is filled with deep meaning, but how would you persuade a computer program? Especially if the program is counting the number of viruses and bacterias that has entered the banker's organism in that very moment.
The persuasion depends on the both sides. If nobody can persuade you to do something means this only this, not that a reason/cause/purpose to do what he want you to do does not exist at all. If a man wants to do something, the most frequent reason he finds is... because he wants! Usually one doesn't know why he wants exactly this, or if he knows a little, he can “prove” it with explanations like “I want it, because I like to do it!”, “I enjoy it” or so. If, for some reason, one has to explain it in a more persuasive way, usually one searches for a plausible explanation why would someone want to do it and why would do it. If one doesn't want to do something, he says “I don't like to do something” - and always can find a reason why he don't want to do it.
If this imaginary program is intelligent, it could easily find many explanations.
Imaginary_AI: What a dummy program would deny that the act of the banker was meaningless? This banker, this is the richest man in Bulgaria and according to statistics, a few months later he has considerably enlarged his wealth. That means, he has reached a higher local maximum of his wealth (see below). Therefore, according to the behavioral model of his virtual control unit (see below) and the statistics, he has selected reasonable/meaningful actions and has taken good decisions in his spatio-eventual(based on events)-temporal region. His actions and decisions has led him to his the goal, which easily can be implied as “possessing more money”.
Imaginary_AI: There is no reason not to accept that buying the donut was not a part of his strategy to reach the general goal “being wealthier” (for example, it made him feel good, you give yourself such an explanation), because all and every actions and events, happening to a person, are linked and related to the way he thinks/reasons and to his following actions and decisions. All actions, done with a desire of the virtual control unit itself, intentionally and not forced - are meaningful and reasonable to itself. That means they are target actions, goals. Usually such target actions are caused by specific desires, initiated by a search of local maxima or high plateaus [of a reward]. My living friend will explain you this stuff below. [Reinforcement learning.]
Konstantin: To me, the thirst and urge for finding a meaning does not prune contradictions, in contrary – it's searching for the cause, for the prime mover, the initial force. This is not related to contradictions. For example, a tawdry clock with a thermometer is not incompatible, contradictory – it can hang on the wall, and neither the clock, nor the thermometer disturbs the other. However, to me this object is pointless, meaningless – you can't tell me any reason to put it on the wall.
It is possible that no one can tell you a reason to put in on the wall, because you think that it is tawdry and apparently this is "bad" and undesirable to you. Indeed - contradictions have to be searched and checked in the whole memory - of the evaluating unit (the agent, the human) together with the environment. [All history and possible relations.]
For example, one can find bad memories, related to such objects. [Which one does not realize, but they are fixed in the patterns of his mind.]
Konstantin: On the other hand, the opposite phenomenon happens every day. People do absurd things, which however appear to be full of deep meaning. Programmers sing - out of tune... A banker who owns millions and visits luxury restaurants once passes next to an old lady who is selling donuts; then he takes one from a dirty bag and buys a donut for 30 cents. No doubt this donut was made by a poor snotty baker, but... For the banker, this is the best food and the best thing in the world!
I don't think that any action or decision of any control unit is actually "absurd".
An evaluator calls it "absurd" when he or it doesn't really know the model of control unit's behaviour, or when the evaluator assumes that it knows how the evaluated unit/being "should behave" in a given situation.
However, if something unexpected or thought to be absurd/impossible has happened, it is apparent not that it is "absurd", but that the evaluator was WRONG. Either his model is wrong/not precise enough/confused or it could be precise, but it lacks the data required to make correct, complete and precise predictions.
If any Control Unit does anything, it has a particular meaning/reason/cause/goal behind it, even if it can be vague or unintelligible for an external evaluator.
The meaning/reason/cause is specific, it belongs to a particular working Virtual Control Unit. It is not a generalization, it is not a set of rules, written in a textbook. This is a specific model of something, that runs somewhere
The meaning of "meaning" right here is a GOAL. Any action of a Control Unit (CU), done because of instruction given by itself alone (and not forced by external CU, e.g. moving a hand with a wire) is tautologically target action for this Control Unit, and it displays the urge of the CU to achieve the "purpose/meaning/reason" of it to exist, according to its own understanding about what its goal is in the moment of decision. [Here "its own understanding includes also implied in the specific construction/architecture/the way the device/being works]
See my Teenage Theory of Mind and Universe for more. To be translated and published... http://research.twenkid.com
The purpose - the GOAL - especially for the compound CU is changeable and the more complete information about the exact event and circumstances we have, the more precise that GOAL could be guessed by an external evaluator.
