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[P]
What if Mindpixel was right?

By zenofchai in Science
Wed Aug 23, 2006 at 02:49:33 AM EST
Tags: (all tags)

[T]rane's diary entry and the later MLP discuss the life and death, primarily the latter, of Chris McKinstry, better known around these parts as mindpixel.

His Mindpixel Project was an AI experiment; but in that I was never terribly interested. I was more interested in his theories on cognition and the brain as a hypersphere, optimised for surface area.


The website for his project now only shows an artistic representation of this sort of "quantum, hyper-dimensional mind" at work. While it seems the general idea lives on, the fundamentals of his "common sense" research as a foundation for artificial intelligence seem to have drifted by the wayside, if they were ever really considered.

But the idea of the mind as space was the one that stirred the most discussion and controversy. He envisioned the human brain as an evolutionarily advanced complex computing machine, described by his Specific Hypergeometric Hypothesis which said that "immediate memories are points on the maximum hypersurface of a seven-dimensional sphere and complex cognition is a trajectory on the same hypersurface".

Now, I do not want to get into the mathematical specifics of this theory or why he specified seven as the dimensionality, or the implications of this theory onto manners of free will or spirituality, even though such discussions are near and dear to my heart, especially in the past couple of years. What interested me, today, in going back and re-examining these claims, are the implications on out-of-body experience, telepathy,  anguage, and the mind-body problem. On consciousness itself.

And, of course, life after death.

If the mind exists hyperdimensionally, as the result of emergent energy fields projected from the biological brain -- that is to say, if the mind begins as a hyperdimensional surface, sparked by the biological brain -- then the nature of consciousness and connection is not necessarily defined by our biological faculties -- perhaps even by our death. If McKinstry was right, then it not only makes sense to speak of things like "expanding the mind" and "free your mind", in fact it literally provides the theoretical basis for experimentation in these areas.

McKinstry was particularly fond of LSD for just this reason: that our rational minds are limited to being able to think in words and language; that is, learned behavior, learned patterns of thought. To be able to think truly in abstracts, to be able to think in colours, shapes -- to be able to think hyperdimensionally -- one must necessarily find means of thinking without language, of separating the influence of the biological upon the hyperdimensional. The concept of alingual, aspacial, and multi-spacial thinking itself is hard, by definition to rationally consider in a spatial, lingual fashion.

If expansion of this hypersurface is possible, then perhaps humans (and other animals, as McKinstry posited that all higher  mammalian brains could act in this fashion) could begin to communicate or sense using their extra-dimensional faculties. If stretching or elongating the connection between the hypersurface and its biological components is possible, then out-of-body experience could be possible. If severing this connection is possible, then the hypersurface of our memories, our very mind itself, might indeed last beyond our corporeal bodies. What existence that could be, is only theoretical, but indeed it begs one to ask the question: What if Mindpixel was right?

Other links of interest: the Mindpixel Blog, his Flickr photostream, and his K5 diary and comment histories.

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Poll
The mind is:
o biological 52%
o the maximum hypersurface of a seven-dimensional sphere 30%
o WIPO 16%

Votes: 36
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o [T]rane's diary entry
o MLP
o Chris McKinstry
o mindpixel
o Mindpixel Project
o optimised for surface area
o website
o general idea
o research
o the mind as space
o human brain
o mathematic al specifics
o free will
o near
o dear
o out-of-bod y experience
o telepathy
o mind-body problem
o consciousn ess
o life after death
o LSD
o language
o colours, shapes
o expansion
o higher  mammalian brains
o Mindpixel Blog
o Flickr photostream
o diary
o comment
o Also by zenofchai


Display: Sort:
What if Mindpixel was right? | 138 comments (121 topical, 17 editorial, 0 hidden)
these ideas are locally homeomorphic (3.00 / 5) (#3)
by Kronecker on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 01:04:32 PM EST

to the boundary of a boundary of a 6-disc.

--
At some point we have to face down a culture in which not only the mob in the street but the highest judges and academics talk like crazies. - Mark Steyn
the boundary of the boundary of anything (3.00 / 3) (#23)
by Kronecker on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 04:07:50 PM EST

{}

--
At some point we have to face down a culture in which not only the mob in the street but the highest judges and academics talk like crazies. - Mark Steyn
[ Parent ]
^_^ (none / 1) (#30)
by givemegmail111 on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 06:17:16 PM EST

nt

--
McDonalds: i'm lovin' it
Start your day tastefully with a Sausage, Egg & Cheese McGriddle, only at McDonalds.
Rusty fix my sig, dammit!
[ Parent ]
uh (3.00 / 5) (#10)
by lilnobody on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 02:21:46 PM EST

He never meant much more than the brain is a complicated computer, specially designed to process data that was -best represented- on a 7-dimensional sphere.  

I never read any of his things which truly suggested an other-worldly or beyond-nature aspect to the mind.  Instead, he advocated a better understanding of intelligence (and thereby artificial intelligence) via a mathematical model which could fully represent cognition.

At least, that's what I remember.  Some of his more out-there posts included finding evidence for his theory absolutely everywhere and that sort of thing, they were often TLDR posts.  So it's possible I missed something.

ben

you are correct (3.00 / 2) (#12)
by zenofchai on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 02:23:53 PM EST

which is why i wanted to discuss not whether he was correct, but the implications of the idea. if the story makes it sound like these were mindpixel's supposed implications, then i need to re-write.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]
cleaned up a couple of things: (none / 1) (#13)
by zenofchai on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 02:29:38 PM EST

if you would re-view, hopefully it reads more in accordance with an actual representation of his ideas instead of a blur between his theories and the (potential) implications (which were not espoused by him).
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]
Still a blur (3.00 / 2) (#21)
by debacle on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 03:34:46 PM EST

You need to make it more clear.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
i think the main thing is that (none / 1) (#22)
by zenofchai on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 03:46:36 PM EST

i misunderstood mindpixel until about an hour ago; i didn't make the distinction that he was saying that the mind was best approximated by a hyperdimensional surface instead of actually acting like a hyperdimensional surface or, as i had supposed, actually used hyperdimensional fields for cognition.

so, i fail it.

but, i do feel that i cleaned it up enough that his ideas aren't grossly misrepresented in the article as it is, and i'll let it be voted either way.

thanks for reading and the genuine comment,

-z
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

yar! (none / 1) (#55)
by lilnobody on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 01:32:15 AM EST

You're one of the few people who seems to make posts and comments worth reading; they so very rarely end with a snippy remark regarding bestiality, or, should I dare to bring up old wounds, monocle polish.

