Saturday, June 11, 2005

Artificial Intelligence

The contemporary debate in some American schools is whether or not to teach the "Intelligent Design theory" alongside Evolutionary theories in a science course. Besides the fact that this concept of "Intelligent Design" being paraded around as an alternative scientific hypothesis is absurdly insane, there is a much more important issue at the heart of the debate. Regardless of one's religious or scientific beliefs, there are many who accept the idea that there is some kind of inherent order and logic in the way the universe works. It is as if the Universe "knew" what it needed to evolve to what it is today. It is as if plants "knew" how to create chlorophyll the right way in order to survive. At one point in my life, I too subscribed to this notion of a conglomeration of elements by random chance that gave rise to an extremely improbably, nonetheless very REAL, ORDERLY Universe. However, learning and growing intellectually in Rationalism and Objectivism, I have come to understand that all the Universe is, is just Reality. It exists as it is. It has always existed as is, and with the necessary logic of its own nature, it will evolve into that which it will be. The so-called "order" or "intelligence" we see in the Universe is actually a projection onto it of our own rationality and tendency to make sense of the world. Gestalt Psychology talks about the principles of the human brain. The human brain seeks to make sense of the world around it. The brains seeks to rationalize, analyze, and utilize all the information it receives and creates a paradigm that we subscribe to. Upon receiving knowledge through observation, experimentation, and indoctrination we adapt our paradigms, adjust our ideas, discard false notions and understand the truth others. For example, color. We look around us and we see color. This screen is black, the words are white, the pen is blue, etc. At first, we tend to believe that these elements objectively in and of themselves possess the pigmentations of those certain colors. However, with further scientific knowledge we come to understand that the phenomena of color is merely a perception of our brains as the eye feeds it information on different light wavelengths that emit different colors. So, objects in and of themselves do not have the color pigmentations but they are endowed with colors by the reflection of light at various wavelengths that are perceived by our brains as those colors. Similarly, the Universe, and all the elements in the Universe. There is no inherent, essential, objective, independent "order" in the Universe. According to Randian metaphysics, there is no Artificial Intelligence that exists outside of us humans - we are the only verifiable, objective intelligent consciousness on this planet. It is the PROJECTION of our own rational intelligence with which we study this Universe that allows us to make sense of this Universe. We are concerned with only our consciousness of intelligence because it is purely our own personal experience of the Universe that we are placing under scrutiny. If there were absolutely NO rational intelligent humans on the planet, assuming that we were all apes and animals, then would there still be any "Intelligence" in the Universe? Absolutely NOT! A dog perceives no intelligence in its life or in the things around it. The very assertion that there is "Intelligence" inherent in the nature of the Universe is to REQUIRE that that INTELLIGENCE be perceiveable. Without a consciousness that is able to perceive any order by the virtue of its own faculty of intelligence, there can not be any ARTIFICAL Intelligence in the Universe. Thus, the splitting of cells makes sense, the character of DNA strands make sense, the production of chlorophyll makes sense... yes, all of these things make SENSE because WE INTELLIGENT HUMANS exist to MAKE INTELLIGENT SENSE out of what we see! It would be absolutely impossible for a hippopotamus to perceive that "sense" in all of those things. On a side note, I'd like to point however that I am in no way advocating a Kantian view of transcendental idealism with respect to our perception of the Universe. While (I assume, though I may be wrong) Kant would say that the inherent characteristics of our thinking minds, i.e. adherence to chronology based on space and time, ACTUALLY MAKES the Universe intelligent(i.e. external forms have to fit internal criteria of the mind, the Copernican Revolution), the point I am trying to get across here is that the REALITY of the Universe AS IT IS (A is A) is perceivable to our minds and we are able to discover and study the laws of its mechanisms because of our faculty of reason and intelligence, thereafter which we mistakenly assume those properties of "intelligent knowledge" as being a character of the object being studied rather than the subject doing the studying. This is all I shall of this.


Blogger innommable said...

