[NetBehaviour] analogy and AI poetry

Alan Sondheim sondheim at gmail.com
Thu Jul 15 05:26:00 CEST 2021

While we're at it, a couple of things. I remember visiting Minsky at his
house once; his kids were on roller-skates in the kitchen.
More to the point, the formal neuron theory he developed led to a lot of
bad politics, and I'm pretty sure the model was abandoned. That was a long
time ago...
Society of Mind also reminds me of Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences
theory - and strangely enough he went to the same highschool I did, Wyoming
Seminary in Kingston, PA.
Weird worlds within and without the computer -

Best, Alan

On Wed, Jul 14, 2021 at 11:21 PM Paul Hertz via NetBehaviour <
netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:

> Somewhat in haste...
> AI in the late 80s, when Brooks wrote his essay, was apparently in crisis.
> The efficacy of the models promoted by Marvin Minksy and other researchers
> pursuing the sort of data-driven "expert systems" were already being
> questioned. There were other models, as Alan mentions. Then too there were
> subsystems that worked pretty well, out of which such fields as computer
> vision and neural networks developed. N. Katherine Hayles examines some of
> the history of AI and "artificial life" in her book How We Became
> Post-Human, a mix of history of science and literary critique. She makes
> the point, anent the confusion as to what "artificial intelligence" means,
> that it was particularly intended as a phrase to pull in money for
> research, as was "artificial life". Which isn't to say that a great deal of
> research didn't get done, some of it very successful in the long run. Just
> that the resounding phrase was never meant to be definitive.
> Minsky's book The Society of Mind may be worth reading. I had the pleasure
> of hearing him lecture many years ago. He may have been wrong about the
> nature of the mind--he thought a mind could be stored on a hard drive--but
> the nature of research is that it's frequently wrong.
> -- Paul
> On Wed, Jul 14, 2021 at 10:01 PM Alan Sondheim via NetBehaviour <
> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
>> Just briefly, want to point out that this was the same or similar idea
>> that Terry Winograd had in relation to natural language processing, that
>> the computer needed something to talk about, hence Blocksworld (if I
>> remember correctly). Winograd is extremely interesting through this early
>> work but also his later holistic thinking -
>> See 1972. *Understanding Natural Language* Academic Press, New York, as
>> well as
>> 1986. *Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for
>> Design* (with Fernando Flores
>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Flores>) Ablex Publ Corp.
>> Note the dates. AI thinking, one way or another, circulates among the
>> tropes of reality, real, imaginary, machinic, machinic desire, cyborgs, and
>> so forth; this continues all the way to the present.
>> Best Alan
>> On Wed, Jul 14, 2021 at 9:51 PM Max Herman via NetBehaviour <
>> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
>>> Hi Paul,
>>> Interesting essay!  It sounds like the author thinks the AI entity or
>>> "creature" as he calls it needs to navigate a real environment and performs
>>> tasks in it in order to "learn," rather than make a detailed map or
>>> representation then logically deduce solutions from that.  That makes sense
>>> to me but I have no idea how it relates to the AI field overall; is it
>>> still a current approach now 30+ years later?  It sounds like the Morris
>>> film would illuminate the matter so I will check it out, but moreso I'd be
>>> interested to hear what others who know and work with AI might think.
>>> One interesting point Brooks makes is about the necessity of visual
>>> perception as a basic ingredient of a learning intelligence.  Leonardo
>>> wrote about how knowledge and learning took form in humans by a mix of
>>> visual perception, processing of the visual data by imagination (that can
>>> include verbal imagination) and the "sensus communis" that blends inbound
>>> modes of perception like hearing, sight, smell, etc. together, then storage
>>> of the processed information in memory for later use or disuse.  A crude
>>> schema to be sure but it reflects something like the see/assess/act cycle
>>> Brooks suggests.
>>> Just from an art standpoint (as perhaps one could call it) I can see the
>>> relevance of blending for visual and verbal imagination as something like a
>>> "braided" flow of analogy in real time.  This is kind of what Hofstadter
>>> alluded to in his book's subtitle "*Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal
>>> Golden Braid*," and what perhaps Mitchell is suggesting in the Quanta
>>> article.  Calvino saw visual and verbal imagination intertwined both as the
>>> information is perceived and as it is created or expressed.  This would
>>> also make sense if you think of a primate or hominin group seeing things,
>>> comparing the information to memory, discussing what they saw, pointing at
>>> comparable things to communicate visual imagery or even drawing in the sand
>>> with a twig or finger, on a stone with charcoal, etc., with simple drawings
>>> eventually morphing into words or letters, everything permutating all the