For the record, I thought the stuff mindpixel wrote about the hyperdimensional representation was very interesting as well, and he even had a few pieces of nifty evidence to support it, if all circumstantial.  Too bad he was too (Manic Depressive|Incoherent|Batshit) to really talk about it without going into sidelines of self-vindication and bizarre tangents about god knows what.

ben

[ Parent ]

oh, i do that sometimes (none / 1) (#66)
by zenofchai on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 09:20:53 AM EST

k5 is a mental dumping ground for random thought. sometimes i say fairly nasty things, sometimes even when i don't really even mean them, which is, perhaps, nastier in a way.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]
He also (none / 0) (#127)
by mfeltman on Thu Aug 24, 2006 at 04:29:17 PM EST

wanted to use his new understanding of cognition as a predictive tool to "read minds" based on what people said, did, or queried online.  He wanted this  "predictive AI" to be used as a law enforcement tool, capturing criminals THINKING of committing a crime.

To that end, he advocated cameras on every street, in every home, and everywhere.  Ubiquitous cameras with ubiquitous access and an end to privacy wholesale.

He was a nutcake.


whisper.


[ Parent ]

Chris McKinstry was a fraud. (3.00 / 10) (#15)
by rabbits77 on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 02:39:14 PM EST

Chris McKinstry was a fraud. A mentally ill man with
delusions of grandeur and a problem with drugs. You'll have just as much fun analayzing the rants of your local homeless crazy person.
EOT

Average (none / 0) (#131)
by levesque on Thu Aug 24, 2006 at 11:45:46 PM EST

can be just as mind boggling when you pay close attention

[ Parent ]
comment recycling is very eco-friendly. (3.00 / 1) (#17)
by failing it quite badly on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 03:02:53 PM EST

its good for the bottle, its good for the troll


"we should put blacks on icebergs and give everyone aids" - OlympicPoleSmoker
he's dead (3.00 / 6) (#19)
by circletimessquare on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 03:19:17 PM EST

and as such, interest in his work expands exponentially than if he were alive

so if you want to talk phenomena of the mammalian brain, thalk about the interesting psychology where artists/ writers/ musicians/ philosophers/ etc. are ignored and live in poverty in their life times, and when they die, their death suddenly results in a surge of interest in their work

i guess its finality of it all that we feel in ourselves as well, the empathy that "some day i'll be dead too, and will anyone remember me?" and that prompts us to be interested in the dead person's body of work

and who said that was a bad thing? plenty of great and influential bodies of work, good work, only found interest after the guy died. for better or for worse, that's what we do

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

one can only hope (2.84 / 13) (#25)
by trane on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 05:05:25 PM EST

the promise of interest in your film project increasing after your own death will prompt your suicide.

[ Parent ]
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA ;-) (3.00 / 4) (#27)
by circletimessquare on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 05:15:41 PM EST

hey crackhead

ain't you dead yet?

;-P


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

He's right (3.00 / 5) (#39)
by stuaart on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 09:17:56 PM EST

Finish the film pls.

Linkwhore: [Hidden stories.] Baldrtainment: Corporate concubines and Baldrson: An Introspective


[ Parent ]
i'm getting there ;-) nt (3.00 / 2) (#51)
by circletimessquare on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 12:13:51 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
i don't care who you are (3.00 / 6) (#28)
by zenofchai on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 05:16:29 PM EST

that's some funny shit right there.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]
i always thought it was because... (3.00 / 5) (#60)
by Russell Dovey on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 04:45:33 AM EST

...once someone is dead, we can dump on their crazy theories all we like with no chance they'll answer back.

Similarly, dead girls can't say no.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

All the great artists and writers (3.00 / 4) (#74)
by PrinceSausage on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 01:30:34 PM EST

Like...ummm. Dan Brown?

[ Parent ]
I don't understand (3.00 / 3) (#26)
by trane on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 05:13:20 PM EST

why the surface of the hypersphere is more important than its volume. Why should the trajectories only be able to take place on the surface of the hypersphere? Is the volume of a 7-dimensional hypershpere also optimal, like the surface area? If not, and if the brain can make trajectories through the hypershpere instead of being limited to the surface, 7 dimensions wouldn't be optimal.

unfortunately (3.00 / 2) (#29)
by zenofchai on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 05:34:17 PM EST

the person to which this comment should be addressed, or who perhaps could answer it best, is no longer here. i can't pretend to understand mindpixel's theories. in fact it was only today that i realised that i grossly misunderstood them in the first place:

http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2006/8/21/121745/650/22#22

it wasn't the mind itself that he thought was evolutionarily designed to be a "7-dimensional hypersphere optimised for surface area", it was that which he thoguht the computer approximation that fit it best.

anyway, maths of hyperspheres from wolfram:

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Hypersphere.html

basically a 7-sphere is the n-sphere optimised for surface area:

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/images/eps-gif/HypersphereArea_900.gif

because "Strangely enough, the hyper-surface area reaches a maximum and then decreases towards 0 as n increases."

it gives a formula for volume, which i leave as an excercise to the reader. er... yeah. i don't quite get it, either.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

Because the idea is maximized surface area (2.66 / 6) (#32)
by debacle on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 06:33:17 PM EST

Over a given volume. That's why the brain has ridges, also why Ruffles have ridges an Oprah has rolls.*

Most of the higher-level activity in the brain happens near the surface, thus more surface means more higher-level activity.

Also, the 7-sphere is a mathematical model, not a geometric model.

Go smoke some crack.

* The Maori people believe that Oprah-skin condoms can cure any ailment, from carpal tunnel to wrist pains.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]

maybe (3.00 / 3) (#33)
by trane on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 06:39:40 PM EST

"Most of the higher-level activity in the brain happens near the surface, thus more surface means more higher-level activity."

But since the brain exists in 3 dimensional space or 4 dimensional space-time, 'near the surface' in reality probably doesn't correspond, necessarily, to 'on the surface of a 7-dimensional hypersphere'. Or maybe it does. I don't know.

[ Parent ]

as i said (none / 1) (#34)
by zenofchai on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 06:48:39 PM EST

i confused mindpixel's description of the approximation of the mind for his description of the mind itself.

that said, the idea of a hyperdimensional mind as an emergent property which evolved of necessity to increase pre-human mental capacity for abstract thought, etc, etc. is interesting.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

i seem to remember (none / 0) (#85)
by trane on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 06:44:29 PM EST

him talking about the seven folds of the brain or somesuch, and how the neanderthals had a larger brain and so presumably more folds and therefore more dimensions, so even though an approximation i think his theory was grounded in biology somewhat.

[ Parent ]
quantum dimensions? (none / 0) (#107)
by justo on Wed Aug 23, 2006 at 12:00:43 PM EST

measured 11 eleven minus four equals seven

[ Parent ]
wtf wtf (none / 1) (#41)
by livus on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 10:00:43 PM EST

wtf have Maori ever done to you. There is no Oprah on MTV. If u want to be racist stick to ur own citizens thnx.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Lick my nuts livus (3.00 / 2) (#46)
by debacle on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 10:37:03 PM EST

I never met a maori I didn't like.

