MD Level 5...?

From: Horse (
Date: Tue Sep 22 1998 - 01:09:18 BST

Hi Platt and Squad

> I don't agree with the implication that “intellect is a creation of level
> 3.” Intellect is a creation of Dynamic Quality. Nor do I agree that “it
> is the interaction between patterns of value which gives rise to an
> emergent level.” It is Dynamic Quality that gives rise to an emergent
> level.
> <SNIP>
> In other words it’s the force of DQ, the dynamic aspect of the MOQ,
> which *creates* new levels, not accidental interactions between
> levels as Horse claims.

First off, I don't think I've ever talked about interaction between patterns of value as
accidental - if you know different then let me know. We're interacting with each
other in this particular discussion, Intellectual interaction, within the Social setting
of the Lila Squad discussion forum using Biology to press Inorganic keys on our
keyboards. New thoughts arise, new sentences are formed and none of this is
accidental although at times it is certainly serendipitous. PoV's interact
continually at all levels and in a staggeringly complex way. Some of this may be
'accidental' but this depends completely on how you define accidental - I assume
that you mean randomly - and some of it MAY be random (or seem that way).
The interaction of patterns would seem to be the basis for DQ - or (no sarcasm
intended) do you think that there are an infinity of discrete PoV's that never
interact but are only acted on by DQ.
The Intellectual level didn't spring from nowhere fully formed. It arose from the
interaction of social, biological and inorganic PoV's - the interaction being at
least part (but not necessarily all) of DQ. The way I have expressed that part of
this process is interaction - which is a dynamic process. I was, in part, parodying
you own statement that:

>>Since the Internet and computer viruses are both creations of
>>level 4. they cannot surpass level 4.

which seems incorrect according to your own reasoning:

> “And beyond that is an even more compelling reason: societies and
> thoughts and principles themselves are no more than static patterns.
> These patterns by themselves can’t perceive and adjust to Dynamic
> Quality. Only a living being can do that.” (LILA p.185.)

And a living being, e.g. a human person, is not just a bundle of IntPoV's.

> Kilian suggests that perhaps the creation of computer viruses and
> the Internet comprising a level 5 could be attributed to a level 4
> response to DQ. But Pirsig makes it clear that levels don't respond to
> DQ. Only individuals do:

which is why I made the statement about persons in my post of 12/9:

"The relationship and interplay between the four layers gives rise to what we
describe as a person - which I believe is different to subject and is certainly not
an object. The person is not the sum of the PoV's of the four levels but is the
interactions AND relationships between those PoV's and (recursively) the
interaction between persons - the whole is greater than the sum of the parts."

The person is a product of DQ.

> Since Horse seems to possess almost a religious faith in the
> potential of artificial intelligence, and perhaps Kilian to a lesser
> extent (along with a raft of talented science fiction writers), it’s
> understandable of them to attempt to expand the MOQ to encompass
> what they envision as a whole new level in a world of super well-
> endowed robots.

You're wrong here on a number of things. I have no religious faith in anything,
including the MoQ. I made that absolutely clear in my first post to the Squad and
a number of times since then. To be even more precise, I have no religion and no
faith whatsoever. What I have is reason, experience and the desire to speculate,
among other attributes. I do have the desire (hopefully along with the rest of the
Squad) to expand the scope of the MoQ to encompass all sorts of things and
ideas, but I'm not insistent that there is a fifth level - this is speculation, as I've
continually stated. I refuse to close the door on the possibility that a fifth level
may exist either now or some time in the future. I'm interested to explore how
(and if) this may be possible.

> But, there’s no indication that Pirsig shares this view...

There's also no indication that he doesn't.

> ...nor do computer experts agree that true AI will be attained at ANY level.

