Re: virus: The Root of All Unhappiness Lies in Yourself.

John P. Schneider (
Mon, 23 Dec 1996 19:44:41 -0600

> > Einstein used pure speculation to advance science dramatically. It was
> > 'useful in a scientific sort of way'. Moreover, it was not harmful in
> > any way whatsoever. The other things you mentioned cannot say the same.
> Nuclear bomb. Harmful or non-harmful? Let's ask the Bikini Islanders
> or the ex-inhabitants of Hiroshima.

The theory of relativity did not cause us to build a bomb and drop it.
The war had nothing to do with the atomic bomb. However, wars have been
based on Chrisitanity, communism, and dictatorships, (which were
in the previous post.)

> All ideas are harmful as much as they help. Its just the usage, like
> any tool, that gives them a smiling face or a bloody eye to face
> history with.

I agree with this; I just don't think the analogy fits perfectly with
the above. The usage of a the tool was based on belief in some meme or
another. That meme, whatever it is, is the real culprit, not the tool.
(e.g. "Guns don't kill people, people kill people.")

> > Take that same neural network, and give it the ability to 'sense' some
> > environment, and also give the ability to communicate to some simple
> > queries. Then, allow it to go into its 'dreamlike' state for a while,
> > and finally, ask it some questions to find out how it interprets its
> > own flurry of activity. I would be interested in seeing what it says.
> Why repeat a process that's already been done? The AI autonomous
> agent architecture, Maximus, watches Mac-based email software as a
> user operates it to learn their patterns and tendencies, attempting to
> learn well enough to second-guess their needs. At a given time,
> typicall at night when usage is low, Maximus goes into a `learning
> consolidation state,' in which it considers the states its observed
> during the day, compares them to older states and reworks its tables
> to update for recently observed behaviour. Does this not mimic
> `dreaming' well enough and hint at one possible service dreaming may
> provide?

Interesting, and thanks for the info. I had better read up on this some
more before I attempt to speculate further.

> [As a sidreal note, typically you cannot `ask' a NNet about its
> activity; they are `black boxes' for the operations they pursue, which
> is one of the drawbacks of such a system. Systems of emergent module
> interaction or of symbolic nets can generally tell you every what and
> wherefore of their choices, however. Maximus is one of these
> systems.]

The question would need to be directed at some system 'running on' the
net. I stupidly did not consider that setting up such a NNet would be
a pretty challenging task, to say the least. (Er, oops!)