Well, that's not entirely true.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]

great juxtaposition of signature there, sweetnuts. (3.00 / 2) (#47)
by livus on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 10:42:27 PM EST

nevertheless my wtf stands.

North American pop culture refs to Maori are getting more and more wtf lately. I theorise that y'all are looking for someone who seems "exotic" and far removed to make fun of, now that the Bush admin has taken all the fun out of Mexicans.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

It's because they're black (none / 1) (#50)
by debacle on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 11:19:56 PM EST

We still have a thing against the blacks, but the Maori are remote enough that we don't have to worry about them driving by our homes in the middle of the night.

Frankly, though, I'm just fascinated with Maori mythology.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]

How so? (none / 0) (#52)
by livus on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 12:49:35 AM EST

I've always been struck by the similarities between Maori and other Pasifik mythologies such as those of Hawai'i.

That's what I find most peculiar I suppose, the weird sense one gets that USians think Maori live "somewhere else" from everyone else - like, on reservations or in tribal villages or something. Its so weird.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

The notion of a universe built on the precepts (none / 0) (#73)
by debacle on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 12:28:08 PM EST

Of familial love, where each aspect of being is given anthropofication.

I didn't mean remote as in "on reservations" I meant remote as in "half the world away."

It's like making fun of the French. They're on the other side of the goddamned ocean.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]

But it's not like that at all (none / 0) (#79)
by livus on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 05:19:30 PM EST

its more like if you were to single out an ethnic subsection of French and make fun of them because of their ethnicity - say, the Basques - while leaving the other French alone.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Well no, it isn't (3.00 / 2) (#80)
by debacle on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 05:23:00 PM EST

Because not all Kiwis are black, even though the Kiwis are All Blacks.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
not all of either (none / 0) (#83)
by livus on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 06:21:19 PM EST

Not all French are black either.

Meanwhile no one in their right mind would call Maori "black" anyway. Most USians seem to categorise it as "Pacific Is/Asian" or mistake it for "hispanic" (my favourite being our foriegn affairs minister Mr Peters, reported in USian newspaper as Mr Perez.)

Oh ok maybe a white supremacist imported from South Africa would, and Baldrson might.

 

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

They're black (none / 1) (#84)
by debacle on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 06:33:30 PM EST

If you're not white, you're black.

Racism is monotone.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]

nah, you're "non white" (none / 1) (#86)
by livus on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 06:46:23 PM EST

you're a non-category of non-person. You're a negative, amorphous, "ethnic" food eating mass.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
That's the first time I've ever been called ethnic (none / 1) (#87)
by debacle on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 06:52:37 PM EST

* debacle sheds a tear.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
you're taking this sweet nuts thing too far (none / 0) (#104)
by livus on Wed Aug 23, 2006 at 01:37:59 AM EST

I was talking about food!

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Nuts are food [nt] (none / 1) (#106)
by debacle on Wed Aug 23, 2006 at 10:30:03 AM EST



It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
Are your nuts food? (none / 0) (#111)
by livus on Wed Aug 23, 2006 at 06:14:32 PM EST

Hmm I'm going to use that line. "My genitals are one of the four major food groups, baby."

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
They are for some people (none / 1) (#114)
by debacle on Wed Aug 23, 2006 at 09:16:48 PM EST

But I stay away from those people.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
all blacks (none / 0) (#89)
by zenofchai on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 07:14:46 PM EST

http://youtube.com/watch?v=9Zvs4T4RU30

http://youtube.com/watch?v=gv-ptmP6Xcc&search=Haka

http://www.newzealand.com/travel/abo...ature/haka.cfm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haka

Kapa o pango kia whakawhenua au i ahau!
Hi aue, hi!

Ko Aotearoa e ngunguru nei!

Au, au, aue ha!
Ko Kapa o Pango e ngunguru nei!
Au, au, aue ha!
I ahaha!

Ka tu te ihiihi

Ka tu te wanawana
Ki runga ki te rangi e tu iho nei, tu iho nei, hi!
Ponga ra!
Kapa o Pango, aue hi!
Ponga ra!
Kapa o Pango, aue hi, ha!

Let me become one with the land
This is our land that rumbles

And it's my time! It's my moment!
This defines us as the All Blacks
It's my time! It's my moment!

Our dominance
Our supremacy will triumph
And will be placed on high
Silver fern!
All Blacks!
Silver fern!
All Blacks!

...
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

What's your point? (none / 0) (#92)
by debacle on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 08:27:31 PM EST



It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
no point (none / 1) (#95)
by zenofchai on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 09:38:07 PM EST

i wasn't aware there had to be a point to a k5 comment.

but my point, if anything, was to carry forward your reference to the All Blacks and provide some links which others might poruse, nothing more.

in a discussion of maori culture, is haka not a valid thing to bring up? in talking about how much one likes the imagery of maori mythology, is haka not a valid thing to post on?
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

Nope (none / 0) (#101)
by debacle on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 10:10:39 PM EST

I was just hoping you had a point.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
maths v. geometers (none / 1) (#65)
by zenofchai on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 09:18:09 AM EST

Also, the 7-sphere is a mathematical model, not a geometric model.

Poincaré conjecture

my "layman's interpretation" is thus: if a mathematical model behaves sufficiently like a sphere, then it is a sphere. (but actually that's just regurgitating the BBC report on it this morning, my personal take is a little more sophisticated, but only just.)
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

Your layman's interpretation sucks (none / 1) (#72)
by debacle on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 12:23:41 PM EST

And has little or nothing to do with the Poincare conjecture, which says nothing of mathematical models.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
blame the BBC -nt (none / 0) (#75)
by zenofchai on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 02:09:23 PM EST


--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]
I'm too stupid to figure out if this is a clever (3.00 / 3) (#31)
by LOSEWEIGHTORDIE on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 06:31:09 PM EST

troll or a work of genius

+1 FP, Mindpixel $ (3.00 / 2) (#35)
by akostic on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 07:06:32 PM EST


--
"After an indeterminate amount of time trading insane laughter with the retards, I grew curious and tapped on the window." - osm
Clearly I spent my load on the wrong person (3.00 / 3) (#36)
by I am teh Unsmart on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 07:25:32 PM EST

http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2006/8/21/134036/978/20#20

thinking in words is not something everyone does (3.00 / 2) (#37)
by zombie twisted sandshoe on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 08:02:41 PM EST

I've heard people say they do, but I never have.

unless i'm thinking about communicating, or actually communicating, my head is fairly wordless. It's just feelings, visuals, movement, models, ideas, probably  roughly in that order. Except the ideas sort of arise in the context of the first four. I'm sure there's some theory on this already that I just don't know about.



