Friday, April 21, 2006

But that's not how people think...

I've often heard that complaint when I describe that Cyc uses deduction to do reasoning. That's not how people think. First of all, I don't want to claim that Cyc "thinks" at all, but sometimes its expedient to use expressions like that.

As for how people think, who knows? There's a lot of research in that area, but we really don't know yet how people think. I suspect it's quite different than the processing that goes on in the Cyc inference engine. But who cares? It was never a goal to emulate human beings; it was merely a goal to in some sense understand the world of humans.

Consider the airplane. It is the man-made version of a bird, only faster, more powerful and controllable. Where are its feathers? Why don't its wings flap?

Many of man's tools serve the purpose of amplifying some existing capability. The telephone amplifies the ear and mouth. The bicycle amplifies power of the legs. A technology such as Cyc can amplify the power of the mind even if it doesn't work at all like one.


At 1:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think too much time is spent trying to recreate the human condition. The irony is that we all take it on faith.

In other words, if we were told that someone had figured out exactly how the human brain works and they had managed to recreate it with a quantum computer it really wouldn't matter.

Because I take on the faith that John De Oliveira is a rational being. I have no proof outside of my own senses.

And that is why it doesn't matter whether a computer really thinks so longs as I think it thinks.

If there were a computer program that would answer in exactly the same way John De Oliveira answered I would have no way way of telling the difference and so to me it wouldn't matter.

Just like John De Oliveria is taking on faith that this is being written by a human being and not a clever computer bot. Would it be any less meaningful if I were, in fact, a bot?

Descartes evil genius example works too. If the evil genius made a perfect copy of you and only the evil genius knew it would make no difference to me.

Computers will be thinking in the same way John De Oliveira is "thinking" when a casual observers cannot tell the difference.

Just like this would seem to be the work of a human if you, a human, thought it to be the work of a human.

The rest is just semantics.

-Lord Volton

At 3:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess you are interested in philosophy, so you should know, that this simple functionalist view, is not the only one.

As far, as I can see Cyc is not aimed to recreate the way people are thinking. It's just a ground for any sensible software, which processes linguistic data, such as automatic translation and automatic summaryzing software.


At 10:09 AM, Blogger #$JohnD said...

True Cyc is not aimed at recreating the way people think. Also true that it or something like it will be an important part of sensible software. Processing linguistic data is only one of the things it will do.

At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was just an example - NLP is my favourite filed of interest, that's why I mentioned it. But very remarkable example - I think that software which doesn't posses knowledge about the world in the form and magnitude of Cyc, won't success in this field.

Moreover - I think that Cyc will.

Best regards


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