>>> time and all driven by the necessary and physical acts of finding water,
>>> finding food, escaping predators, migrating, grooming, reproducing, i.e.
>>> continual physical movement interrupted occasionally by sleep which is also
>>> a kind of movement I guess.
>>> It's almost certainly a mirage, but I see this cyclical idea of seeing
>>> and doing as the fundamental structure of the painting I used to call the *Mona
>>> Lisa* but now am experimenting with calling *Esperienza *(as I
>>> speculate Leonardo may have titled it to himself, but chose to leave
>>> unspoken and unwritten so as to "require work" of a specific sort from
>>> later viewers).
>>> "Esperienza" means experience, as in the noun meaning stored
>>> information, and the verb meaning to be aware of something in the present.
>>> However it also means "experiment" as in science and arguably art, a
>>> premeditated yet improvisational action designed to do or see something not
>>> previously understood.  These dual meanings illustrate the more passive
>>> process of seeing, hearing, or otherwise absorbing information and the
>>> active process of expressing, testing, or applying information on a partly
>>> improvised basis.  Things are blurred of course but there is a parallel
>>> cycle of seeing/doing, seeing/doing, and so forth.  Graziano's mention of
>>> necessity also may relate to Brooks'.  Not sure if this diagram of where
>>> and how "representation" should occur conforms to what Brooks is saying but
>>> it seems it might.
>>> As to "natural" versus "artificial" intelligence my lack of education
>>> about the field makes me want to avoid the question by asking if a
>>> naturally evolved organism may evolve to make art, or engage in artifice as
>>> a behavior, or have an artificing intelligence.  If so, what then?
>>> Leonardo writes in confusing aphorisms about the relationships among Art,
>>> Nature, and Humanity, sort of knotting them all together dynamically
>>> without saying they are the same.  Humans are part of Nature, but we also
>>> make Art; in our Art we can sometimes choose to either follow the guidance
>>> of Nature or reject it; our Art choices can cause horrific waste and
>>> destruction or support human and other natural ecosystems.  He built robots
>>> that did things like give people flowers, and I'm sure he had a sense of
>>> how the robot looks like it is giving the person flowers but really is just
>>> a collection of gears and pulleys running their courses.
>>> "Artificial" intelligence implies that the intelligence is a product of
>>> artifice, that it has been artificed, not that it is an artificer or
>>> "Artificing Intelligence," though the Daedalus AI event mentioned recently
>>> may see it both ways.  I do get confused whether words are being used
>>> misleadingly about AI, and whether what is really meant by AI is "an
>>> artificed non-intelligent machine that does or makes things that look like
>>> the products of an intelligence but actually are not."  In which case, why
>>> not call it "artificial artificing," or "machines that make information,"
>>> or "machines that make machines that make information," rather than
>>> "artificial intelligence"?  All in all I find it too tiring to really
>>> understand in any depth!  🙂  Should we even distinguish between
>>> "Conscious Intelligence" and "Non-Conscious Intelligence"?  Seems a waste.
>>> I do actually think Leonardo cared about such questions and may even
>>> have considered the eventual possibility of machines that make
>>> information.  He had serious reservations about the printing press for
>>> example, which separated the written word from the body that wrote it and
>>> in a sense destroyed an essential aspect of its information.
>>> (Coincidentally, he tried to invent a way of printing a page with
>>> handwriting and drawing on it, but didn't succeed, and it wasn't until
>>> Blake that such a tech was found.)  Leonardo distrusted the value of
>>> automation, and saw informational institutions (like the academy, political
>>> entities, etc.) as in some ways gigantic photocopiers that reproduced
>>> duplicate information without having any awareness whether the information
>>> was real, true, relevant, or even what it was.  He described this as
>>> "authorities who can only repeat what they have read in books but cannot
>>> create or discover anything directly themselves" (I paraphrase), or really,
>>> even "see" anything.  Would such people be, in the practical sense, a form
>>> of Artificial Intelligence?
>>> It seems to me that as a highly practical person by necessity, i.e. a
>>> free-lancer wherever he could make something useful, Leonardo often tried
>>> to "cut to the chase" rather than explain ad infinitum.  So, I find it
>>> entirely plausible that he may have encapsulated his take on all this in
>>> his allegory of *Esperienza, *which he wrote down in story form, as the
>>> source and guide he used to "make his own clothes" -- his metaphor --
>>> artistically and scientifically speaking rather than just wearing what was
>>> handed down as his critics did.  Might he not have also tried to paint such
>>> an allegory, after having written it, of a human intelligence in a
>>> technological environment following principles of nature to create its own