Sigs! Like, Jesus Christo Lewis the Third, haven't you people grown up? - dubya

Babies think without words. (3.00 / 6) (#38)
by IceTitan on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 09:06:43 PM EST

Women behind the wheel while on the phone don't.
Nuke 'em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
[ Parent ]
yeah good point (none / 0) (#40)
by zombie twisted sandshoe on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 09:52:24 PM EST




Sigs! Like, Jesus Christo Lewis the Third, haven't you people grown up? - dubya
[ Parent ]
I don't get his point (none / 1) (#43)
by livus on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 10:13:31 PM EST

what was it?

Just because you use words in an action doesn't mean you were thinking with them. Compare the following:

Reader A, who reads a word, translates it in their brain to the sound of the word, then registers the meaning. In this way the slow reader experiences the book almost as if it is a story being read out; they cannot read much faster than someone can talk.

Reader B, who sees the shape of a word, and registers the meaning of the shape. In this way the reader is very fast, and experiences the book much more quickly but may focus on the ideas at the expense of the form.

Reader C's brain conveys a visual image to them based on the shape of the word - a good book probably looks like a movie unfolding and they may occasionally forget whether they saw something as a book or as a movie.

All of these people would form their ideas into speech with different levels of quickness and naturalness.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

for me... (3.00 / 2) (#56)
by CAIMLAS on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 01:47:43 AM EST

For me, it's "none of the above" when it comes to reading.

For whatever it's worth, I can't memorize things worth a damn - verbatim. I'm a poor speller. I remember things visually, but not in the context of written word. When I read a (fiction) book, I don't really read the words so much as the story plays in my mind as a "long play" movie (as opposed to a "music video" style movie, with a new cut every half a second). I read slowly.

If there were some way to record exactly what the brain is thinking, maybe we could figure some of this stuff out... I know it sure irritates me when I've got an image of something from the past stuck in my mind - and it's very vivid - but I can't recall the surrounding circumstances. Then, the more I think about it and try to associate with the connecting facts, the more surreal and amorphous that idea becomes until it's like an American still-life oil painting from the early 20th century (I forget the artsy name for this era).
--

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.
[ Parent ]

Wow, that's interesting (none / 1) (#57)
by livus on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 02:00:15 AM EST

how are you with remembering spatial things, eg performing physical tasks? A friend of mine once taught me his new phone number by making me dial it several times and it worked quite well; maybe that would work better for you.

I think remembering details is a trainable skill though. When I was a child my mother was always losing shit around the house so I would picture whatever it was, then concentrate on picturing the things around it where I'd last seen it, then gradually try to pan left or right to see where the hell they all were. Like, "your cigarettes are... next to your orange socks which are... on top of the washing machine".  

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

very good actually (3.00 / 3) (#58)
by CAIMLAS on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 02:41:59 AM EST

Actually, spacially oriented memorization works very well for me. For instance, I'll sometimes forget my own phone number (I have to look at a key pad to remember it, or 'air type' it). I get chided for that on occasion. I spell better when I'm typing than when I'm writing using a pen and paper, and arguably, the quality of my writing is significantly better (and also a bit 'different') while doing so.

I'm also horrible with remembering where things are. If someone says, "the restraunt is on the corner of Frank and Andrews". However, I'm very good at geographical association, and I'm able to remember fairly finite details of a visual fashion quite well (ie, "the restraunt across from the car dealership with the blue, red, and orange sign").

My organizational method works in much the same way. It is what most people would call "an abominable pit", but I can identify down to fairly finite terms where and what everything is. There's really no organization to most of it, though I'll sometimes "organize" things by type (computer parts, cables, etc.) when they're items which I infrequently access. I guess you could say that my office space is spatially organized by chronological access timestamp and priority, with items of lower priority clustered by typology. :P

On the few occasions that I consumed drugs (pot), I noticed my brain "slow down", and I seemed to be able to trace the thought process itself. In other words, I was able to observe the path by which I associated thoughts. It was, for lack of a better term, an n-dimensional tree composed of nodes. Each of the nodes' attributes (color, size, 'image', taste, etc.). Each of these nodes connected in n ways to other similar nodes... and then there was another fashion of interconnectivity that I wasn't quite grasping.

I don't know how much of this is actually just imagination, however. (Probably quite a bit. :P) Still, it seems close enough to my reality to have merit as a curiosity.
--

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.
[ Parent ]

you see! (3.00 / 2) (#67)
by zenofchai on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 09:23:20 AM EST

and they said this article was worthless. and look, we have conjectures on the nature of the brain from a few of our very own. hoo-ray.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]
hey, don't look at me (none / 1) (#77)
by CAIMLAS on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 04:09:01 PM EST

Hey, don't look at me. It's not my fault that they're simpering half-wits with no ability for self-realization. :P
--

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.
[ Parent ]

cool (none / 1) (#81)
by livus on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 05:40:39 PM EST

do you feel like you have "muscle memory", like, you can walk somehwere you've walked to before, or like, you can clearly remember sensations?

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
scratch that I do get it. n (none / 0) (#44)
by livus on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 10:16:43 PM EST



---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Where's the shock at my misogyny post? (none / 1) (#45)
by IceTitan on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 10:36:52 PM EST


Nuke 'em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
[ Parent ]
oh come on, it's only YOU (none / 0) (#48)
by livus on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 10:44:34 PM EST

besides, your point applies to anyone on the phone. If you were a true miso you'd have worked something in there about chicks needing to talk because otherwise they wouldn't think at all.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
I've met people who do (none / 1) (#42)
by livus on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 10:06:17 PM EST

and some others who think a lot in sounds.

Whereas I tend to think in 3-D models and maps (this is also how I remember info, whereas quite a lot of people use words for recall). People vary a lot with how much kinaesthetic, visual, spatial and aural data they use to think. Most of the stuff I've read on it has come out of research into learning and retaining information though.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

u r speshul n unique thx (none / 0) (#136)
by Comrade Wonderful on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 10:27:04 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Everyone has their own mode of thought (none / 0) (#113)
by vectro on Wed Aug 23, 2006 at 09:06:29 PM EST

Every mind is unique, and people (at least starting in middle childhood) tend to be predisposed to particular modes of thinking and learning. One of the early discoveries of modern educational science is that any particular modality of teaching can't reach all students; you have to include a mix, or you'll exclude people that don't work with whatever modality you're using.

For what it's worth, I think it words. I also talk to myself when thinking -- although it's easier for me to vocalize my thoughts, I can think in words in my head, too.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

+1FP bad mathematics and drug abuse $ (2.60 / 5) (#49)
by Smiley K on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 11:02:56 PM EST


-- Someone set up us the bomb.
about the poll... (none / 1) (#53)
by k31 on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 01:14:33 AM EST

I didn't realise at first that "WIPO" was "Write-In Poll Option". I thought it was some reference to World Intellectual Property Office, or some such ilk; implyign that our minds are controlled by big business and govenements and whatnot.

Which, while it may be somewhat true, is to me short-changing the mind since it we would still have minds without TV. I hope. And most likely, much more alive minds, also.

