11/4/18

Introspection





I am what I do: strictly functional design of cognitive process: www.cognitivealgorithm.info. Good concentration is relatively recent, but I’ve been working on a theory of intelligence most of my life, anything else is trivial by comparison. I work on my own because nothing that I’ve come across is coherent enough. And also because I can, recently financially and always emotionally.

The older I get (chronologically 56, biologically < 40), the more it hits me just how abnormal I am:
an integrity nazi, insensitive to conditioning, driven mostly by value-free curiosity. Value-free doesn’t mean indiscriminate, it’s actually selective for predictive value. For me, that led to overriding interest in cognition itself: prediction from recognition. Lacking nearly universal dependence on social support and immediate experimental confirmation, I am free to follow intellectual imperatives.

My first interests were geography and history, then physical sciences and biology. I majored in social science because modern society has the deepest structured complexity of any established subject. But that field lacks in academic integrity. And the most important part of social progress is discovery and invention, which is basically a composite of individual human learning. So, I switched to studying the latter, about a lifetime ago, both for intellectual depth and for potential impact on the world.

That doesn’t mean psychology and neuroscience. I got into both more recently, mostly for insight in our deficiencies. To understand intrinsic function of cognition, vs. tons of other things in human mind, sustained introspective generalization is far superior to mere observation. Having started with the former, I find almost everything about brain and neurons to be grossly sub-optimal. Which is not surprising for a product of blind evolution and severe biological constraints.

Formalizing cognition is also the only legitimate problem in philosophy, which was my interest in a while. But establishment philosophers have always been a stand-up kind, too busy bullshitting college freshmen and other clueless highbrows. Which doesn’t leave much time or motivation for real work.

I was never very interested in math, that subject is primarily deductive, my priority is the mechanics of induction. The core of which is selection, so it should be logically complex but mathematically simple. People like math for its clarity and certainty, at least initially. But there is a direct tradeoff between certainty and complexity of a subject, which don’t get more complex than effective human intelligence. I picked complexity and speculation first, certainty had to wait.

For programming, one must formally define the purpose first. Which wasn’t done for cognition, and it took me a lot of work before I could start coding. Cognitive algorithm must be designed with incremental complexity. And even relatively simple core algorithm should learn increasingly complex computational short-cuts (math and CS) on its own, just like we do. There aren’t a lot genes to encode our algorithm, and complex math certainly isn’t innate in humans.

You may have noticed lack of biographicals here. That’s because mine is a life of mind, the rest is a distraction (I had plenty of that). Throughout history, working alone on my problem would be of no consequence. Things changed: publish on the net now and Google will find you with the right keywords, status and credentials be damned. And making your ideas understood and intuition accepted is not even necessary anymore, all you really need is working code.

Still, a constructive conversation would be nice for now, seeing that I am short of the former.
Anything I write is meant to be substantially original, thus speculative. But the subject is king.
I never stop questioning assumptions and all my posts are a work in progress.


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