Saturday, February 13, 2016

Point charge student lab experiment

Forty years ago if you wanted to measure equipotentials in the first year physics lab you filled a tray with saltwater, powered the electrodes with an induction coil, and located the equipotentials using the sound you heard in a hand held earphone.  I soon discovered that one could use a DC bench power supply in place of the AC induction coil and measure potentials directly with a digital voltmeter.  You could even measure electric field with a pair of probe wires attached to a voltmeter.  Rotating the pair until you got a maximum reading gave you the field direction.  I used this setup for a few years until the modern conducting paper experiment became available.  It was less messy and no dangerous saltwater around power supplies.  But a point charge experiment in two dimensions does not give a potential that varies as 1/r or an electric field that varies as one over r squared.

A 3 dimensional point charge experiment is possible using a large jar filled with saltwater.  A metal screen is placed along the wall of the jar to serve as cathode connected to a battery or power supply.  An insulated wire with just a tiny conducting wire tip exposed is hung in the center of the jar and connected to the DC supply as the anode (I.e., the point charge).  Another similar insulated wire with an exposed tip is then connected to a voltmeter and used as a probe that you move around inside the water.  I use stiff "bell wire."  A pair can be used to measure electric field.  Now one can get the 3 dimensional 1/r scaling of voltage as a function of distance from the point charge.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Flow-through systems

There are people that believe that some sufficiently large but closed formal system, beginning with a theory of everything, (some string theory perhaps) could, through computer simulations and emergence, come to develop reasonable theories of physics, then chemistry, then biology, then social science, etc. etc. essentially forever. On the other hand I have noted that my own creativity machines seemed to operate more as information flow-through systems, requiring a steady input of new facts in order to generate new original output. (see Trans. Kansas Acad. Sci. 102, pg 32, 1999)
One of the behaviorist's models of the brain is the finite state machine which, at each time step, receives a new input stimulus, changes its state, and outputs some new response, sometimes a creative one. (See, for instance, page 98 of  Behaviorism by John Staddon, Duckworth, 1993.)
My own scientific work seems to depend upon a steady input in the form of books, journal articles, experimental results, etc. in order to continuously revise my theoretical models (state) and produce original results like those reported here and in my other publications. (i.e., an open system)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Life after death for quantum computers?

With an artificial intelligence program run on a quantum computer the processing (thinking) takes place either in computers in Everett's many worlds or else in the many dimensional Hilbert space. (see my blog of 13 Oct. 2015 and Bull. Am. Phys. Soc., March, 2016) If the computer in our world were destroyed while the program was running wouldn't the processing continue in other worlds?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Psychometric AI

Ben Goertzel and others have criticized much of current mainstream work as being "narrow AI." (Artificial General Intelligence, Springer, 2007)  Bringsjord and Schimanski have suggested we overcome this limitation using "one program for many tasks" as proposed in Newell's "20 Questions" paper (in Visual Information Processing, Academic Press, 1973).  Where as "everyone is carrying out work on his or her own specific little part of human cognition" Newell proposed we "stay with the diverse collection of small experimental tasks, as now, but to construct a single system to perform them all." "it must be a single system in order to provide the integration we seek."  This has been done to some degree by the connectionists.  What a wide number of problems have been attempted using the standard backprop algorithm for example. I have been doing similar things with my Asa H.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Who won the space race?

There's a new BBC documentary titled: "Cosmonauts: How Russia Won the Space Race." Thought I'd present my own view/argument on this issue.  Here are some important accomplishments:

                                   First rocket into space: German V-2

Russian firsts:                                                              U.S. firsts:

First I.C.B.M., R-7                                 First satellite recovered from orbit, Discoverer
First earth satellite                                             First orbital docking
First moon probes                                              First men to orbit moon
First planetary probes                                        First men to land on moon
First man in space, Vostok                                Robotic exploration of Mars
First soft landing on moon                                Robots probe outer planets
First animals around moon and back safely      Robots out of solar system
Robotic exploration of Venus                           Sample return from comet
First space station                                              Reusable spacecraft
First permanently manned space station

It looks like a tie to me! Both sides have much to be proud of. There is no need to belittle one another.

Why program in BASIC?

The weak link in computing today is the human.  It makes sense to make things as simple for the human as possible.  The QB64 compiler takes your BASIC code and converts it to C++.

Friday, February 5, 2016

A and P Consciousness

Ned Block talks about access and phenomenal consciousness.  He says "A state is A-conscious if it is poised for direct control of thought and action." (Consciousness, Function, and Representation, MIT Press, 2007, Page 168) In my Asa H 2.0 light (see my blog of  10 Feb. 2011) the nearest matching case vector becomes active in the module between lines 1020 and 1080 in the code and may output an action or make a prediction about the future in the module between lines 2300 and 2320. In some versions of Asa H search is reduced by retaining this best matching case over time (keeping it in consciousness) until it's degree of match drops below some threshold.

On page 171 Block says "A-conscious states are ... Thoughts, beliefs...e.g., the thought that grass is green." Asa H's case vectors are exactly things like "grass is green" and other beliefs that Asa H has learned from its experiences in the world.

Block also says on page 171 that "The paradigm P-conscious states are sensations..." And on page 170 that "...the feel of pain is a P-conscious type" or kind of state.  When the parts of a Lego NXT robot controlled by Asa H break apart torn sensor wires signal a pain which is recorded in a case vector (a state, a state of Asa's being). Other external and internal sensors provide additional components for each of Asa's case/state vectors.

Asa H does not have what I would call a "phenomenal consciousness module" however.  (Block, page 163) Unless such modules are the sensors and any preprocessors that are associated with them.