Anyhow, the mind-as-space thing seems to be a common theme/tradition of meditation and other deep thinkers.

Really, mindpixel might have been perfectly right, but since he himself estimated that his knowledge was far beyond current human understanding...


Your dollar is you only Word, the wrath of it your only fear. He who has an EAR to hear....

colors and shapes = images? (3.00 / 2) (#54)
by CAIMLAS on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 01:30:53 AM EST

I'm kinda dumbfounded. I'd always thought that most people view the world in terms of colors, shapes, scents, and most important, imagry. Do they not? Am I an exception? I'd always thought it was natural to perceive things as images, but only through conditioning do we see things in the terms of words (ie language).

It makes me wonder: were the egyptians more advanced than we, as they used a written form of communication that used images instead of words or characters?

I had a great explanation for how one thought transgresses to another in an associative fashion on a rare occasion of (non-drug-induced) lucidity, but it didn't seem important enough to write down, and I lost the meat of the concept. Besides, it lost all profoundness when I tried to compose the imagry in word; it only made sense as an image, (and only then, probably just to me).

The short of it is this: the differential frustration resulting from the use of either imagry or language for communication is a result of being "two brained" - ie, having a left or right lobe dominance, and poor communication between the utilized and under-utilized half.

I've also got a correlary theory that this disconnect might be somehow related to the ability to telepathically communicate. In short, I think we were once able to ,and that the 'extra', unused mass in our brains was at that time utilized for such purposes. But that's complex, so I won't go into it.
--

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.

not sure about telepathy, yet (none / 1) (#68)
by zenofchai on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 09:25:36 AM EST

i think that if vast swaths of humans were using telepathy, we'd, kind of, heard about it by now.

maybe that's what happened to all the sumerians... they just got tired of communicating telepathically and just ascended already ;]
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

re: telepathy (none / 1) (#76)
by CAIMLAS on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 04:07:52 PM EST

No, I must've been unclear. I don't think people know how to be telepathic anymore. I think it's latent, somehow genetically de-selected.

I personally believe there's some degree of merit to the tale of the tower of Babel. It's a pretty fantastical story - who could really imagine that we all communicated using the same language at one point? in my mind, it's more probable that telepathy was used, and that a single language would be almost impossible in a global scale due to confussions due to dialects, language evolution, and regional word understandings. telepathic image conversation seems a bit more probable, provided you allow for the assumption that it's possible on some level.
--

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.
[ Parent ]

extra-dimensional communication (none / 0) (#78)
by zenofchai on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 04:14:55 PM EST

what would be the medium? a N-dimensional wave? would it reach into the visible and/or measurable 3d space? (i suppose if it could then that would be telekinesis instead.)
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]
i dunno (none / 0) (#119)
by CAIMLAS on Thu Aug 24, 2006 at 11:40:07 AM EST

I can only hypothesize about it, really - and that without much mathematical knowledge. I'd guess that, based on what I know of ancient history, it would possibly be electromagnetic, as non-magnetic metals are what first held value, and these same civilizations showed a great deal of technical, logistical and agricultural ability in their structures (all the pyramids = logistical ability to create technical devices, with the agricultural backing needed for feeding the workers).

It's been rumoured and proven through correlary that the pyramids and other great structures throughout the world were made with levetational, water-flame, and/or sonic tools of some sort, so it's possible that the insight necessary to create these tools was a result of higher brain functionality and not simply a different perspective or approach to the world than what we currently hold.

Whatever the ability, I would think that it would be slightly telekenetic, and would be communicated via the eyes (ie, you'd need line of sight to do so). I imagine it would be electromagnetic in some fashion, though maybe not. I think this, as communication simply by looking at someone - communicating a feeling or concept which is situationally appropriate - is pretty damn easy, as well as common. Even without moving one's eye lids much at all - just the eyes.
--

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.
[ Parent ]

interesting (none / 0) (#121)
by zenofchai on Thu Aug 24, 2006 at 01:16:05 PM EST

but the pyramids were much after the time of Babel, yes? why would this abilities has disappeared? did more "simple" technologies (such as bronze age weaponry?) outgun them? do we have much recorded oral histories of witnessing these kinds of things?

there's certainly a temptation to ascribe fantastic things to the ancient civilisations; because in some cases we don't really know why they dwindled (Sumer).

certainly it would appear to be evolutionarily "advantageous" to have these kinds of powers; but once we already achieved abstract thinking and tools we were pretty much already masters of our environment to the point where it wouldn't be an evolutionary necessity.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

Mebbe those chinamen got more IQ (none / 0) (#103)
by MMcP on Wed Aug 23, 2006 at 12:09:36 AM EST

cus they talks in pictures not letters.  

[ Parent ]
Egyptians (none / 0) (#124)
by joto on Thu Aug 24, 2006 at 02:37:54 PM EST

It makes me wonder: were the egyptians more advanced than we, as they used a written form of communication that used images instead of words or characters?

We also use images for communication. Look, here's the letter "A". It consists of two bars leaning against each other, with a horizontal bar halfway up. It resembles a lot of things, such as a swing, a cooking device for open flames, a rocket, the tip of a pencil, etc... I have no idea which of these (if any) are "correct", but I'm quite sure that at one time it actually resembled something whose spoken form in some language contained a prominent "a".

The written form of the egyptian language may have used images that were more obvious, but it was still a mostly phonemic alphabet, like ours. Egyptian "hieroglyphs" were even used in writing other languages, just like the latin alphabet is used in writing english, french, polish, turkish, etc..., and not just latin.

Chinese might have been a better example. But although it's not "phonemic", it's still not just a bunch of images.

I had a great explanation for how one thought transgresses to another in an associative fashion [snip]

Ooops! Perhaps I shouldn't have bothered replying to you at all. You ramble on like a madman....

[ Parent ]

A 'test' for kooky science (2.75 / 4) (#59)
by strlen on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 02:55:27 AM EST

With all respect to mindpixel, his untimely death, and his "legitimate" research in artificial intelligence, his brain theories simply struck the "how do you make any sort of falsifiable predictions with this" alarm that tends to go off when I see similar features.

Another case where I've noted the same happening is Stephen Wolfram's A New Kind of Science: in both cases, there's somebody who has done demonstrably useful work (Stephen Wolfram created Mathematica CAS, mindpixel did AI research) but came up with cranky theories. In the case of Wolfram's theory, while he had demonstrated how many things in real life tend to resemble what can be generated by cellular automata / fractals, he had not made any quantifiable predictions and have attempted to apply his "discoveries" to any concrete problem (particular his "digital physics"  sorts of ideas).

