[FRIAM] A* and emulatoin

Prof David West profwest at fastmail.fm
Mon Jun 27 15:32:34 EDT 2022

Syncretic might be a term of interest here. Usually applied in the area of religion, e.g., the fusion of Vudun and Catholicism, so that Legba is a black saint in his niche in the Catholic cathedral in Havana.

My favorite example of syncretism was a nighttime pageant in Rio de Janeiro. A hill was covered in matte black so a spotlighted figure would appear to descend from heaven when walking down the hill. At the top of the hill, the figure was the Virgin Mary in immaculate white robes. As She descended clothing was shed and when she reached the bottom of the hill she was fully naked and 9 months pregnant, the personification of an Afro-Brazilian fertility goddess.

dave west

On Mon, Jun 27, 2022, at 11:04 AM, glen wrote:
> Yeah, I don't like "synthetic" as much because it seems to rely on a 
> false dichotomy between us and the other animals. Is a termite mound 
> "synthetic"? Granted, "artificial" may hide some of that, too. But I 
> think it's reasonable to say there are, say, naturally occurring 
> (geological) mounds. Then there are artisan-generated, artificial, 
> termite mounds, where the termites are the artisans. [⛧]
> And none of that artisanal stuff *requires* the artisan to 
> reductionistically "understand" everything from first principles in the 
> way "synthetic" might. "Synthetic" also often carries another false 
> dichotomy between synthesis and analysis. It's false because nobody 
> ever does pure [synthe|analy]sis. They're always done together. 
> "Artificial" allows for that mode mixing. [We've had this discussion 
> before in the usage of terms like "naturfact".]
> And that targets artificial morality nicely, I think. I've never really 
> grokked the difference between morality and ethics, I think because 
> making the distinction is a kind of composition/division fallacy. 
> Ethics seems to carry the pretense of (or a slippery slope to) 
> universality/monism, whereas morals seem to carry the pretense of 
> individualism/relativism. If laid out on a spectrum, that's fine. But 
> to draw a sharp line seems like sophistry.
> While I'm a consultant on a project regarding the ethics of AI in 
> medicine, what interests me most is simulating the agency of an 
> individual practitioner ... similar to the way we used to play 
> red-blue-gray teams back at lockheed ... or the way you might simulate 
> modern [cough] cyberwarfare.
> [⛧] Of course, you have to go all the way down to the 3rd defn in AH to 
> find the right one. So if "synthetic" might mean "cobbled together from 
> stuff you found lying around", then maybe it's better than 
> "artificial". What I mean by both terms is closer to "glitch" ... a 
> little bit of intent and a little bit of accident.
> AH "3. A phenomenon or feature not originally present or expected and 
> caused by an interfering external agent, action, or process, as an 
> unwanted feature in a microscopic specimen after fixation, in a 
> digitally reproduced image, or in a digital audio recording."
> On 6/27/22 09:54, Steve Smith wrote:
>> I appreciate your addition of the 'M' to the *-match and want to remind myself out loud in front of you that I once (and maybe should again) preferred *synthetic* to *artificial*.... in the early days of VR, "Artificial Reality" was in the running as a term, but I felt *Synthetic Reality* carried the assertive sense of intentionality.  "Artificial" felt more passive... an artifact of a willful creation with "Synthetic" feeling closer to the dynamic act of *synthesizing*.  And of course now (maybe not then), the spirit OF a mashup vs a whole-cloth thing comes through with "Synthetic".   This of course before I came to learn the terms artifice and artificer in this context.
>> Is "Ethics" not in some sense *artificed* or *constructed* morality?   I don't know, it is definitely an interesting tangent to all the other tangents that we tangent on here (tangentially).   As an aside, does a tangent of a tangent (of a tangent) imply higher and higher derivatives, it seems like it is precisely that?!  but in what dimension?
>> On 6/27/22 4:16 PM, glen wrote:
>>> Thanks very much for that link to mental contagion. It targets a number of problems I have with intersubjectivity, even if the author's nowhere near as skeptical as I think they should be. >8^D
>>> I drafted and deleted a response to Marcus' point about simple or high-order prediction. My draft targeted the distinction between [si|e]mulation more directly than yours. But yours homesteads a much more aggressive territory. (Tangentially, one of the A*'s I've been most interested in lately is AM - artificial morality. It turns out that simulation has a huge role to play in spoofing biases.)
>>> I intended to end that deleted post with my old rant about the (lack of a) difference between verification and validation ... a standard pedantic stance of gray bearded simulationists. I was once laughed out of the room at an SCS meeting for suggesting they're foundationally the same thing. Pffft!
>>> But all this hearkens back to the long-running thread on [in|ex]tensional attributes and the ontological status of their distinction. When is mimicry sufficient and when is "from whole cloth" necessary? As someone quipped re: Lemoine's attribution of sentience to LaMDA, "I have met meat Beings I consider less than sentient."
>>> On 6/25/22 23:55, Steve Smith wrote:
>>>> This is what made it through my semi-permeable filter-bubble membrane first thing this morning (CET):
>>>> https://theconversation.com/googles-powerful-ai-spotlights-a-human-cognitive-glitch-mistaking-fluent-speech-for-fluent-thought-185099
>>>> 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.
>>>> https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/the-cognitive-glitches-of-humans-laurie-santos-on-what-makes-the-human-mind-so-special
>>>> 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.
> -- 
> ꙮ Mɥǝu ǝlǝdɥɐuʇs ɟᴉƃɥʇ' ʇɥǝ ƃɹɐss snɟɟǝɹs˙ ꙮ
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