11/3/16

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 I’ve come across is coherent enough. And also because I can, emotionally and recently financially. Not that I am the smartest guy in the world, but it‘s not what you got, it‘s how you use it.

The older I get (chronologically 54, biologically late 30s), the more it hits me just how abnormal I am: consistent, insensitive to conditioning, driven mostly by value-free curiosity. “Value-free” means selective only for higher-generality concepts. And the only mind-wide concept is the very algorithm of generalization = recognition = cognition. Lacking nearly universal dependence on irrelevant social support and immediate experimentation, I am free to pursue theoretical imperatives.

My first interests were geography and history, then physical sciences and biology. I majored in social science because society has the deepest structured complexity of any established subject. But that field always lacked 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 (Cognitive Focus), mostly for insight into our deficiencies. To understand intrinsic function of cognition, vs. tons of other things in human mind, I think sustained introspective generalization is far superior to 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 for a while. But philosophers are too busy bullshitting college freshmen and other clueless highbrows, they don’t seem to have much time or motivation left for real work.

You may have noticed that my interests are missing math and computer science. These are primarily deductive fields: solutions looking for a problem, and causing a man-with-hammer syndrome. I start with induction to define intelligence, then derive operations from that definition. The latter is not terribly controversial, but consistent derivation makes almost all math that I came across irrelevant.

Cognitive algorithm must be designed with incremental complexity. Complex math is useful on higher levels of generalization, but is too expensive initially. And even a relatively low-complexity core algorithm should be able to learn increasingly complex computational short-cuts (AKA math) on its own, just like we do. Things like calculus and such are certainly not innate in humans.

My impression is that people who like math do so for its clarity and certainty, at least initially. But there is a direct tradeoff between certainty and complexity of the subject, which don’t get much more complex than human intelligence. I picked complexity and speculation first, certainty had to wait.

Also missing here is anything biographic. Mine is a life of mind, the rest is a distraction.
Throughout history, working alone on my problem would have no real consequence. Things changed: publish on the net now and Google will find you with the right keywords, status and credentials be damned. And convincing people is not even necessary anymore, all you really need is a working code.

Still, a constructive conversation would be nice for now, seeing that I am short of the former.
Anything I write is extremely speculative, to be original. But that’s not an end in itself, understanding my subject is. I never stop questioning assumptions and all my posts are a work in progress.

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