In contract, a theory which may be common-sense defying but is legitimate science, has to make falsifiable claims and be applicable in terms of explaining phenomena (given the "Occam's razor test"). For instance, the theory of evolution can provide the most elegant explanation for evolution of complex organs and evolution can be shown to occur (e.g.: moths "turning" black when soot-producing coal plants open, bacteria evolving resistance to antibiotics) ; likewise, as early as in 1911, an experiment was made to demonstrate that parts of theory or relativity were true and without theory of relativity, GPS, for instance, would not work (not to mention many other "practical proofs"). Again, this doesn't mean every theory has to have an immediate application, but the Occam's razor / falsifiability test should hold (the theory should at least propose a way to test in a falsifiable way and the theory must provide a more elegant explanation for an some phenomena than another theory).

So my challenge, can someone come up for a test for the "Quantum Brain" theory and/or provide a way that the "Quantum Brain" theory explains an existing scientific phenomena in a more elegant/concise fashion than what is mainstream neurology?

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.

What do you mean by Occam's Razor (none / 1) (#93)
by SocratesGhost on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 08:31:07 PM EST

After all, it's not really a verifiable, falsifiable criteria--at least not how I understand it. ("It is in vain to do with more what can be done with less.")

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
A separate point (none / 0) (#100)
by strlen on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 10:02:56 PM EST

If you can't always come up with a falsifiable test (which you also can't, by definition, for mathematics), Occam's razor applies: the scientific/mathematical theory should provide an explanation that is more elegant/more concise than what already exists.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
I guess that's my point (3.00 / 3) (#102)
by SocratesGhost on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 11:11:11 PM EST

The razor expresses a preference--an important preference that most people find agreeable but in its application it is fundamentally different than the verifiability criterion. Heck, even the verifiability criterion can't be verified. The process by which we derive science rests on a foundation that isn't scientific. That's part of what makes it intriguing, that a ruthless application of these handful of pragmatic principles returns such spectacular results.

Still, I guess my concern is just to be aware of its role as a preference, sort of like our historical preference to assume Euclid's Fifth postulate. We should be remain vigilant so that we don't become completely blinded to other possibilities.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
oh, also (none / 1) (#120)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Aug 24, 2006 at 11:52:16 AM EST

I'd argue that mathematics is somewhat falsifiable. For example, in our system, 1 and 1 makes 2. However, if we observed that adding 1 and 1 made some other result I suspect our math would be entirely different.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
That's one theory about it (1.50 / 2) (#122)
by strlen on Thu Aug 24, 2006 at 01:54:56 PM EST

I think some of the analytic philosophers argue that mathematics is too based on our observations / falsifiable predictions, as opposed to how Kant argued it (as being synthetic a-priori).

Then there's also the argument that you can't prove mathematics using mathematics/formal logic alone alone (Godel's incompleteness theorem).

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]

very true (1.50 / 2) (#125)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Aug 24, 2006 at 02:39:37 PM EST

I'm from that analytic tradition but I wasn't aware that they think it's too based on it unless you meant it in the sense of "based on it, too".

From what I understand of thinkers like Carnap or Peirce, they suggest that math is sort of like a game with a series of arbitrary rules. The reason we so frequently apply this particular game is because it does a better job at reflecting the world we have rather than the rules of, say, Chutes & Ladders or even Chess. We can apply the dynamics of those games to our real world but their usefulness is limited. However, the math game adapts whenever it proves itself insufficient to meet the needs of our circumstance. Other games do not.

This is the lesson of Euclid's fifth postulate; by rejecting it, we can derive Lobachevsky space which Einstein found more accurate to describe the relationship between space and time. Einstein couldn't use Euclidean geometry, the evidence just wasn't fully compatible with it.

Who did you have in mind that thinks that math is too based on observation?

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
I meant 'based on it too' (none / 0) (#129)
by strlen on Thu Aug 24, 2006 at 05:15:47 PM EST

Going to use the "English isn't my native language, can't write a lex/yacc parser for it" excuse.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
YOU SPEAK NONSENSE (none / 0) (#133)
by Kronecker on Sat Aug 26, 2006 at 12:46:35 PM EST

I AM BEGINNING TO THINK ALL PHILOSOPHERS ARE RETARDED

--
At some point we have to face down a culture in which not only the mob in the street but the highest judges and academics talk like crazies. - Mark Steyn
[ Parent ]
No, it isn't. (3.00 / 2) (#123)
by joto on Thu Aug 24, 2006 at 02:24:01 PM EST

I'd argue that mathematics is somewhat falsifiable. For example, in our system, 1 and 1 makes 2. However, if we observed that adding 1 and 1 made some other result I suspect our math would be entirely different.

Sorry, but your reasoning is flawed. In mathematics, 1 and 1 isn't 2. Under certain rules of mathematics, it is. Under other rules, it isn't. One such example would be modulo-1-arithmetic.

As far as mathematics is concerned, whether you use the "normal" rules, the rules of modulo-1-arithmetic, or something entirely different, is completely irrelevant. As a mathematician, what you are concerned with is whether your theorems are consistent with your axioms, rules, and definitions.

What I can agree with, however, is that mathematics is a popularity contest. If certain axioms, rules, and definitions lead to a form of mathematics that is useful for many real-world tasks, then that kind of mathematics will become more popular than mathematics that have no (or few) obvious useful application in the real world.

However, if we observed that adding 1 and 1 made some other result I suspect our math would be entirely different.

We can do no such "observing". "1", "1", "+", and "=" are abstract entities, that are only given meaning in the abstract universe they belong to, by axioms, rules, and definitions given by mathematicians. That they somehow resemble concepts applicable to the real world, is purely coincidental (well, pretty obvious given human psychology, but that's the main reason, there's no inherent properties in math that give it this applicability to the real world).

On the other hand, yes. Our "normal" math would look different, due to the psychological factors, and the "popularity contest" alluded to above.

[ Parent ]

um, that's what I'm saying (none / 1) (#126)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Aug 24, 2006 at 02:53:26 PM EST

what you call the "popularity contest" is really just about comparing the various branches of math to real world application. As a result, math is just as empirical of an enterprise as physics.

For example, people once held a geocentric model of the heavens: earth is in the center, and everything rotates around it. That model didn't cease to exist, but we recognize that it's not nearly as applicable as a heliocentric model. To paraphrase you almost verbatim, the "popularity contest" has determined that the heliocentric model leads to a form of astronomy that is useful for many real-world tasks, and so that kind of astronomy will become more popular than a geocentric astronomy that has no (or few) obvious useful application in the real world.

One critical difference is that people stopped developing the geocentric model when it was sufficiently displaced. In math, it's not so obvious that any alternative system will be useless, so it's possible to continue exploring that avenue. You can further that avenue of math, but much of that exploration is based in the hope of real world application. If it had no usefulness, it may be a fun game to explore but there will be significantly fewer people exploring it. Once it becomes applicable, there's no denying that more people join in.

Ultimately, we're saying the same thing.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Science is more than facts. (3.00 / 2) (#96)
by JenniferForUnity on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 09:41:14 PM EST

I've been interested in Cellular Automata for years, skimmed Wolfram's book, and been to an interesting talk by Wolfram himself.  I agree that he's sort of a cracked pot who has produced cool stuff in the past and then sort of "veered off"...