With regards to the universe, you wrote, "It has always existed as is." The "as is" part I understand, and logically, the universe is all that is the case. But I wonder, how are you so sure of the "always existed" part? How do you know there was once no universe, or at least that this universe did not exist at some point?

You give no credence to the theory that the universe was once naught, and was then formed? I understand the rejection of the idea of a transcendent being that created it, but to reject the idea that the universe began at some point is a bit thoughtless isn't it?

If you presume that the universe always was, what evidence do you have? Really, if we were to talk about the finitude, or infinitude, of the universe, it should be attributed to the unknown, as of yet. Not asserted one way or the other.

This is something that makes me doubt Objectivism. I wonder, you need a metaphysics, and that is the universe. Right? But then you say there is no beginning to all of this. That this has always been here, but it seems a bit, ummmm, antithetical to your whole philosophy of reason. I wonder, how do you reason that the universe has always been here? Do you have any data. I'd challenge you to prove that there is no beginning to the universe, and mind you I am not saying there is, simply that I don't know, and I don't think anyone else does either.

6/17/2005 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger Ergo Sum said...

You are absolutely right, and also very wrong.
You are fully correct in saying that based on our current knowledge, the beginning or lack thereof of the Universe is still unknown. All we have are theoretical probabilities.
You are fully wrong in saying, "you need a metaphysics, and that is the universe..."

First of all, the meaning of metaphysics that you seem to understand is incorrect, or maybe I am not able to recognize what you mean when you use the word 'metaphysics' in this context. The philosophy of Reason has nothing to do with the beginning or infinitude of the Universe. In either scenario, or in any other scenario that proves to be correct, the Philosophy of Reason will recognize that reality (or atleast attempt to understand the principles of that reality) and will not state anything that is antithetical to the facts.

Now with regards to what I said: "[The Universe] exists as is. It has always existed as is, and with the necessary logic of its own nature, it will evolve into that which it will be."
Maybe it was the poor choice of my words, but what I attempted to say by the words "always existed as is", was that the all the basic elements, all the fundamental principles, all the laws that we observe in our Universe today has always been the property or attribute of the Universe since the beginning (or in infinitude, whatever the case may be). This has never changed, and will never change based on the necessary logic of its nature. What will change or might change is OUR OWN UNDERSTANDING OF principles that is as yet unknown to us due to our own shortcomings.
The essential nature of the Universe is as is... always has been... and always will be. I was not making any statements as to nature of the existence of the Universe. I was making a statement on the essence of the Universe, I was trying to argue against the idea that the essence (or the essential property) of the Universe is intelligent. It is the essence of the Universe that is at discussion here, not the nature of its existence. The latter should rightfully belong in to the scientists to tackle.
Existence establishes identity regardless of the observer.

6/17/2005 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Ergo Sum said...

I have made another mistake in my choice of words in the previous post. I must clarify that.

In my previous post I said that all the basic elements of the Universe, all the fundamental principles, and all the laws that we observe in our Universe has always been an attribute of the Universe.
I'd like to replace the word "attribute" here, because the above statement might be properly perceived by some to understand that I am in effect contradicting my own position.
However, I would like to stress my use of the word "observe" in that same sentence. I wish to stress that everything that the Universe seems to be revealing to us, is in effect, OUR OWN INTELLIGENCE of this Universe based on our observation and study of it.
Nothing has ever changed in the way the Universe is. All has changed is this: many many years ago when neanderthal man looked up at the skies, he did not see any sense or intelligence in nature and the universe. It was because he had not yet fully developed his own mind. Today, when the modern scientist looks up at the sky, he sees so much sense and logic in the principles that he has able to formulate to aid his understanding of how consistently logical the universe is. Like a mechanical machine, only a whole lot more complex. But the attribute of intelligence here is not of the mechanical machine that merely functions consistently, but that of the observer who concretizes those principles, gives words to those actions, and understands all the laws that put this Universe in motion.
So, we OBSERVE the intelligence out there. Without us observing, there would be no intelligence.

6/17/2005 04:11:00 PM  

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