Mussings on inteligence


Here are some of my thoughts (a basic braindump) on the subject of intelligence. Though this blog is probably not the best place for a posting of such a subject (in that nobody who might understand what I mean will ever read this), but perhaps it is better to put my thoughts here rather than nowhere at all, on the off chance that someone will stumble upon this post trough Google.

Before I begin I must point out that while I am a software developer by profession, I haven't done much school on the subject and may very well be re-inventing the wheel.

The thing is, I've had various dealings with these subjects lately and my intuition has a way of stringing together information from various sources, to further my understanding of various vaguely defined concepts.

One of my projects as of late is to code an associative matrix for a certain piece of automation. Though I am relatively certain that nobody will be particularly happy with the end result, as it will quite literately have a mind of it's own, I'll get paid for it and that's all I care about that project at this point.

The thing I've of course been thinking about, is whether or not this associative matrix will have what it takes to form intelligence. I think I can safely say, without anyone checking my credentials, that the human brain is a neural network. Out of a certain historic fascination with the subject (neurology) and out of my understanding of the subject as a software developer -- rather than out of ignorance, I will say that neural networks are essentially associative matrices: They take the occurrence of a witnessed event and associate it with an end result, eventually being able to produce the end result by evoking the previously witnessed event. This is what enables us to learn how to problem-solve, and is the same thing that makes my code in the aforementioned project tick. This is fascinating, but not news.

What I've been thinking about, is if this associative matrix will unexpectedly produce the ability to learn things as we do, or not. I suspect that what is needed for true intelligence, is abstract reasoning, which can only come about if an associative matrix is ... recursive, if you get what I mean. Basically I think it needs to be able to make associations about associations. I am worried that such a structure might be unstable and occasionally produce nonsense, unless it's wired exactly right.

I am wondering if this facility in humans is one of those things that is genetically hardwired to work properly (and therefore also needs to be hardwired in my AI), or one of those things that any monolithic associative matrix can accomplish (and is therefore implementable in a generic fashion).

Let me try to present what I think I've been seeing. I have been, for a while now, fascinated with the canine olfactory cortex of my dog, which is a part of the brain that I as a human do not have. The fact that dogs can smell better than humans is not news, but the fact that they have an entire brain cortex dedicated to processing information from this very sensitive smell is fascinating. I wondered if I could possibly imagine what it's like. I was observing my dog enjoying the olfactory puzzles I can create by tossing a rock into a field of grass, so clearly there is some nontrivial processing taking place. And furthermore interesting how this cortex is right in the middle of the canine frontal cortex, which in itself must have interesting consequences.

The human enlarged frontal cortex is said to have developed "in order" to facilitate our understanding of social interactions between individuals in human society (apparently the size of this part of the brain can be correlated with the size of the group the primate in question lives in). The fact that canines base social status based on scent obviously cannot be a coincidence. What if the disappearance of the olfactory cortex in humans was what caused the brain matter in our frontal cortex to "fold in on itself", with the brain matter that would normally establish connections with the olfactory cortex, instead forming connections into itself, forming the basis for abstract reasoning?

If yes, though I guess it doesn't really matter what the historic facts are, I just need to code a single additional layer of, er, meta-association for my associative matrix to accurately mimic human reasoning. *grin*

No obviously it cannot be this simple. :) We will see.



European Organization for Sustainability archives


Back in 2010 (seesh so long! feels like yesterday) I was a member of an organization aimed at research into stuff like Energy Accounting and cool new ways of governance which were more up to date with modern technology.

Even though the whole thing fell apart later for various reasons, we did some good research back then and wrote some great articles. :)

I've therefore revived the article archives (as much as possible, the Internet changes a lot in 6 years) and put it online so that it can be referenced and tracked down by search engines.

Here it is:





It seems I will be continuing this blog as a collection of the most random thoughts I had... Though I read a lot, I am by no means an expert in everything. Use your best judgment when considering what I have written below.

My most recent rant comes as a response to this video:

Don't get me wrong, Kurzgesagt is a great video maker that typically uses excellent scientific sources and animates them in a way that everybody can understand. But this time, it seems they used a source of information that represents some rather outdated theories regarding the evolution of humans.

I usually have a thing for determining what is the truth out of a series of information sources that may not be entirely compatible. It's the nature of critical thought, right -- taking information from multiple sources and using reasoning to determine the truth.

One of the sources I felt were the most informative, was this image out of wikipedia:

From multiple sources you can read that during the course of human evolution, multiple subspecies coexisted for the same time. The chart above indicates the number of individuals and how widespread they were, by the width of the blue area on the chart, whereas the height indicates time. In other words, where Homo Sapiens may have lived in limited numbers at the same time as Neandarthals, they did not live in the same places as Neandarthals and may have therefore never mixed.