Whoa there! There are a great number of computer scientists that do believe that
AI will be realised at some point.
My opinion, after having studied AI at University for 3 years and in the intervening
5 years is that it is unlikely that AI will come from the traditional route - writing an
intelligent program. This is why in the majority of my posts related to this subject
I have always linked AI with ALife. Alife starts from the bottom and works upwards
in an attempt to go through the stages of evolution. If you read ALife papers and
research journals you will find much of it written by people who strongly support
the idea that AI is attainable through ALife. This appears to be a more likely route
to AI. Much of the work conducted at the Santa Fe Institute for Complex Studies
is aimed at this. It is also attended, supported and run by people like Murray Gell-
Mann, Doyne Farmer, Chris Langton (check out the credits for the other speakers
at the Einstein meets Magritte conference), Ken Arrow, Brian Arthur, Rodney
Brooks etc. The list is long and distinguished, including Nobel prize winners in
various fields. Many of these people are at least as well known as Gelernter, most
of them more so. All of them are held in high regard.

> To quote from David Gelernter whose name and
> credentials are well known among computer scientists:
> “If a running program is an information processor, does that mean it
> is just like the brain? After all, the brain is an information processor,
> too, right? Wrong: the brain is no mere information processor, it is a
> *meaning creator*--and meaning creation is a trick no computer
> can accomplish. ... You can build a sophisticated digital rose-
> recognition system,. wave a rose in front of it and thereby bring
> about lots of electrical activity; and perhaps after a while some
> words will appear on a screen -- “rose recognition accomplished” or
> “damn, what a rose!”.-- but no one and nothing has had the
> sensation of having seen anything.

And go back a couple of hundred thousand years and wave a copy of Lila in front
of a proto-human and will probably try and eat it or beat you to death with it. The
passage you quote above says very little except for the obvious - that a computer
program is not a human.

> And no computer scientist has
> any reason to believe that any computer ever *will* have such a
> sensation, or any other sensation.

Is this guy a serious scientist or an oracle. I could dig through the books on my
shelves and make an equally good case for either point of view.

> Granted there is no reason in
> principle why you couldn’t build a machine that shares with the brain
> this remarkable capacity; but there is also no reason to suppose you
> could do it without reproducing the brain itself.”

And there is no reason to suppose that given a sufficiently complex system that
you couldn't.The above sounds, in some ways, very similar to Roger Penrose in
The Emperor's New Mind. From the quotes you provide there doesn't seem to be
a particularly open mind at work - but as I haven't read the book it would be unfair
to take this out of context. I cannot say for sure (and neither can Gelernter or
anyone else) whether AI is attainable or not so I keep an open mind. From my
previous posts you can probably see that I am prepared to accept the possibility
that an AI may develop at some point. This does not mean that it will. I will argue
in favour of the possibility where there is evidence to support it or when/if I
experience something that feels as if it is going in the right direction. But all that
Gelernter seems to be saying is that this is not possible presently and then
appears to go on to assume that this will be the case for all time.

> Incidentally, this quote comes from Gelernter’s book “Machine
> Beauty” where you’ll find the entire first chapter devoted to a
> stunning confirmation of the MOQ. Note his emphasis in the above
> passage on the brain as a *meaning creator.* As wonderful as
> computer technology may be, what can it tell us about the MEANING
> of a computer virus or the MEANING of the information on the
> Internet?

What can you tell me about the meaning of same thing. Anything you can tell me
is likely to only have meaning within a human context. Gelernter seems to have
the same attitude that so may people have. If an intelligence is not a human
intelligence then it is not intelligence. Intelligence is thus measured by a human
standard and only a human can measure up to that standard - talk about loading
the dice!! This also sounds very similar to discussions about what is and isn't life.
A great number of people wouldn't accept a meme or a computer virus as life or
proto-life even though they conform to every definition to support the same
conclusion regarding carbon-based structures. Provide me with an iron-clad
definition of intelligence, which will include every single living human on the planet
and let's see how it may match up to a potential machine intelligence. You'll also
need to show that there is no possibility that a machine can become complex
enough at some point in the future to conform to your own criteria.The best one
so far (that I know of) was provided by Alan Turing and this involved a QUALITY

> In any event, thanks to Horse and Kilian for their responses. We
> learn from one another even if we don’t always agree. Good old DQ
> at work.

Amen to that!


"Making history, it turned out, was quite easy.
It was what got written down.
It was as simple as that!"
Sir Sam Vimes.

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