my M366 blog

“philosophy with your
maths and computing stuff sir?”


watching myself die

That’s what it feels like I’m doing. I’m angry [about things that haven’t happened yet and won’t ever happen outside my nightmares of violent revenge], I’m passive [about things that I should be angry about], I’m bored [having too much to do], I squat playing games in a bubble of self-hatred and darkness.

Into this sorry mix I get a bad mark for a TMA. I’ve had these [those?] before, many times; this was different. There was the sinister touch of, “you aren’t up to this” about my tutor’s comments — the sub-text was: too stupid to go further. I have to agree. If that is the best that I can do I deserve to have my head opened, and drained, in a public place.

Somewhere, somehow, I have lost something of me. The days where I joyously scrawled number theory on the walls of my office have passed. I’m scared to open up any of the shared projects that I started. I’m scared to do anything active. All I know is nameless-fear and itchy body loathing. I can’t even summon up the energy to crawl-off into a hole; I cower and quake where I find myself, for the benefit of the publica as it were.

Yes, yes, I know that I’m seriously depressed. That you spotted the blatently-flagrent hasn’t done me whit one of good. Seeing the problem is never the problem itself. There are entire industries set-up to support hopeless-losers like me, I’d be surprised if they helped anyone but themselves to government cash. At best they will do fuck-all, at worst they will try to understand you. People like me know that help & support is the rope that they will hang you with.

I’ve been here before: I’ll wait two weeks for an appointment with the doctor, who will try to cure me of smoking, drinking and who-knows what other nonsense he’s into. My jumbled, dangerous fucked head is not something that he gets paid for fixing. Besides he doesn’t know how.

I could just give up? Kill myself and die? Not an option for me I’m afraid, I’ve seen how that plays-out for the living — better a living fuck-wit than a dead saint. So I have to struggle on, in hate, in woe, knowing that once I enjoyed life and with a deep-deep anger that may just sustain me through black-doom days that are my future.



Yes, I’ve gone and got me some of that old-time religion. Hallelujah! Hosanna! and other religious words beginning with H [perhaps harangue?]. As you might expect this isn’t the full story, it is unlikely that I’ll be evangelising on a door-step near-you soon. What I have become interested in is the concept of free-will.

To nutshell this concept I ask you the following question—why did, an all-knowing God, get so snarky when Adam and [St]Eve had a Tree of Knowledge takeaway? Surely God knew that this apple munching was going to happen? He built us after all? [In his image. Is there a history here? Was God a scrummper at someone else’s tree?]

For Christians this is a huge problem—can we get away with a totally evil life if we honestly repent our sins before we write our last code? That’s a pretty sketchy definition of the problem, but the gist is there. People have burned for having an unpopular opinion on this in the past. I expect that there will be deaths in the future too. I’ll leave such discussions to the experts.

For us, mere mortals, involved in passing an AI TMA, it’s all about the question: “is it all just code?” Is it only the intelligence of the creator that matters? Did God create humans just to have a bit of fun kicking their sorry-asses out of Eden?

We have to ask ourselves two questions.

  1. What did God want to do?
  2. If we want to create an AI what do we want to do?

Actually the only question that we need to ask is, what did God say as [St]Eve chomped the apple?

  • “Yah! OMG f**king finally, I have made life”
  • “they are soooo douched”
  • “not Tetris again! At least flappy bird made me buy a better phone…”
  • “whoops, did not expect that…’

Well, according to the Book, God only clocked that he had a problem when he noticed that A & [S]E were wearing pants. Do we need to worry when you open up the command prompt and you get:

why am i not a mac? i seem to be ugly


pissing around

As part of the first TMA we have to talk to a chatbot to see if it passes the Turing test. By no stretch of the imagination does it do so…

Hi neil !
[ Af:14 At:8 Sp:2] Welcome back, neil. Type "help" if you need it.
neil - are you really a girl
[ Af:14 At:9 Sp:2] I am wearing a dress. I also have long hair. What do you think?
neil - are dresses girly?
[ Af:14 At:9 Sp:2] Sorry. I can't help you. I'm sorry. I don’t know.
neil - why don’t you know?
[ Af:14 At:7 Sp:2] I don’t really want to follow that out. Let's change topic. Freud would say it stems from a childhood incident. What is the one thing you've always wanted to do in your life and haven’t done yet?
neil - you have a big bottom
[ Af:14 At:8 Sp:2] I've always wanted to visit outer space and see the Earth from outside of it.
neil - still, big bum eh?
[ Af:14 At:8 Sp:2] Why me?
neil - junk in the trunk?
[ Af:14 At:8 Sp:2] I wish I knew. Let me research that and get back to you.

I was tempted to carry on but I don’t think that I can ever say, “yes, your bottom looks huge in that”. Even to a computer.

