Fortunately Noble Ape contains its own random number generator and so users may rest assured that the NSA et al are not meddling with the Noble Ape universe. One way to try to test whether you are living in a simulation or not could be to check whether the distributions of certain phenomena look random, without any odd discontinuities, and aren’t strongly determined by inexplicable magic numbers.
A thought while sitting in a park on a sunny evening was that it’s never really possible to be a passive observer. Watching the folks passing by their activities are only really comprehensible due to the system of mirror neurons, so there must be various neural systems actively mirroring which are also linked to my own body kinematics. That logically leads to the question of whether the system of mirror neurons – assuming that they exist and behave as classically described – scale up to larger numbers of individuals. What happens if I’m observing two people, or ten, or a hundred? Are there similar numbers of duplicated mirror neuron systems working in parallel?
I expect that the answer to that is “no”. What seems to occur is that when bigger numbers of individuals are observed then fractal psychology takes over and collective behaviors get treated as if they were a the product of a single mind (or mindplex). You can see this expressed in everyday language. One phrase which I recently heard was:
“It was an angry match”
Referring to a football match. Maybe the crowd was angry, or perhaps the players adopted an aggressive tackling style. Either way, multiple individuals were being lumped together and treated as if they were a single psyche expressing a coherent emotion. This same style of treating collectives as individuals also occurs in many other places, at the level of human organisations or nations (eg. “Microsoft fears such and such”).
The Consciousness in The Cloud discussion between Tom Barbalet, Larry Yaeger and KMO goes over some familiar territory with regard to AI and artificial life, such as whether a thermostat is minimally conscious.
I think that the missing component here, and the reason why the “brain in a box” or what Ben Goertzel referred to as “post-embodied intelligence” idea is unlikely to succeed is the concept of identity and its relation to the foundation of an articulable “personhood” knowable both to the self and also more widely. Another way of putting it might be that identity is what occurs when multiple minds collide or when survival within a psychological environment containing other intelligent entities becomes at least as important as surviving the physical rigours of the environment. So although the research on neuroscience (which may, or may not, include Hameroff-like microtubule based quantum consciousness) is important it doesn’t necessarily reveal much about multi-mind situations and the construction of identity and history.
We propose that a 2 month, 10 man study of artificial intelligence be carried out during the summer of 1956 at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. The study is to proceed on the basis of the conjecture that every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it. An attempt will be made to find how to make machines use language, form abstractions and concepts, solve kinds of problems now reserved for humans, and improve themselves. We think that a significant advance can be made in one or more of these problems if a carefully selected group of scientists work on it together for a summer.
– John McCarthy, 1955
It is a curiosity that although the goal of artificial intelligence, at least at the outset, was to produce a human-like thinking machine it’s pretty hard to locate any AI research which includes phenomena such as social identity.
How might archetypes be implemented in Noble Ape? Some might contest the very existence of such things, but a less loaded way of putting it would be that there can be generalisations about personalities or situations which are of a lesser or greater degree of abstraction. Something like an archetype would be at the most abstract end of the spectrum whereas a stereotype or “theory of mind” models of particular individuals would be at the more concrete end. Maybe there could be a hierarchy of abstractions.
There is currently a function known as “the prejudice function”, which is an initial rapid evaluation of unknown individuals. It might be a good idea to replace this with a system of stereotype-like abstractions. So stereotypes or archetypes would just be abstract individuals within the social graph and when a new ape was met then the closest match against these abstractions could be found, with the friendliness and attraction parameters then being assigned to the newly created social graph entry accordingly.
Reflecting on the initial insights Apple provided circa 2003 has left me with some interesting conclusions. One of the main points was smarter dividing of non-effect felt loops over multiple processors.
By breaking up the loops in Noble Ape for exactly this purpose there may be additional insights in optimization. It is not a one-size fits all solution. But it seems to be a three sizes fits most solution. Ultimately the mathematics should be atomized sufficiently that you can send a cloud of processing atoms out to n-processors and collect the results.
Doing profiling on the current simulation about 70% of the current processing can be attacked in this fashion. There is a benefit that the mathematically intensive sections are also relatively easy to atomize and divide amongst processors.
The one caveat to this work relates to maintaining back compatibility.
I have been following an issue for older Macs with only dual processors running Noble Ape associated with the possibility of closing the hybrid command-line GUI version through either the command line or the Quit menu item. In some circumstances there can be a thread lock as the desired processors needs to be at least three to solve one of the concluding conditions. Back compatibility can be boring when you want to implement new and interesting features and interfaces. Thankfully this particular issue is the difference between an instantaneous quit and a three second quit rather than a crash or any further delay but it is unpleasant.
Anyway, I am mindful of such things.
One of my most free-time consuming tasks currently is editing audio podcasts. Aside from my artificial life podcasts, I have a 4-5 hour-per-show podcast (Model Rail Radio). I currently have about ten hours of audio to edit. This typically takes about 150-200% the audio length to edit.
A lot of these processes could be automated. With the addition of Noble Ape speech out, the utility for handling (producing and analyzing) audio is now part of the Simulation.
Could there be a more productive use of the Simulation than to free a good portion of my time with Noble Ape automating a good part of this audio editing process? For now, I have created a github repo for this:
Stay tuned for more additions here shortly and also more additions to the Noble Ape Toolkit pushing the audio handling from the Simulation back into the Toolkit.
Doing the annual update of the copyright last night to welcome the new year, it occurred to me there’s quite a bit of unused or unneeded source in the main tree. There was an early philosophy with the development of Noble Ape – reuse or remove.
There is a need for both of these with the current source code. With Bob Mottram’s substantial submissions to the Noble Ape source code base slowing down over the past few months, I have made periodic updates to simplify some of the source. This has been a piecemeal effort to-date.
One of the methods I’ve wanted to try is a source code book of all the used source code. Actually running your eyes down source code in a linear form sometimes draws your eye to source that normally isn’t considered in general source code browsing. I will use Lulu for the book printing and review with a pen-in-hand for changes to be implemented in the source.
If you are interested in reading about any Noble Ape related topics through this blog, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Happy New Year!
Note to self:
Fulfill this criteria for Noble Ape in 2013.