Forgetfulness!


This week on Facebook: I decided to return to the brain which, in the case of mine — despite my brain being (supposedly) like a computer — seems to behave much like that of Homer Simpson.

After my previous post on Brain Plasticity  it would be nice to report that having watching Lara Boyd’s video my brain is not the same. As I mentioned in my 2014 post Amongst the Angst, I have even read the works of Edward De Bono on useful techniques to enhance memory retention, whatever techniques I learned I have now forgotten as my wife always gives me a list.

It seems that the system administrator is never in and rarely, if ever, communicates with me. Having a brain like a computer is of no avail if the operating system [OS] continually malfunctions (much like Homer’s). So, and while I remember, I collected 5 articles on memory and its retention, which inevitably led me back to robotics and AI.

I am now inclined to think that the internet endows its users with, in one sense, an internet artificial intelligence [IAI] — one more acronym where IAI means something other than my use of it . Nevertheless IAI is manifested in the many blogs that appear on the internet and in robotic devices like Amazon Echo or Google Home, the next step may be that envisaged by the developers of Neuralink and Kernel.

However, robotics and AI interaction is based on algorithmic decisions that can turn out to be as complex as human emotional interactions, especially if the assumptions on which the algorithms are based creates a misleading or erroneous response. A major difference between robotics AI and human memory is in the detail that can be recalled and the time frame necessary to accurately recall it in.

To my mind the essential difference between human and robotic intelligence (AI) being — perhaps — a human’s willingness to gamble on the answer being right and the motivations that induce the gamble. Something that would be very difficult to emulate in AI given the range of motivations, for any given set of circumstances, that a human may have.

Thoughts on AI led me to an old game show called Name That Tune, the reason being that I thought it a good comparison between human intelligence (even if IAI) and robotic AI. Of course in the case of Name that Tune we do not know if it is gamble for those that name a tune correctly on hearing one note. This makes me think that programming a robotic AI to gamble on an answer, is not only complex but inevitably a human programmer must give it a specific advantage for the application.

The only AI — actually an IAI — that I am aware of that could play Name That Tune is an application called shazam and I would gamble that shazam would always beat a human eventually. There is musical piece that I keep forgetting: I recognise the piece when I hear it and really like it, it will come to me eventually (perhaps). Although I can recognise a piece of music being performed, my brain rarely actually lets me replay the rendition of it and even then only for a moment.

My search for articles on forgetfulness led me to Friedrich Nietzsche, whom I read for the first time in my life. (Well, I read a little bit. OK! Enough to endow me with some IAI). However, rather than a little tabula rasa I have a rather large but empty one, due mainly to an absent system administrator in my faulty OS. I find solace in Nietzsche’s thoughts on the peace that forgetfulness can bring and comfort that (in my case) I will never compete for a place amongst the Übermensch.

To shut the doors and windows of consciousness for a while; a little peace, a little tabula rasa of consciousness to make room for something new, above all for the nobler functions and functionaries, for ruling, predicting, predetermining — that, as I said, is the benefit of active forgetfulness, like a doorkeeper or guardian of mental order, rest and etiquette: from which can immediately see how there could be no happiness, cheerfulness, hope, pride, immediacy, without forgetfulness. [Friedrich Nietzsche]


Monday 27/3/2017 My forgetfulness may annoy my family, but it has its benefits: I would attempt only one defence of my habitual forgetfulness, which is that forgetting is not always such a bad trait. If you count memory as important, then perhaps it is also true that forgeting is crucial. For what we forget and what we remember are a key part of who we become.

Tuesday 28/3/2017 How Forgetting Helps Us Remember: Forgetting is actually a good thing, it enables us to remember.Scientists used to think that forgetting was a failure of the brain. No longer. Forgetting is now recognized as a memory asset. It enables us to encode and retain the pieces of information that are truly valuable — the ones that will help us in the future — and discard the rest.

memory-and-forgetting

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Wednesday 29/3/2017 Brain Research Finds Modular AI Key To Retaining Artificial Memory: Artificial neural networks — in effect, artificial brains — suffer from what is known as “catastrophic forgetting”. When they learn something new, they will often completely and quickly overwrite existing memory, which is not an ideal situation if you want artificial intelligence (AI) to learn and retain knowledge.

Thursday 30/3/2017 Google’s AI Can Now Learn From Its Own Memory Independently: Differential Neural Computer (DNC) — pairs a neural network with the vast data storage of conventional computers, and the AI is smart enough to navigate and learn from this external data bank. Effectively combining external memory (like the external hard drive where all your photos get stored) with the neural network approach of AI, where a massive number of interconnected nodes work dynamically to simulate a brain.

Friday 31/3/2017 From Reactive Robots to Sentient Machines: As an AI researcher, I’ll admit it was nice to have my own field highlighted at the highest level of American government, but the report focused almost exclusively on what I call “the boring kind of AI.” It dismissed in half a sentence my branch of AI research, into how evolution can help develop ever-improving AI systems, and how computational models can help us understand how our human intelligence evolved.


It’s no use — I had to use my Shazam library to find the piece of music that I had forgotten. If I could only remember the name of it I would only need to hear the first two notes on Name That Tune but I might gamble on simply hearing the first note.

2 responses to “Forgetfulness!

  1. Pingback: In Praise of Forgetting | Aasof’s Reflections

  2. Pingback: AI & CEV | Aasof’s Reflections

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This site was created for members and friends of My Telegraph blog site, but anyone is welcome to comment, and thereafter apply to become an author.

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The Real Economy

Hello, I’m Ed Conway, Economics Editor of Sky News, and this is my website. Blogposts, stuff about my books and a little bit of music

Public Law for Everyone

Professor Mark Elliott

Bleda

Am I my Brothers keeper?

An Anthology of Short Stories

Selected by other writers

davidgoodwin935

The Short Stories of David Goodwin (Capucin)

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