But it's worth pointing out that science isn't just a collection of models and statements that can be tested for truth by experiment.  Wolfram himself agrees that that's a big part of science and he agrees that it's not what he's been working on.  He says the techniques he's working on are more like Newton's calculus than like Newton's laws of motion.  

Calculus is a technique or language within which models can be embedded.  You don't "falsify calculus" except by maybe showing it to be a meaningless formalism because the rules for manipulating it lead to contradictions.  If you could show such a result for calculus then all statements in it would turn out to be meaninglessly equivlalent to all other statements and it would be a worthless system for formulating theories in.

Cellular Automata is simply another formal system within which to offer theories.  And new formalisms and techniques are the bread and butter of actual in prcatice science because it lets people work on the "facts and theories" part in new ways.  Maybe CA aren't going to turn out to be as useful as calculus, but their difference in terms of being "part of science" is a matter of usefulness rather than a matter of them being in fundamentally different categories.

[ Parent ]

What if Mindpixel was right? So what if he was? (3.00 / 7) (#61)
by A Bore on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 05:00:17 AM EST

As far as I can see, mindpixel theorised something, got excited about it, but his theory couldn't be tested. It didn't make predictions which could be tested to validate the theory. So he said ah, this mathematical construct may be the best way of simulating the way our minds work. Yes, it may. It might not. Then, he spent some time playing with mathematics to simulate how the model may work, not whether the model was valid. That's descriptive science, not predictive science, and it's a blind alley.

It's the first part of theorising, and it is missing the next part, the hardest part. I get gut feelings about my work, I have fashionable prejudices or unevidenced beliefs about what is happening. But rather than go down that possibly blind alley and accept it is true, you have to do the perspiration bit to establish whether it has a hope of being true. Perhaps that was just too difficult a task for Mindpixel. Or maybe he just liked the feeling of insight, the intellectual masturbation, the daydreams of significance and deep down, didn't want to know whether his theories were really applicable.

I think you're right about mindpixel (none / 0) (#70)
by lukme on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 09:33:39 AM EST

After reading your comment, what would you think about the following?

1) Using a very general curve fitting function to fit some data?

2) When the predictions from that fit don't quite match as well as you would like, to add in fudge factors?




-----------------------------------
It's awfully hard to fly with eagles when you're a turkey.
[ Parent ]
Knock yourself out (none / 0) (#105)
by A Bore on Wed Aug 23, 2006 at 03:42:15 AM EST

But don't claim your data predicts one unique underlying trend if it doesn't.

[ Parent ]
granted: (none / 0) (#71)
by zenofchai on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 09:59:43 AM EST

if science can't prove or disprove something, it doesn't mean that something is meaningless; it means it isn't science.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]
Name one thing that isn't science (none / 0) (#82)
by debacle on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 06:11:04 PM EST

Just one.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
sure: (none / 0) (#88)
by zenofchai on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 07:09:47 PM EST

god
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]
lolwhat? (none / 1) (#90)
by debacle on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 07:24:58 PM EST

Intelligent design, theology, anthropology, sociology, psychology, the list goes on.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
omfgwtfxors (none / 1) (#91)
by zenofchai on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 07:28:02 PM EST

did you just call intelligent design science? theology science?

science is about falsifiability, right?

wtfzors, dude.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

Pay attention, boy. % (none / 0) (#108)
by Joe Sixpack on Wed Aug 23, 2006 at 04:20:52 PM EST


---
[ MONKEY STEALS THE PEACH ]
[ Parent ]

perhaps a science... (none / 0) (#110)
by mikelist on Wed Aug 23, 2006 at 05:16:39 PM EST

...we haven't learned to discern yet. The part of you that is referred to as 'self' is the real question. Everyone leaves their mark, but do they really persist?
"I stayed for hurricane Katrina and all I got was this lousy T-shirt, a new Cadillac, and a Plasma TV."
[ Parent ]
Siddharta answered that 2500 years ago... (none / 1) (#117)
by boxed on Thu Aug 24, 2006 at 07:41:39 AM EST

...when will you people start to listen? There is no  abiding self/soul/god/personality/whatever. It is an emergent phenomenon based in the same dependent origination as everything else.

[ Parent ]
anyone can invent answers (none / 0) (#118)
by zenofchai on Thu Aug 24, 2006 at 09:08:35 AM EST

proving them is another matter.

of course, with terms like "self" and "god" proof is a silly, silly word.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

sort of the point yes (none / 0) (#132)
by boxed on Sat Aug 26, 2006 at 10:40:56 AM EST

Socrates and William of Ockham realized this more fully than Buddha and as things unfolded they got more credit for that kind of thinking than Siddhartha. False unless proven true. Or in another way: non-existant until proven existant.

This is what has moved us beyond simple farmers, this singular understanding of mind has made all knowledge possible.

[ Parent ]

Hence (none / 0) (#130)
by levesque on Thu Aug 24, 2006 at 11:16:13 PM EST

it is abiding but not in an abstract iconic sense?

[ Parent ]
Unscientific conclusions (none / 1) (#134)
by cburke on Sat Aug 26, 2006 at 02:40:45 PM EST

There's nothing unscientific about creating a model of cognition that uses seven dimensions of connectivity, and then studying the behavior of that model.

It only becomes unscientific when he asserts that this model is representative of actual human cognition.  That is the statement that he cannot prove or disprove.  Which would be fine if he wasn't so damned convinced.

[ Parent ]

WIPO: a social construct (3.00 / 2) (#62)
by bob6 on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 05:08:04 AM EST



Cheers.
I thought this story was serious until... (3.00 / 6) (#63)
by OzJuggler on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 06:18:14 AM EST

...you referred to the seven dimensional hypersurface being the actual brain and not just a model of cognition.

Or, to borrow the words of Fox Mulder, "One more anal-probing gyro-pyro levitating ectoplasm alien anti-matter story and I'm going to take out my gun and shoot somebody."

OzJuggler.
"And I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together
at Osama's homo abortion pot and commie jizzporium." - Jon Stewart's gift to Bill O'Reilly, 7 Dec 2005.

point already granted -nt (none / 0) (#69)
by zenofchai on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 09:28:08 AM EST


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[ Parent ]
WIPO: timecube (3.00 / 4) (#109)
by jnana on Wed Aug 23, 2006 at 05:15:17 PM EST

Mind is one dimension of a four-cornered polymorphic 4-D timecube.

IAWTP (3.00 / 3) (#112)
by vectro on Wed Aug 23, 2006 at 08:56:14 PM EST

But you must fix your writing. Grammar comes from singularity education - to clone words used to teach slaving thinking and evil thought. Use timecube grammar, demand freedom from singular enslavement.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
You're right (3.00 / 2) (#116)
by jnana on Wed Aug 23, 2006 at 09:57:42 PM EST

I have been accused of worshiping the evil word god more than once, but I am educated stupid and brainwashed by evil academic bastards.

