Beyond AI: Creating the Conscience of the Machine

I have always been fascinated with the study of Artificial Intelligence.  I began my interest as many computer science majors by simulating intelligence through maze solving LISP automated mice.  These are brute force methods that appear to be intelligent by recursively exploring every possible solution.  This is not intelligence.  It is merely programmatic problem solving.

What is Artificial Intelligence?  How do we copy the creation that is the human mind and intellect, and impress that upon silicon and wires?  Is it even possible? 


Beyond AI: Creating the Conscience of the Machine
by J. Storrs Hall

Artificial intelligence (AI) is now advancing at such a rapid clip that it has the potential to transform our world in ways both exciting and disturbing. Computers have already been designed that are capable of driving cars, playing soccer, and finding and organizing information on the Web in ways that no human could. With each new gain in processing power, will scientists soon be able to create supercomputers that can read a newspaper with understanding, or write a news story, or create novels, or even formulate laws? And if machine intelligence advances beyond human intelligence, will we need to start talking about a computer’s intentions?

This book contemplates several interesting topics related to artificial intelligence, including the consequences of actually creating a systems that is intelligent.  A lot of what is intelligence appears to be search and pattern matching.  It seems that we build complex associations that help us grapple with our environment and interact with others in an intelligent fashion. 

What is intelligence?  I believe that we will continue to see progress in developing artificial minds.  Predictive expert systems already provide a sense of “smarts” but they are not creating anything new.  Attempts to build systems that take inputs, learn and even postulate solutions (as in mathematical proofs) have been limited in their success.  It seems that these intelligent systems hit a “glass ceiling” beyond which they are unable to produce anything new.  

Tools, Programs and Links

SHRDLU is a program for understanding natural language, written by Terry Winograd at the M.I.T. Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in 1968-70. –

The Spiritual Brain

The study of neuroscience continues to expand.  As the name would suggest, the foundational science is the study of the nervous system which of course, includes the study of the brain.  As the study expands beyond the pure biological investigation, it branches to include the cognitive studies and modeling within computer science, including the study of artificial intelligence (AI).

I recently stumbled across this interesting book:


The Spiritual Brain
A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul
By Mario Beauregard, Denyse O’Leary

In this book, the authors discuss the various claims and studies that attempt to locate the “region” of the brain or “God gene” that is responsible for spiritual experiences (the emotion of faith, the sense of the presence of an outside intelligence, the connection to God).  In this they attempt to investigate and answer the question, has God created the mind or does the mind create God. 

Is the brain synonymous with “the mind”?   The brain appears to be the physical fabric in which the mind lives.  Instead of some special area of the brain that is predisposed to invent spiritual experiences, the mind has the ability to “wander” around within the brain, perceiving and communing with the eternal realities.

Richard Feynman on Light

The amazing nature of light and the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum as described by one of Physics greatest teachers, Richard Feynman.

Richard Feynman’s Talk About Light

## Introduction
Richard Feynman was a renowned physicist who made significant contributions to the field of quantum mechanics. In this talk, he discusses the nature of light and how it can be used to understand the world around us.

## The Swimming Pool Analogy
Feynman begins by comparing the behavior of light to waves in a swimming pool. He notes that when many people are in the pool, the water becomes choppy and disordered. Similarly, when light enters a room, it interacts with objects and becomes disordered, creating a complex network of waves that can be difficult to understand.

## The Black Hole
Feynman then introduces the concept of a black hole, which is particularly sensitive to the direction in which light enters the room. He notes that when light enters the room at an angle, it is more difficult for the black hole to detect it. This is because the light is coming from the corner of our eye, which is not as sensitive to changes in direction as the center of our eye.

## The Corner of the Eye
Feynman then discusses the idea of using the corner of the eye to gain more information about the light entering the room. He notes that by swiveling a ball about, we can see the entire place and gain a better understanding of the light’s behavior.

## The White Ways
Feynman then compares the behavior of light to the waves in the swimming pool, noting that the white ways are easier to understand than the waves. He notes that the white ways are like the water height, going up and down in a combination of motions that produce an influence.

## The Light Bouncing Around the Room
Feynman then discusses the idea of light bouncing around the room, creating a complex network of waves that can be difficult to understand. He notes that most of the room does not have an eighth inch black hole, so it is not interested in the light bouncing around the room. However, the lights in the room do bounce off each other, creating a complex network of waves that can be difficult to understand.

## Conclusion
In conclusion, Feynman’s talk about light highlights the complexity and inconceivability of the natural world. He notes that by understanding the behavior of light, we can gain a better understanding of the world around us.

