[FRIAM] A* and emulatoin

Steve Smith sasmyth at swcp.com
Sun Jun 26 02:55:37 EDT 2022

This is what made it through my semi-permeable filter-bubble membrane 
first thing this morning (CET):


which became grist for the mill we have been grinding with here of 
late.  It highlights interesting things like how flawed (but useful?) 
the Turing Test is.  The TT represents precisely "the glitch".    I 
think this idea points in the general direction of conscious 
empathy...   if we recognize language fluency *as* mental fluency, then 
it is more obvious that we would grant others who present language 
fluency as being similar to ourselves, possibly assuming that "other" is 
closer to "not other" simply because of the familiar language that flows 
out of us.

In my (limited) EU travels this season I have heard only a half-dozen 
languages with half as many accents/dialects each... In english-speaking 
ireland, a little gaelic slipped out here and there but the accent 
referenced it with every lilt.   This was not unfamiliar to my ear, so I 
mostly heard it as "same", but in Wales, the Welsh was not nearly (at 
all?) familiar and the romanisation/anglification of the written Welsh 
was overwhelmingly unfamiliar.  When I read a sign, I felt like I was 
left with a mouthful of consonants and diacritics that I had to spit out 
just to clear my vocal passage to start on the next phrase.

   It gave me more sympathy for my non Southwest colleagues struggling 
with the various anglifications of the hispanification of a dozen 
different native American languages (starting in my neighborhood with 
Tewa/Tiwa/Towa and expanding out withe Keres and Dine' and Zuni ...)  
The (nearly conventional/normalized) rendering of most of these 
languages is for me familiar enough that I don't struggle or wince, but 
after (especially Welsh)... "I get it".   When confronted with each 
British accent (I couldn't identify or distinguish many if any) it took 
a few hours at least to become habituated enough to not be disturbed 
(intrigued or put off, depending) by the unfamiliar sound patterns and 
often idiomatic constructions.

I thought i would be able to "hear" French as comfortably as I did 
Italian 10 years ago, but it seems the "Romance" connections between 
Spanish and Italian and the plethora of Latin words/phrases in science 
made it much more familiar than French. The tiny bit of French I think I 
am habituated to are a few Americanized stock phrases and maybe a very 
little bit of dialogue from movies...  After a week of hearing almost 
nothing *but* French it no longer felt outrageously "Other" even if I 
couldn't hardly parse a thing out of a run-together-spoken-phrase.   
Mary and I observed one another trying to speak English to someone who 
did not speak much if any and we realized that we were both prone to 
repeat the same sentence with a word choice or two changed, but more 
emphatically (and therefore more run-together) each time. Not helpful, 
and perhaps what the few French who bothered to speak to us once it was 
established that we had no language in common, were doing themselves.   
It was hard to recognize even word-breaks in the word-salad coming at 
us.    The little German we were exposed to had a *different* set of 
familiar words and sounds and I think the English and German might have 
a much stronger phonemic overlap, making it not sound quite as 
foreign... though I was left wanting to clear my throat after hearing 
much spoken german... and then here in the Netherlands with *many* 
English-speaking-with-Dutch-Accent we are much more comfortable...   and 
much of the written Dutch is familiar even when the pronunciation is a 
git foreign.


In trying to (re)find the first article, I ran across this article which 
was a bit more interesting to me.   The point they make about human 
cognitive bias against anyone who speaks differently (acutely 
illuminated by the once-familiar term "deaf and dumb" or "dumb-mute" for 
those who could not speak (due to deafness, aphasia, or perhaps some 
trauma?   The line from the Rock Opera "Tommy"s Pinball Wizard comes to 
mind:  "That deaf, dumb and blind kid, could sure play a mean pin ballll!"

A counter to the *negative* bias I recently heard was:  "Don't mistake 
an accent for a personality"...

It is fascinating to me how many ways we can split a hair in discussing 
AI, etc.  A* really.   Intelligence, Reasoning, Life, Consciousness, 
etc. ad nauseum.   And yet it is useful (I think) to note that no one of 
them is really broad nor narrow enough at the same time.   Each is a 
facet or reflection of the other.   The second article seems to discuss 
"emotional intelligence" or I think more aptly "emotional knowledge".    
My very first (and practically only) published "artpiece"  was a visual 
study on the distinction between "knowing" and "knowing-about", with AI 
climbing the steep part of the hill toward a pinnacle (or more likely 
series of false summits) of "knowing about" without possibly getting at 
all any closer (at all) to "knowing".

This leads me back to Marcus' haunting suggestion that "is learning 
anything more than imitation/emulation?"

Following Glen's ideation about bureaucracy as a form of tech, I find 
that a great deal of my daily interaction with other people is, in fact, 
with their bureaucratic roles.  I am seeking a transaction... knowledge, 
information, material goods, a service.   And given the level of the 
mutual (mis)understanding I've been enduring for over a month now in 
those transactions, It now feels like a luxury to expect a service 
person to articulate their preferences and basis of their preferences in 
a given baked good, bit of unfamiliar produce, or even (gawdess forbid) 
Beer! But it has trained me to "listen for emotional content" more than 
substance.   If I ask for a "Blonde" or a "Bruun" or a "Trippel" or a 
"Wit" and they rattle off something about one or more of them, I will 
choose one based on the level of excitement in their voice-eye over any 
imagined information content their response implied.   I am sometimes 
disappointed but almost always surprised.   The vocabulary of European 
Beers overlaps (up to language) what I am familiar with amongst American 
Craft beers but my exploration is wider (through clumsiness if nothing 
else).   My best strategy is simply to (try to) ask for "whatever is 
brewed locally".  Also a good strategy for food it seems.
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