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Some more thoughts on AI

My phone line has been out for two weeks (the previous record was 9 days). The forks of a tractor brought down the phone line. Nothing new there. It happens now and again.

This got me thinking about artificial intelligence once more, something I often bang on about here.

‘Thought’ (consciousness) cannot be explained mathematically (and thus can’t be written into an algorithm). The flip side of this problem is that the Turing machine/digital computer is a deterministic device - algorithms can only work with predictability - whereas it seems highly probable that the mysterious process we call ‘thought’ does not follow the same rules of predictability, so even if you could somehow formularise thought a digital computer would still be unable to express it.

If you think the thing we call ‘Nature’ is deterministic you are perhaps taking a large leap of faith.

My phone line has been down for 2 weeks…


Deterministic materialism is already taking one of it’s periodic withdrawals into eclipse again, behind its yin-yang counterpart of idealism. High time too! The only reason this is not more openly admitted is that the gocos (guardians of current orthodoxy) of determinism are fighting a fanatical, dawkinsoid rear-guard action, to try to deny that there are many things - consciousness being the big one, with its mysterious attendant handmaiden psi - which just can’t be fitted into the materialists’ deterministic worldview.

Materialist determinism got its death-blow around a hundred years back, with the mind-blowing discoveries in quantum mechanics. We’re still waiting for it to relax its death-grip, bugger off, and let philosophical idealism have it’s now-scheduled new time in the sun. We’re not going to get much forward in our continuing quest to understand our reality until that happens… :slight_smile:

Rhis, I’m a bit knackered at the moment - lots going on.

Perhaps we both agree that the only possible explanation of ‘consciousness’ resides in the quantum world.

My cat Herricka is sitting on the window sill and watching me while I type this. Herricka can jump up two feet, or ten feet, or whatever, with perfect precision. How does that work?

I’m not sure who’s more mad: me or the cat.

Herricka is Spring-Heeled Jack in a new incarnation. All cats are - except the over-weight pussies.

Herricka is so named because back in 2011 I was writing a book about the poet Robert Herrick, from the 16th century. (the book is still online at usual places).

The cat, a stray, I named Herrick, because I was writing the book at the time (check out the book; I’ll think you’ll like it). Herrick gave birth to 3 lots of kittens and then ‘we had her done’ and she was renamed ‘Herricka’.

There’s the usual long back story to all this, that I won’t go into here.

Suffice to say, Herricka waves a paw.

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Where can I find that book? Online?

I’ll send you a free copy (PDF). It’s only about 25,000 words or so, yet might be of interest.

In fact I can probably try to give a link to it here.

Nope, no luck with that. Here’s where it’s at:

Message me privately and I’ll e-mail you a free copy of the book. I think you might find it interesting, not just for the politics but also for the poetry.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

There are just over 1,400 poems in ‘Hesperides: Or, The Works Both Humane & Divine’. Seventy four of them mention a woman called Julia. There are many other poems in the collection that don’t actually name Julia yet are obviously about her. Herrick’s obsession with this woman accounts for about 10% of the poetry in Hesperides, which prompts an oft asked question: who was Julia? Nothing is known about her. There is no historical record. This extended essay examines Herrick’s life and his poetry and the Julia poems in an attempt to discover the real Julia, and comes to a somewhat startling conclusion.

If you don’t want to go through the board message system my address is:


Web address: www.localradio.fr

(until they take me out again)

Julia could have been his version of Dante’s Beatrice and Petrach’s Laura. Such conventions were widespread amongst poets of Herrick’s era. Another variant is Marvell’s ‘Juliana’ in ‘The Mower To The Glow-Worms’

" Ye living lamps, by whose dear light
The nightingale does sit so late,
And studying all the summer night,
Her matchless songs does meditate;

Ye country comets, that portend
No war nor prince’s funeral,
Shining unto no higher end
Than to presage the grass’s fall;

Ye glow-worms, whose officious flame
To wand’ring mowers shows the way,
That in the night have lost their aim,
And after foolish fires do stray;

Your courteous lights in vain you waste,
Since Juliana here is come,
For she my mind hath so displac’d
That I shall never find my home."

Many of these lasses didn’t really exist, I suspect. Or if they did, they got completely transmuted in the poets’ Musification of them.

I’m emailing you my address, Rob.