Monday, 24 May 2010

Synthetic Cognition:

Narrating How Hot Organs Discovered Information

A rock falling is not exchanging information about the gravity attraction. The thermonuclear reactions inside a star are not carrying any information. Why? Information is always information about something for something. And to be “for” you need an interest. A star is not proud to shine neither worried to explode. You need to be alive to be interested in the game of differences. Then they become bloody important. If you are alive you need to fight a lot. Actually you are counter-balancing the entropic pressure that would like to see you dead. It's a lot of a fight!

When you are a living being, you are deeply in need of maintaining yourself in a reasonable equilibrium. But you can't stay there forever: you need food. You can be a sophisticated, posh autotrophic organism or an aggressive unicellular berserk; it doesn't matter: you have to move your ass to feed yourself. Second big problem: sex. As usual, you want to mate with everything that moves (it's in your more archaic genes...), but it's more efficient if you mate with something that will actually be able to become pregnant (from a pure logico-metaphysical point of view, spreading your genes all over the place could be a strategy; I still recommend a partner, possibly from your own species. Or at least related. Well, it just a matter of taste, I suppose,....).

OK, now you're alive, you're sated and possibly you get laid. What happened? You mapped your environment with differences; you've been able to see information in the universe. That's right. No information without food or sex (to say that sex is making the world goes round and that is the oldest job in the world are pure truisms). So now we are relaxed and we can think. Thinking is a recursive operation on several layers of cognition. Thinking is the representation of the representation activity. But in principle we can image an artificial thinking. The proposal runs this way: my thinking is a process of information, an algorithm. If you build a machine with the right procedures, the machine will be able to think. If my thinking is not a ghost but a series of procedures, it's not important what is made of. Now is a gray jam of organic matter, but it could be made of silicon. We could build the artificial thinking machine. And if this is possible, it could happen; at least in one possible world.

So let's say the happening of random facts (what a redundancy: facts are always random...) will produce information processing units. They are artificial so they are not vulnerable as living beings. In principle...Indeed they are not interested in what's happening: at the end of the day a machine doesn't care to die: it's not properly alive anyway. But for the sake of the argument, let's say that information processing units that don't care to die, will tend to die, while the same random occurrence of information processing units, with the only difference to pretend they care. Second, information processing units in mental experiments ,normally, are not particularly interested in fame, lust or whatever You are interested in. These selfless processing information units won't be bother to maintain the set of information their algorithm represents. True. Let's say a beta version actually bother: for random reason, one information is to care about reproduction of the information.

So, if for random reasons, it happens the case to have information processing units, the ones that will be around are very likely those that cares to be around and to reproduce this story. The other way: if you are around, you're a fact who cares about differences, because you can tell information about your staying around and potentially reproducing this information. In other words a fact that pretends to represents, it's alive. Or you can say that living beings are actual Turing machines, that is to say: artificial intelligence is organic cognition. Or the other way round, I'm pretty liberal about that. Conclusion: if there is information, there is representation. If you're artificial, then you're alive. If you can hear a story, then you can tell one. But most of all, remind yourself "this is a representation".

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