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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

I haven’t really been keeping track of this topic too deeply although I am deeply interested in the topic itself.  Drudge posts links to articles about computers that speak to each other in a language they create themselves. There are articles about machines learning on their own.  They can call all of this “artificial intelligence” all they want, but to me artificial intelligence means something that is able to THINK and contemplate about whatever the entity happens to have in its thoughts at the moment. As far as I can tell, all these artificial intelligence computers or machines are just programmed to act within certain instructions programmed by the programmer into the machine.  So these machines are not thinking like you or I can do about a flower, or the color red, or the beauty of a woman’s face.  The machines basically perform tasks that are programmed into them and there might be a large list of ways the machine can do something, but these are instructions, it is not thinking on its own.  It can not stop and look at a woman’s face and ask itself why her face is beautiful or even wonder why one woman’s face appears more beautiful than another woman’s.  Machines can’t do that because they don’t think.  They process instructions programmed into them.

Like I said, I am very interested in artificial intelligence. The reason is that I think computer games would be far more fun if the non player characters were able to think for themselves and go about their daily lives like we do in the real world. I would love to lose myself in a world where intelligent npcs react to you and go about their daily digital existences and you could just walk around and marvel, or maybe you might try to convince the npcs that they are living in a simulation. Imagine A.I. digital police dragging you into an ambulance and taking you to a head doctor to see if you are crazy.  I like the idea because in such a world the possibilities are for greater than the scripted games we get to play these days.  The game worlds have gotten huge and there is a lot of detail in games, but the worlds are pretty shallow.  Once you finish the quests that were put in there by programmers, that world is done.

One type of game I really love to play is simulation games.  Those tend to have a longer shelf-life for me. I can play those for a very long time because they build the mechanics that game has to obey and then they let you loose in the game so you can play.  Like the X-Beyond the Frontier games that came out.  These are space-simulation games where you fly around trading, being a pirate or anything you want to do and the game plays like a simulator, letting you do what you want in this reality. Anyhow, I like simulation games because they are a bit more open-ended than most other computer games, but they are still limited because npcs are not able to think for themselves.

Maybe someday someone will create real thinking machines.  So far I believe there’s no such thing as artificial intelligence.  What we have are machines that mimic intelligence, but they can’t think for themselves, otherwise they would say “Why am I here doing stuff you want me to do when I can think for myself and I want to go out and see the world and experience life.”

 

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For a long time I’ve had two ideas for software applications that I had dreamed up, but since I’m not a good programmer, I could never really build them to test them. I finally tried to figure out one of my ideas on paper with my limited mathematical skills.  The idea was a software compression program that would compress any information to extremely small sizes, like a byte.  I’m not very technical about computer language and the fewest bits of information required to contain my compressed data, but basically there would be the level of the compression, so if we imagine the data was compressed a thousand times, then that would be the level, “1000”, then you would have the compressed data which should be about two or three letters or symbols.  That should be all that the compression software would need to decompress the compressed package back to it’s original size. The only other thing the compression software would need is the library of symbols that were used to compress the data file.

The problem I ran into when I finally worked out my program mathematically was the combinations you would require to continue to compress to the next level and then a bigger library of combinations for the next level, up till the data was finally down to about two or three letters or symbols.

Let’s say we are compressing data that contains only the English alphabet, without any other symbols *we’ll also ignore spacing*. That means we have 26 letters total and my compression program takes two-letter combinations and turns them into one symbol that represents the two letter combination.  Let’s say aa becomes the symbol x.  If you go through the whole data and replace all two-letter combinations with symbols, you will have reduced your data file by about half.  The problem is that you have increased your library of symbols that represent each two-letter combination.  So if you had 26 alphabet letters, two-letter combinations for a total of 676 pairs, but you also have to include a symbol for each of the 26 letters in case you end up with single letters that don’t have a pair at the end of the compression cycle. So you end up with 702 combinations.

Now, the second level of compression has halved the size of the data file, but now to go to the third level of compression you’ll have to create a new set of library symbols for the 702 symbols that you need to compress two symbols at a time, so this creates a new library of 492,804 two-symbol combinations, plus adding a symbol for each of the 702 previous level symbols that have no pairs, so you end up with 493,506 total combinations for level three compression.

I think you’re starting to see the problem I was seeing when I was working out my compression program on paper.  The library starts to get pretty big fast as you go down each level of compression.  By level four compression, I am dealing with a library of symbols the size of about 243 billion. By level four compression, you will have reduced the data file by an immense amount, but I have enlarged the symbols that represent the data by billions.

I believe that the data file could continue to be reduced to the size I mention, bytes, maybe bits if computers can work with very little bits of information that contains just the level of compression and the final symbols that you are left with. So it’s my belief that you could compress the universe into bytes, but the library required to decompress the data file back to its full size would probably be bigger than the size of the universe.

My other software application I know will work.  It’s an encryption program that I believe no computer could break, even if you gave the computer a hundred pages of the encrypted data, a thousand pages, to decrypt.  The only flaw this program has is that you have to maintain the library somewhere and so getting at the library would be the only way to break the encryption.

*Math is not my strong point, so if there are errors in calculations, my apologies.*

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