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Purposive Post

In chess there is the concept of attrition. If one player achieves material superiority over the other then they can try to "trade down" their equitable material leaving only the stronger armed. This is basically the first strategy learnt on the chess board. In a neural network, like my own, there is a discrete number of neurons. And this discrete number of neurons can only process, work on, so much information. I wish I had learnt as early as I did in chess that the simplest, most basic strategy of mental health is simply thinking "good" thoughts. Occupy those neurons! Use them for good!

This isn't an idea I got from a self-help book. But it certainly is a wonderful analogy, if not an outright model, of our own minds. This idea came to me while reading Purposive Systems. This is a collection of papers on cybernetics, from the 60s. What's surprising is we haven't outgrown these ideas. It seems to me that we were very excited about what computers at the time implicated but then somehow lost interest. Or perhaps we became afraid?

Clearly, we've little fear of computers now -- most of us. The time, as Turing put it, of burying one's "head in the sand" is over. We are machines just like those described in these proceedings. For example, one very important concept in MI is "reciprocal inhibition system" Systems like this are comparable to our own inhibitory neurotransmitters like dopamine.

What's "MI"? "Machine Intelligence" of course! I don't like the term AI and neither did Turing. We are not working to create the facade of intelligence, we are working towards understanding ourselves as represented in another kind of machine. Afterall, we ourselves are electrochemical machines.

-- Sources --

  1. Lindgren "Purposive Systems: The Edge of Knowledge"