>>> garment?  This is what I see in Esperienza's ever-so-slightly pointing
>>> right index finger: a pen or brush creating image or symbol, or even just
>>> drawing a line in dust without an instrument as the earliest writers and
>>> artists may have done, the simplest synapse of human artifice.
>>> Leonardo did write that all the arts and sciences -- math, engineering,
>>> painting, drawing, music, writing -- derive from the making of line, and he
>>> defined the very first art ever created using the traditional legend of a
>>> person tracing the line of their shadow.  This may be a kind of analogy, or
>>> analogue, or analog "line that makes an image" and not much at all like
>>> what computer or digital intelligence does.  Unfortunately "digit" means
>>> finger, so maybe "binary digital intelligence" is the necessary term!
>>> I think that may actually be a much better term from my
>>> not-at-all-expert point of view: Computer Intelligence, CI, or Digital
>>> Intelligence, DI, not Artificial Intelligence.  Maybe the whole mess is
>>> just a result of a typo or verbal tic!  After all, birds artifice their
>>> songs and their nests but we would never dream of calling them Artificial
>>> Intelligence.  And kind of by definition, intelligence is that which
>>> artifices and not that which can be passively artificed, so artificial is
>>> grammatically flawed (maybe too impulsively borrowed from "artificial
>>> color" and "artificial flavor" which were very prevalent terms back in
>>> those days).  Paintings are artificial, to be sure, and replicate
>>> information, but do we call what they do "Artificial Intelligence"?  Maybe
>>> we could, I don't know.  If we did though it would soon become panpsychism
>>> perhaps where emails have their own intelligence, CD's, newspapers, etc.;
>>> we kind of already ascribe this to our phones automatically.  "Pencil
>>> Intelligence"?  "Paper Intelligence"?
>>> Furthermore, we know not all that artifices is intelligent, like a
>>> coffee maker.  Organic Intelligence?  Inorganic Intelligence?  And if there
>>> ever were a Brooks-type machine that interacted with the world and became
>>> able to do everything human intelligence can do might we not have to call
>>> such an entity a natural form of intelligence?  Confusinger and
>>> confusinger.  Norbert Wiener declared a distinction between human and
>>> machine intelligence though and I think that's fair enough.
>>> All best,
>>> Max
>>> PS -- I'm sure I've made 27 complete errors in the above, please feel
>>> free to point out!  🙂
>>> ------------------------------
>>> *From:* Paul Hertz <ignotus at gmail.com>
>>> *Sent:* Wednesday, July 14, 2021 2:36 PM
>>> *To:* NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity <
>>> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
>>> *Cc:* Max Herman <maxnmherman at hotmail.com>
>>> *Subject:* Re: [NetBehaviour] analogy and AI poetry
>>> There's an essay, "Intelligence Without Representation" that Brooks
>>> wrote in 1987,
>>> http://people.csail.mit.edu/brooks/papers/representation.pdf, that
>>> offered what was then a new point of view on how to consider AI.
>>> // Paul
>>> On Wed, Jul 14, 2021 at 2:10 PM Paul Hertz <ignotus at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Hi Max,
>>> The robotics researcher Rodney Brooks back in the late 1980s argued the
>>> AI based on the construction of a "knowledge base" was bound to fail. He
>>> made the case that a robot adapting to an environment was far more likely
>>> to achieve intelligence of the sort that humans demonstrate precisely
>>> because it was embodied. Some of his ideas are presented in the movie Fast,
>>> Cheap, and Out of Control, directed ISTR by Errol Morris. If you haven't
>>> seen it yet, I can recommend it.
>>> -- Paul
>>> On Wed, Jul 14, 2021, 1:38 PM Max Herman via NetBehaviour <
>>> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
>>> Hi all,
>>> I know virtually nothing about AI, beyond what the letters stand for,
>>> but noticed this new article in Quanta Magazine.  Does it pertain at all?
>>> Interestingly it concludes that in order for AI to be human-like it will
>>> need to understand analogy, the basis of abstraction, which may require it
>>> to have a body!  🙂
>>> https://www.quantamagazine.org/melanie-mitchell-trains-ai-to-think-with-analogies-20210714/?mc_cid=362710ae88&mc_eid=df8a5187d9
>>> I have been interested in the book *GEB *by Hofstadter for some time,
>>> and have been researching how it was referenced (specifically its Chapter
>>> IV "Consistency, Completeness, and Geometry" and its Introduction) by Italo
>>> Calvino in *Six Memos for the Next Millennium*, so Mitchell's
>>> connection to Hofstadter and *GEB *is interesting on a general level.
>>> Coincidentally I contacted her a year ago to ask about the Calvino
>>> connection but she replied she hadn't read any Calvino or the *Six
>>> Memos*.  However, his titles for the six memos -- Lightness, Quickness,
>>> Exactitude, Visibility, Multiplicity, and Consistency -- might be exactly
>>> the kinds of "bodily" senses AI will need to have!
>>> All best,
>>> Max
>>> https://www.etymonline.com/word/analogy
>>> https://www.etymonline.com/word/analogue
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