Still, fun though that was we want insight here, why isn’t the bot working? On the forums we’ve discussed human frailty and the difficuly of reproducing this using an, “infernal machine”. However, I don’t see that this is the problem here: it’s about humans identifying with their meatwork, call me a skinny bastard and you’ll get my attention. My serious attention. The bot didn’t seem to care that it had an over-devoloped back-end. in fact I think that it had no concept of arse, in any of its senses. There will be a word for that…

Ah, yes, that one, and another, knock youself out. Tell me what you think.


philosophy, 101…

All this AI stuff is getting to me, I’ve stopped working the course books, they leave me feeling distinctly queasy; I worry that I’m going to be asked for an opinion. My degree has been all about code, logic, maths, algorithmns, rigour…my opinion wasn’t required. In fact, as was pointed out many times, my opinion means doodly-squat to the thinking classes. Not so this time. This course, it seems, requires the nonsense inside my head to be publically opened-up and aired. So, in horror, I bought myself a book about the history of philosophy. [And started playing online chess, another tale.]

What do I think about philosophy? [From the reading of the book that is.] It’s all a bit like this course—plenty of opinions, very few hard edges of fact. There’s a wee bit of me that thinks that it’s all tosh. Just people saying stuff. Well maybe not.

I noticed that Zeno and his famous twatitudes paradoxes raised their heads early on. That’s my problem—well one of them, these paradoxes are clearly rubbish; people who believe in Zeno will get an arrow in their kipper, I hope. Zeno’s ramblings fly in the very face of sense, and yet we waited yonks until Weierstrass showed what we all knew—Zeno was talking rubbish. But we knew that Zeno was talking rubbish a long time before that, didn’t we? So we can rely on our common-sense?

If only it was that easy.

you see…

I know that I know nothing. Who said that? But nobody knows nothing. Actually look at what I just typed, “nobody knows nothing”. What does that mean?


my place on the spectrum of stupidity

There’s plain dumb, dumb, stupid, really stupid, not even wrong and a stupid so stupid that it gets enscrolled in the Great Book of Stupidity. The book which will be read at the end of the universe, because we’ll need cheering up at that point. Where am I on this spectrum? Judge for yourselves…

Is it sensible, when you know hee-haw about what Gödel really said, [I tell myself I skipped it because I lacked time, I lacked brains methinks] to get into an argument with a tutor, who clearly did? Worse, when he pointed out that I was wrong I doubled up and said that he was in the fail camp. I cringe as I write. I got a, rather restrained, put-down of the simplicities of my mind [he could have said much worse]. I’ll be in the big-book for sure. Yet another memory that I’m never going to be able to blot out however mad I get.

still, Turing…

Why did he think that we’d think that computers were, or might seem, intelligent? I have thoughts but they involve ideas about Turing the man rather than any rational attempt to understand what he meant by computer intelligence. So they aren’t really ideas, just pictures in my mind. Or is that the point? I can still see all my pets, girlfriends—everything that I’ve ever done is, potentially in scope. I may forget, or I may seem to forget but you'd have to fry my brain to be sure.

Computers are like Trigger’s broom, just inter-changeable bits of kit. We can see what they know.

I think that the Turing test…yes, what do I think about the Turing test? There’s a bit of me that thinks that it’s a cul-de-sac, and there’s another bit of me that thinks that passing it is a basic requirement. I’ll admit I’m lost.

And that’s a good thing; I’m reading lots, thinking lots and, in general, having head-fun. I often don’t notice the antics of the ducks when I walk to work along the canal…

Spectrum of stupidity remember…


am I weak?

I suppose that I’d better try to explain what I’m gibbering about. Weak AI means that we think that we can never, ever-ever, create a machine that thinks, all we can do is create something that will tell us something about ourselves and the way that the meat in our heads works. Strong AI thinks that we can, more-or-less, create terminators. Strong AI is not much thought of nowadays it seems.

Where do I stand? Perhaps the question should be, where do humans stand? There is a worring lack of anger about this question; global warming, GMO crops and goja berries seem to drive people daft. In the sense that people are willing to write vile things about others simply because they don’t have the same meat-state about them.

That we might create a “thing” that may be interested in culling us doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s radar. I suppose that most of humanity thinks that the possibility of us creating something more wooden than Arnie is slight.

A simple google [or in this case one of my bookmarks] throws up a to-the-death fight about quantum optimization. [I won’t link to an actual physics blog, these things are just too bloody.] Can I find the same passion about weak versus strong AI? Nope

My take? We are so far away from being weak that the question itself is stoopid. I’m going to go along with my mate Chris, if it ain’t testable why are you talking about it?

I’m going to die by bot?


first thoughts…

Lots. In many ways this is the course that I enrolled for—to create a machine that would play games for me. Or a machine that would give me hints as to what the game was about, or…

I write this in raw HTML, that is when I wrote raw I typed <em>raw</em>. I knew what I meant by raw, I wanted you to know what I meant by raw. Does this stuff matter? Does this make sense?

This looks different too, doesn’t it? This gibberish about HTML isn’t entirely gibberish. What I’m waving my hands at is that meaning and actual may not be what you see. I expect we’ll come back to that!

Does a raw correspond to a real world entity? And if it doesn’t are we all poorer?

I’ve come to beleive that it does. However, before I sport my conjectures in public I’d rather that my corners are knocked-off in the hurly-burly of the fora.

For now all you have to know is that not writing in proper paragraphs, with proper headers jibs me up big-time. If we are going to get an AI machine we are all going to have to be more careful with our grammer, syntax and semantics; otherwise the thing will bwe[sic] confused.

And who wants that?