Quantum Physics

Quantum entanglement is a quantum mechanical phenomenon in which the quantum states of two or more objects have to be described with reference to each other, even though the individual objects may be spatially separated.

I find this to be a fascinating topic.  The best way to describe these two “entities” is to think of them as being part of the same function.  

The strangeness of the quantum world is that these functions (often thought of as waves) exist within a domain.  Within this domain, the quantum “particle” is said to existing only in terms of probability rather than in definitive terms.  In the Cartesian world of modeling, we expect to see a particle exist at location x,y,z at time t.  In the world of the very small, those quantum particles have a probability of existing at that location.  In reality there could be multiple location at which a particle can exist (having the same probability). The quantum weirdness says that the particle exists in all of those location at the same time.  In entanglement, the distant particle is a superposition of the other (I am using distance as relative to the observer). The act of observing a quantum system causes it to collapse into a finite particle/state.

Matter as Particles and Waves

Quantum Physics says that matter exists as particles and waves.  A particle, much like a marble, can be observed as being in a single location (x,y,z) at a certain time (t).  The de Broglie hypothesis states that all matter has a wave-like nature.  At the quantum world of the very small, this can be seen through the famous “double split experiment”.

Double Split Experiment

With Quantum Physics, the mechanics of the physical word that Newtonian Physics model define are suddenly redefined.  

The Newtonian model is deterministic, that is to say that everything can be determined if we understand all the variables that are in play.  In a real sense, Newton’s system of equations can be used to define everything that will happen in the Universe in a predetermined sense.  The very actions that we take are a result of physical systems responding to a biochemical process involving synaptic electrical network engaging biological responses (though a series of predictable pathways).  In this sense, everything that we experience, do or observe is predetermined by an elaborate matrix of equations.  

Quantum mechanics throws a wrench into this non-volitional cosmos by introducing a truly random nature at the very fundamental building blocks of all Creation.  The attributes of these quantum elements, these tiny sub-atomic particles that make up all of matter and transfer energy, are ultimately unpredictable.  The attributes of these particles are said to exist as probabilities.  There is a probability that a electron surrounding the nucleus of an atom would exist at a particular orbit (atomic orbitals).  The Heisenberg uncertainty principle says that even when we know one attribute of a quantum particle (e.g. the location of an electron) one of the other attributes will remain completely uncertain (e.g. the momentum). 


Quantum Mechanics: The Electron as a Wave

In quantum mechanics, the electron is often described as a wave. This wave has a wavelength and a frequency, which are related to the electron’s energy and momentum. The frequency of the wave is the energy, while the wave length in that direction is the momentum.

One of the remarkable symmetries of quantum mechanics is that the wave function of the electron cannot be directly observed. Instead, we can only observe the probability of finding the electron in a particular location. This probability is calculated by squaring the wave function.

The information about the electron’s position, momentum, and energy is lost when we square the wave function. This is why it may seem pointless to talk about the wave function of the electron in the first place. However, this wave function is still important because it allows us to understand the behavior of the electron in space.

In the 1970s, scientists realized that the wave function of the electron could be manipulated by changing its frequency and momentum. This led to the development of the concept of a gauge field, which is a wave with a frequency and momentum that is the sum of the two. The gauge field is used to conserve momentum and energy when we make changes to the wave function of the electron.

The symmetry principle of quantum mechanics states that an electron with a certain wavelength and frequency, with a gauge field moving along right on top of it, is indistinguishable from an electron with a different momentum and energy and no gauge field on top. This symmetry allows us to explore the behavior of the electron in new ways.

One of the most important consequences of this symmetry is the electromagnetic force, which is described by the Feynman diagram in quantum mechanics. The electromagnetic force is the underlying symmetry principle that allows us to understand the behavior of charged particles in space.

The same principles apply to quarks, which are the building blocks of protons and neutrons. In the 1970s, scientists discovered that all forces are gauge forces, including gravity. This led to a new understanding of particle physics and the fundamental forces that govern the universe.

In conclusion, the electron is a wave in quantum mechanics, and its wave function cannot be directly observed. However, this wave function is still important because it allows us to understand the behavior of the electron in space. The symmetry principle of quantum mechanics allows us to explore the behavior of the electron in new ways, leading to the development of the electromagnetic force and the understanding of all forces as gauge forces.


I love science.  My degree and career is in computer science (applied in various capacities including my current systems engineering role).   However, I love all sciences. My latest adventures have been in quantum physics and neuroscience.

[God] alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea…maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south…doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without numbers. – Book of Job 9:8-10