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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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slide1

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…

slide21

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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