February 23, 2011

music and computation

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz's view on music ('the hidden arithmetical exercise of a mind unconscious that is calculating') has (at least) two straightforward interpretations. The first one is essentially reductionist (a 'fallacy of the misplaced concreteness' according to Alfred North Whitehead) and tends to suggest that music is nothing but computation (albeit in the background/unconscious, in a less obvious way). The second interpretation of the music-calculating connection runs somehow in the opposite direction, and tends to suggest that there is more to computation than meets the eye, an ethereal/ineffable/musical/higher-order quality. At this point, one might try to revisit the spirit of some traditional Gödelian themes...
Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:FortranCardPROJ039.agr.jpg

February 22, 2011

The Music of Dimitrie Cantemir (1673 - 1723) played by the "Anton Pann" band

Peşrev in makam Rast - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GnaZlO73x8
Peşrev in makam Buselik - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqVP-uzL9Zs
Credite: Concertul "Talmaciri musicesti" al formatiei Vocal-Instrumentale de Muzica Veche Anton Pann, organizat de Radio Romania Muzical si Radio Romania Bucuresti. 16.11.2010.Sala Mihail Jora a Radiodifuziunii Romane. Culegere: Dimitrie Cantemir. Aranjament orchestral: Constantin Raileanu
Anton Pann band on YT - http://www.youtube.com/user/antonpannband 
Dimitrie Cantemir - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimitrie_Cantemir
Eventim entry - here.

February 17, 2011

Hubert Dreyfus' criticism of AI

Dreyfus's critique of artificial intelligence (AI) concerns what he considers to be the four primary assumptions of AI research. The first two assumptions he criticizes are what he calls the "biological" and "psychological" assumptions. The biological assumption is that the brain is analogous to computer hardware and the mind is analogous to computer software. The psychological assumption is that the mind works by performing discrete computations (in the form of algorithmic rules) on discrete representations or symbols.

Dreyfus claims that the plausibility of the psychological assumption rests on two others: the epistemological and ontological assumptions. The epistemological assumption is that all activity (either by animate or inanimate objects) can be formalised (mathematically) in the form of predictive rules or laws. The ontological assumption is that reality consists entirely of a set of mutually independent, atomic (indivisible) facts. It's because of the epistemological assumption that workers in the field argue that intelligence is the same as formal rule-following, and it's because of the ontological one that they argue that human knowledge consists entirely of internal representations of reality.

On the basis of these two assumptions, workers in the field claim that cognition is the manipulation of internal symbols by internal rules, and that, therefore, human behaviour is, to a large extent, context free (see contextualism). Therefore a truly scientific psychology is possible, which will detail the 'internal' rules of the human mind, in the same way the laws of physics detail the 'external' laws of the physical world. But it is this key assumption that Dreyfus denies. In other words, he argues that we cannot now (and never will) be able to understand our own behavior in the same way as we understand objects in, for example, physics or chemistry: that is, by considering ourselves as things whose behaviour can be predicted via 'objective', context free scientific laws. According to Dreyfus, a context free psychology is a contradiction in terms.

Dreyfus's arguments against this position are taken from the phenomenological and hermeneutical tradition (especially the work of Martin Heidegger). Heidegger argued that, contrary to the cognitivist views on which AI is based, our being is in fact highly context bound, which is why the two context-free assumptions are false. Dreyfus doesn't deny that we can choose to see human (or any) activity as being 'law governed', in the same way that we can choose to see reality as consisting of indivisible atomic facts...if we wish. But it is a huge leap from that to state that because we want to or can see things in this way that it is therefore an objective fact that they are the case. In fact, Dreyfus argues that they are not (necessarily) the case, and that, therefore, any research program that assumes they are will quickly run into profound theoretical and practical problems. Therefore the current efforts of workers in the field are doomed to failure.

Source: Hubert Dreyfus - Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubert_Dreyfus

Hubert Dreyfus on Husserl and Heidegger
Section 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaGk6S1qhz0

Section 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylKnb6WtYqU
Section 3 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgUDaml7ZJY
Section 4 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzAqfzWJTq4
Section 5 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfsKTSM5Sns

February 15, 2011


Seminar on sequences

The "phi-bonacci" sequence - an update

A "phi-bonacci" sequence and its consecutive quotients

The histogram represents the raw data of consecutive quotients for the first 500 nonzero terms of the new Euler-Fibonacci hybrid.
X(n) = phi(X(n-1) + X(n-2 )+ 1)
The highest bin around the golden ratio is intriguing...