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November 14, 2007


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Oleg Mihailik

Free will doesn't contradicts with determinism.

Look, there are video records of football games. Although the result of the game is pretty much determined at the time you watch the record, it's nevertheless kind of fight of free wills of player.

'Free' will means that it's you who makes the decision, not some external force. And that's happens all the time. But the mathematical nature of the mind makes the 'you' itself deterministic.

Like choosing strawberry over yougurt. It's you who makes the choice, but people who knows you may calculate it ahead.

This calculation ahead doesn't differ at all from videotaping. Knowing the result doesn't give the control over the result.

Anthony Cowley

Wes, I think the apparent disappointment in AI advances that have happened (relating to the "AI is whatever hasn't been done yet." quote), is somewhat akin to NP Completeness.

I think it is a common intuition that the creation of an AI will shed a holistically revealing light on human intelligence. That is, solving the problem of creating an artificial intelligence is equivalent to solving the problem of creating a natural intelligence. When an advance in AI proves to not quite enable us to whip up a human brain, or explain precisely how all the brain's mechanisms work, it must be the case that that particular advance was not NP Complete (or AI Complete, if you will), and so we move on.

Wesner Moise

NP Complete is orthogonal to "AI Complete."

Anthony, if your explanation is correct, then when natural language is shown (or has been shown) to be very mechanical (like mathematics and formal logic), we won't regard manipulating natural language as artificial intelligence.

Natural language will probably not reveal much about brain function, because it is not inherently tied to the brain, but it would be odd too because we do associate intelligence with the use of language.

Wesner Moise

Oleg, while it seems that you make a choice with every decision, you are still constrained by your past history.

Your choice is going to be the what one perceives as the "best" option at the moment. The best option is predictably the option offering the highest utility, given your past experiences, biology, and the current state of the world.

Oleg Mihailik

That just highlights that you cannot be free from yourself.

As long as experiences, biology and those logical and moral laws are core part of 'you', depending on them doesn't make you less free.

Jeremy Gray

Oleg, it is less about depending on these things and more about being driven by them.

If one could identify all of the myriad variables that go into every perceived choice, and their state at the time of "choice", along with the rules that govern the evaluation of those variables, one would surely find that the concept of "free will" disappears at that very moment.

The only thing that keeps the concept of free will alive is the fact that we lack full understanding of the variables and algorithms by which they are evaluated.

Marcel Popescu

"... he even questions whether humans are self-aware"

The amount of confusion in that statement is enormously amusing :)

On another topic, the Scott Addams link is a 404.

Marcel Popescu

"The only thing that keeps the concept of free will alive is the fact that we lack full understanding of the variables and algorithms by which they are evaluated."

This is not actually evidence of any sort, just a declaration of faith :)

Additionally, some experiments in quantum physics tend to disprove the "hidden variables" theory, claiming that the universe *is* non-deterministic at base. Not necessarily significant to the question of whether the *will* is deterministic, but a good warning sign nevertheless.

Chris W.

Typo: It's Janna Levin. (See the linked page at Barnard.)

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My name is Wesner Moise. I am a software entrepreneur developing revolutionary AI desktop applications. I worked as a software engineer in Microsoft Excel group for six years during the 1990s. I worked on PivotTables and wrote the most lines of code in Excel 97-- about 10 times the median developer. I have a Harvard BA in applied math/computer science and a UCLA MBA in technology entrepreneurship. I am a member of the Triple Nine Society, a 99.9 percentile high-IQ society.

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