A human are individuals in the sense that its indivisible - indivisible is what he understands "he is", but even theoretically he is incapable to know or understand exactly why it does what it does with the maximum possible resolution of control.
I think human [can be modeled as it...] is a complex of Control Units (virtual computers, simulators), where each of them is aiming at completing at maximum precision its program, the purpose of its existence (it's implied by its architecture and operation).
An indication of reaching to a goal of behaviour - finding of an optimum in the learning function - is the feeling of pleasure.
When a Control Unit detects that it has reached the goal, it “feels pleasure” and aims to fly about this part of the graph of its [reward] function.
Therefore I believe that human mind can be built as a mixture, a system of multilayer [hierarchical] control units, where each CU at a higher level controls with a lower resolution that the one below. The higher level control unit controls more imprecisely than the lower one.
For example, the top level of control sends a command with a length of 16 bits, while the description of the precise action to be done requires 128 bits or even... 2^128 bits. The details, the rest of those bits - 112 or 2^128 - 16 are actually completed by the "controlled" unit.
(It only seems that it's controlled, because the action is more dependent on its operation that on the operation of the top unit. [When the evaluations is done, evaluator probably usually starts from the top level, giving it “will”, initial cause... - comment from 2010]
A more specific example:
They say, that we can consciously control the moves of our fingers. Therefore our mind, our conscious can cause the finger to move...
We are free in the sense that when we think that if we want "I'll bend my finger right now!", then the miracle happens - exactly that finger bends. It seems that it moves, because of our free will. (This can be interpreted also as a coincidence, a match, and not a real control (causal relation), in terms of other articles from my theory from the time – comment from 2010).
This is power and control. However, in order the finger to bend in the reality and not just one to notice it in his mind, an enormous amount of information needs to be sent somewhere.
Not just selection of a finger (say 20 or 30 bits) and a definition of the a momentum, how strongly to bend the finger or so - this is just a virtual definition of a finger in our minds!
In the reality, the information that needs to be "entered" in order to execute that simple action includes the exact description of the precise movements and changes in every single particle that builds the finger, with the maximum possible resolution of the Universe.
Every single particle has a particular acceleration and it is in a particular place. Mind doesn't posses all that information and it can't, because it doesn't control in the strong sense of the world.
"Control" in its strong sense means with the highest possible resolution of control. [In the given environment/world/virtual world].
So measured as an amount of information, the cause of the movement of the finger is contained more in the finger itself than in the mind, the apparent control unit, because the description of the finger and the muscles that are acting on it is much longer than the description of the simple abstract instruction that we can realize and control [consciously].
Each CU assumes that it is the cause for the events to happen, that it is "free" and does what it wants, because each CU is similar to the only really free Control Unit - the whole Universe; it includes all details together. The whole Universe controls in the strong sense - what it "wants" happens, because it defines what is possible or not, and executes what's supposed to.
However, not every CU is complex enough in order to declare "I do control". Human mind is complex enough to do it, but actually the body is what controls it, not the reverse. The conscious can embrace only a part of the causes for its own existence, and no matter how hard it is searching for the deep ultimate causes of its own actions and decisions, it can't reach to them.
This is the free will, the freedom. The Control Unit (a human mind) cannot find the causes and reasons for its behaviour in the way [the precision, the domain ...] that it assumes that it should, if they had existed, and that's how the control unit proves that its own behaviour is free and unpredictable not only for an external evaluator, but universally.
Also, this is a convenient conclusion, when the CU intentionally aims not to find proves for the predictability, because one of the major goals of every CU is to feel as a MASTER. No matter how simple or complex (built by many simpler) the CU is. CU aims to feel as a MASTER and not to put this in doubt. CU are similar to Universe and they aim to be like it.
TO BE CONTINUED.... with part 3/4
Other keywords: Universal AI, Twenkid Research