Marvin Minsky

Going to talk about the dark side of cuteness. When I was a kid, the story of the three bears, Goldilocks. When I heard that story, I didn’t see anything wrong with bears that talked or made porridge, but I didn’t see any thermodynamic way which it could fit. Marvin has a book called The Emotion Machine. Soon we’ll need to endow our Machines with Commonsense, Knowledge, and Reasoning.

If you have an increase in life expectancy is going to cause a major labor crunch. No one will want to do the work.

He put “emotion” in the title of his most recent book to fool people into being interested, it’s actually about thinking. If you ask people what it’s like to be in love, they can write books and books, if you ask them how they just had a thought or idea, they haven’t the foggiest.

Old view on emotions: Most emotions add features to thoughts, the way an artist adds colors to black and white drawings. Those additions seem mysterious.

New view on emotions: Each emotion tends to SUPPRESS certain features of regular thinking. This does not add any mysteries!

Why did intelligence take so long to evolve? Just a few new genes would have made our brains larger, but this would have caused some grave handicaps. The human brain uses about 20 watts. What must have happened is before the brain could get larger it had to get some improvements in processing. Values, censors, ideals, taboos. There’s no evidence that any of the earlier mammals can think about what they’ve been thinking recently. It’s a few tricks like that, reflective thinking, that enabled us to use knowledge more efficiency.

What happened AI? There was a DARPA contest recently where a team with 100 miles in a computer-driven vehicle without hitting an obstacle or falling in a ditch. In other words, they can do what every four-legged animal can do. I’ve never seen anybody discuss what I call quantum certainty. Solar systems are not very stable, if something happened to change the orbit of Jupiter a little bit, it would effect the other planets. The planet Pluto is not stable, it will be thrown out of the solar system in about 3 billion years. In the quantum world, nothing ever changes except suddenly, and those changes only happen every few trillion years. The electrons around a hydrogen atom can only be in a certain number of orbits and the probability of being outside that orbit is zero. (That was a tangent and I might not have caught it all correctly, but it sounds like he pretty strongly disagrees with the earlier speakers.)

We developed new ways to think, and learned to hang around older people and learn new ways to think. Think of the brain as 400 little computers which has evolved to do a different thing, and each mental state is what you get when you turn on 50 or 60 or 10.

The critic-selector model of mind: When you fail to achieve a goal and if you can diagnose what went wrong, then you may know some way to change your approach. Analogy, change how you’re describing it, break it into parts, replace it with a simpler one, ask another person for help.

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