[ Parent ]
Extradimensions and so on (3.00 / 2) (#115)
by unrollloops on Wed Aug 23, 2006 at 09:28:37 PM EST

Whether or not it possesses extra spatical dimensions, the brain is already functionally a hypersphere due to the high fractality of the neocortexes interconnections. Not only in surface area, where it indeed does have a very large fractal dimension ( D=log(N)/log(r) ) and hence a large number of layer 1 connections, but also in a few other layers where minicolumns interconnect with their neighbors, or their efferents and afferents pass through the thalamus. Not to mention neurotransmitters, or the mini-column's capability to delay or hasten firing that give it two other dimensional axes.

However, I cannot say that there is any connection between it being extradimensional and "The Magic Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two." This is at best a coincidence. Our intermediate (and long term) memory store items in groups of about 7 simply due to the layout of minicolumns in the neocortex. The layout is pseudohexagonal; which means you can expect an particular minicolumn to interconnect directly with roughly 6 other minicolumns, giving us the average number of 7.

Nor does the number of layers present in the cortex have anything to do with the number 7. In fact, the number of layers is entirely due to how  different neurons stained way back when they started staining slices of brain tissue.

No. (none / 1) (#137)
by The Diary Section on Tue Sep 12, 2006 at 03:19:24 AM EST

Really, you are abusing Miller's result and he doesn't deserve it. It is a very cool, very readable paper that is probably the only genuinley funny scientific paper I've ever read. Short-term span for verbal lists of different items without replacement assuming all items are balanced for AoA, length and complexity of coarticulation is 7 +/- 2. Span for visual items (e.g., Corsi blocks) and various kinesthetic stimuli is different as is memory for verbal items that don't follow the rules I've mentioned above. In that regard then it is far more coincidental than you have suggested and it has nothing to do with the structure of the neocortex either. It is all about the structure of the sensory/motor systems themselves which we slave to carry out the procedures referred to as memory. There is ample evidence for this hypothesis, e.g., virtually any of the stable interference effects, any of the stimulus factors that modulate span. Unfortunately it seems this interest in the neocortex facilitated by imaging techniques has fast become "the new cognitivism".
Spend 10 minutes in the company of an American and you end up feeling like a Keats or a Shelley: Thin, brilliant, suave, and desperate for industrial-scale quantities of opium.
[ Parent ]
From my discussions with him (3.00 / 3) (#128)
by Sgt York on Thu Aug 24, 2006 at 05:10:55 PM EST

I never thought he was getting at any metaphysical energy field kind of thing. The seven dimensions were seven levels of input for a neurological event. That is, the hypergeometry he was talking about was simply a mathematical representation of physical-world synaptic events.

It's known that any neurologic event is the result of multiple inputs. Even something as simple as moving my fingers across the keyboard right now. Even disregarding the higher functions like "press the k now", it's pretty complex. Memory or visual cues identify the location of the key in space. Proprioceptors figure out where the finger is now. The motor cortex says "move 2 cm to the left" and so on.

This applies to memory as well. When you recall a memory, it's not like that memory is stored in a particular place (or so the theory goes; Google "Grandmother Neuron" for alternate theory). One memory is a combination of stored data from several locations in the brain. Chris put forth the theory that, because a 7-dimensional hypergeometry is the most efficient hypergeometry (8 gives diminishing returns), then our minds must be set up that way; 7 inputs per event. He hypothesized that once you got up to a higher complexity (8 inputs), the added computational power didn't offset the cost of the added brain mass. He used this as a way to explain larger brains in some hominids; they used 8, and it was less efficient.

It's an interesting theory, and I told him as much on several occasions. The only problem was that he was so excited about it that he couldn't get into the mindset of trying to falsify it. He was too emotionally attached to his hypothesis. More importantly, he didn't recognize that emotional attachment. In science, the first is almost universal. Its absence is fatal to a project. The latter is less common, but still far from rare. Its presence can also be fatal to a project.

What if he was right? He might have been. The theory has merit. He was right to be excited about it, IMHO. But its real impact is in further understanding of the brain, which could help improve teaching methods, treat stroke and head injury consequences, or develop AI. It's not a quest for the soul.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.

Like the terrorism predicting AI? (none / 0) (#135)
by cburke on Sat Aug 26, 2006 at 02:47:48 PM EST

The only problem was that he was so excited about it that he couldn't get into the mindset of trying to falsify it. He was too emotionally attached to his hypothesis. More importantly, he didn't recognize that emotional attachment.

Sounds exactly like the problem he had with his "terrorism predicting AI" that found a search for "bomb" and "gas station" and when a gas truck blew up near a gas station some days later claimed this was proof that his AI "seemed to work".  If you desperately want to believe that this AI is truly Intelligent and has predictive powers, then this may have seemed like proof.  To anyone with the remotest sense of skepticism, his  "prediction" seemed indistinguishable from the null hypothesis that it was the result of chance alone.

That this incident was in the context of generating hype before applying for grant money put a sick snake oil salesman twist on it.  After that, there's no way I would take anything he says seriously.

[ Parent ]

well, i think this is very interesting... (none / 1) (#138)
by ennuified on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 07:20:40 PM EST

... despite that I've come to the conclusion that Chris McKinstry was a raving lunatic.  This article was the first time I've heard of him, and I've spent the past two hours reading various resources about him, his life, and mindpixel.  I get the feeling he was mostly just a drug-addled fellow with a social deficiency and delusions of grandeur, but I think that the idea itself of a higher-dimensional mind sparked by the biological brain is pretty interesting - in the context of soul, rather than a model for cognition.  I don't know about it being a 7-sphere, or even if it could be mathematically modeled, but it's still something to chew on.

Bear in mind that I don't know anything about this kind of thing, beyond the vaguest basics, so consider this a layman's opinion.

what's funny (none / 0) (#139)
by zenofchai on Sun Nov 12, 2006 at 04:57:41 PM EST

is that the "higher-dimensional mind sparked by the biological brain" is nothing at all what mindpixel was saying. but i like the idea, too.
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[ Parent ]
also (none / 0) (#140)
by zenofchai on Sun Nov 12, 2006 at 05:55:07 PM EST

based on several discussions since with physics folks and biochemistry folks and neuroscience folks, i'm even incredibly more skeptical than i already was about extra-dimensional structures generated from biological forces. for one, with frequency modulations across brain membrains, we already have enough processing capability and power without them. for another, the energy required would seem be more than the human body seems to produce. but with bizarre protein foldings, who knows really, because we can't trap down AIDS yet let alone understand every single protein or physical structure of the human body yet.
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[ Parent ]
What if Mindpixel was right? | 138 comments (121 topical, 17 editorial, 0 hidden)
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