The reasons for this were that Homo Sapiens was at the time not sufficiently technologically advanced, to make up for their biological limitations in regards to what environments they could survive in. Neandarthals were better adapted to cold climates and Denisovans were more adapted to high altitudes. Therefore in their specific environments, both subspecies could easily out-compete Homo Sapiens.

Over time however, Homo Sapiens evolved to be more technologically advanced and spread around the world, now coexisting in the same places as both Neandarthals and Denisovans. These subspecies may have then blended into the more dominant Homo Sapiens subspecies, passing on their unique traits into the common human gene pool. Though it is impossible to reconstruct skin tone out of fossil records, I will let you ponder upon the fact, that white skin is an adaptation to colder climates with less UV radiation and that Homo Sapiens was most likely black.

I just feel like these conclusions, which anyone can come to, should not be ignored.



Personal Home Page


I have created a kind of hub-website to allow quick and easy access to all the interesting stuff I did, at a glance:


I am thinking of also moving my english blog there, since the other day my blogspot account was randomly deleted for some kind of BS "phishing" claim.



Computer repairs production line


One of the cool things I do, is volunteer at a local organization that salvages and repairs used computers and gives them away to the poor. Like most computer techs, my home is full of computer related scrap and thus it was not difficult to convert my own salvage and repairs projects to their use. And even though over the years I have moved away from the practical work somewhat and instead work in their R&D department, where we come up with various methods to increase efficiency.

Each year to date, we have invested a bit of time around the newyears to implement some minor revolution in the way repairs work.

The first year, the workshop was chaos, which had become a jumble of desks and computers nobody could figure out, over time. For starters I might add that there was a computer filled with tortillas somewhere in there. We cleaned up the place and gave people clearer instructions, we separated out the process of installing software to drives into a seperate step.

The second year, we reorganized the desks in the room to be formed into a shape that allowed people to more quickly and easily access to stockpiles of components and walk in and out. During this time we were able to ramp up production up to about a thousand computers per year.

The third year, wet tidied up the workstations and bundled the wires into tidy channels. We cleaned out a whole new area of the bunker we inhabit and made it hygienic to work in. We also went trough all the parts and excluded any malfunctioning ones that have been returning into storage repeatedly.

This is the fourth year. Though the R&D chief and I have been somewhat dismayed as to how things have degenerated over time... The people who stuck to doing the work have become more and more rushing and destructive and the recovery efficiency ratios have dropped noticeably. Technicians would get bored by all the broken equipment and end up frying it as-if it didn't matter, instead of learning more advanced methods of repairs. Basically people problems and us techs are not good at dealing with them.

But then this is just another problem right? Our current attempt is aimed at recovering our efficiency ratios, by turning the production lines into a pipeline. Instead of ramming the production into the rushed mass-production full of missed steps and wasted equipment -- that it is now, we break it up into steps, which forces people to focus on the details and follow proper procedures, which are designed to yield predictably working computers.

The phases of the pipeline are:
1. Preparation: Here the computer cases are completed and power supply units are tested to work properly, CMOS batteries are replaced and the dust is cleaned out of the boxes.
2. Hardware: Here the motherboards are inspected for defects and tested if they work reliably, the computer is stress-tested to look for cooling problems.
3. Disassembly: Computers that don't have what it takes to be computers are taken to this step and are disassembled into parts
4. Testing: Parts from Disassembly are tested here, working parts are stored in a spares stockpile, whereas the malfunctioning parts are discarded. This spares stockpile supplies various other stages with parts.
5. Software: In this phase, computers are configured and loaded with a pre-burned harddrive with an operating system. There are a few additional steps to make sure everything is up to spec.
6. Quality Control: Does just what it says on the tin. If computers aren't good enough they are sent into one of the earlier phases. If not they are documented and sent to the finished computers stockpile to be given away.

There's also a few added tricks, like that computers get color-coded depending on where in the pipeline they are, so if a coffee break pops in and people drop all the equipment and go, they can start where they left off, when they return.

The R&D crew, as well as the management guy came in and helped us redecorate, so to speak. We cleaned up the mess other people have made, vacuum the floors, cleaned up leftover parts and sorted the half-finished computers. Then we optimized the workstations for different phases in the pipeline, and marked them with color-coded flowcharts(!), describing every step of the way.

Just in case this attempt fails because of the people involved, I want to have it documented here that it existed! See the desks cleaned up and prepared for work to begin, with the flowcharts stuck to their surface.