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Simon D. Levy Department of Computer Science Washington and Lee University Lexington, VA 24450 http://www.cs.wlu.edu/~levy.

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Simon d levy department of computer science washington and lee university lexington va 24450

  • Simon D. Levy

  • Department of Computer Science

  • Washington and Lee University

  • Lexington, VA 24450

  • http://www.cs.wlu.edu/~levy

The Fractal Beauty of Emergence: Re-EnVisioning Intelligence in Man and Machine


Big questions

Big Questions

  • What makes us human?

  • What keeps us from becoming more?

  • How do our metaphors hold us (and our artefacts) back?


What makes us human

What Makes Us Human?

  • Soul / Spirit

  • Emotion

  • Consciousness

  • Intelligence

  • Language


Language

Language

  • Reference to distal objects/events

  • Reference to (others’) beliefs

  • Structure (syntax)

  • Rule-governed


Language nature or nurture

Language : Nature or Nurture?

  • Skinner (1940’s-50’s): Verbal Behavior

  • Chomsky (50’s…): Universal Grammar

  • - Acquisition automatic

  • - “Inexplicable” patterns across languages

  • - Trans-finite / recursive representations


The current dogma

The Current Dogma

  • Language is fundamentally digital (recursive, symbolic, rule-based) computation

  • Like the rest of human psychology, this computation is largely determined by biological evolution

  • Chomsky: Accidental, non-adaptive

  • Pinker: Survival value of communication


Emergence escaping the nature nurture dichotomy

Emergence: Escaping the Nature/Nurture Dichotomy

  • “Inexplicable” patterns across languages

  • Language itself evolves adaptively

  • (Universal) patterns emerge under constraints of communication


Language as emergence

Language as Emergence

  • Sounds (phonemes) emerge as attractors in perception/action space [Browman / Goldstein / Studdert-Kennedy]

  • Universal syntactic patterns emerge from constraints on processing [Hurford / Kirby/ Batali]


Fractals structure without rules

Fractals: Structure Without Rules

  • Trans-finite / recursive representations

Fractal self-similarity mirrors self-similarity (embedding) in language…


Simon d levy department of computer science washington and lee university lexington va 24450

... But I know, too,


Simon d levy department of computer science washington and lee university lexington va 24450

That


Simon d levy department of computer science washington and lee university lexington va 24450

the blackbird is involved

in


Simon d levy department of computer science washington and lee university lexington va 24450

what


Simon d levy department of computer science washington and lee university lexington va 24450

I know.

... But I know, too,

That the blackbird is involved

In what

–Wallace Stevens


Language as a fractal

Language as a Fractal

  • Fractals can be directly implemented in neural-like networks [Tabor]

  • Neural architectures can be “super-Turing” in power [Siegelmann]

  • Human language may be located on the fractal “edge of chaos” [Crutchfield / Young] : kind of rule-governed, kind of wild


Implications for ai cog sci

Implications for AI / Cog. Sci.

  • Maybe our metaphors (not computing power) are what’s holding back human-like machine intelligence

  • Possibility of a “Grand Unification” between the way we think about images / art and the way we think about computation / thought / language


Implications for transhumanism

Implications for Transhumanism

  • Dogma of biologically determined, hard-wired digital brains / computers loses appeal.

  • Humans are “natural-born cyborgs” [Clark] whose tools co-evolve adaptively with human wetware and environment.


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