Artificial Intelligence

Lots of website forms require you to type in a verification code in order to prove you’re a human being and not a spambot. A while ago someone had the idea of replacing this with some pictures. They used four pictures – two cats and two dogs – and the verification procedure required you to identify the two cats. This is a simple procedure for a human – much easier than reading those irritating verification codes – but impossible for a machine intelligence.

The modern scientific view is that human beings are able to take all the images of cats and abstract the general idea of a cat, or catness. In AI they call this non-variant representation, but spiritually speaking we could talk about the archetype of the cat. What makes it so easy for a human being to respond is that we connect to the cat archetype. This is not the idea of a cat (generated from all known cat possibilities), but the idea behind a cat. In the one case we go from the particular to the general, and in the other from the general to the particular. Suppose we discovered some new kind of cat, say a cat only 6 inches long. The idea of a cat – derived from all known cat possibilities – might have trouble deciding whether or not this was a cat, because it has to do with definitions. Intuitively, however, we’d know straight away.

The idea of trying to understand the functioning of the human mind (not brain) by applying ideas from the world of machines is absurd

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~ by scalambra on May 14, 2009.

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