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Programming Technology

Can Curiosity Be Programmed? 269

destinyland writes "AI researcher Jurgen Schmidhuber says his main scientific ambition 'is to build an optimal scientist, then retire.' The Cognitive Robotics professor has worked on problems including artificial ants and even robots that are taught how to tie shoelaces using reinforcement learning, but he believes algorithms can be written that allow the programming of curiosity itself. 'Curiosity is the desire to create or discover more non-random, non-arbitrary, regular data that is novel and surprising...' He's already created art using algorithmic information theory, and can describe the simple algorithmic principle that underlies subjective beauty, creativity, and curiosity itself. And he ultimately addresses the possibility that the entire Universe, including everyone in it, is in principle computable by a completely deterministic computer program."
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Can Curiosity Be Programmed?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:11AM (#30929474)

    Oh wait, you're not talking about children... nevermind.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:16AM (#30929498)

    for i in who what where when why how; do
        echo "But $i, dad?"

    I hereby submit this project to the /. community under the GPL v2.

  • Output=42 (Score:1, Funny)

    by xactuary ( 746078 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:25AM (#30929556)
    Somehow it always comes down to being 42.
  • Yeah? (Score:3, Funny)

    by oldhack ( 1037484 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:31AM (#30929594)
    Why you wanna know?
  • by ScytheLegion ( 1274902 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:43AM (#30929668)
    I'll be programming all of this tomorrow... on my new iPad
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:48AM (#30929698)

    Curiosity Sphere: Who are you? What is that? Oh! What's that? What's THAT? What is THAT?

    Curiosity Sphere: Ooooh! That thing has numbers on it.

    Curiosity Sphere: Hey! Look at that thing. No, that other thing!

    Curiosity Sphere: Where are we going? Are you coming back? What's that noise? Is that a gun? Do you smell something burning? Ooooohh... what's in heeeere?

    Curiosity Sphere: Oh hey! You're the lady from the test. Hi!

  • by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:57AM (#30929742)

    I hereby submit this project to the /. community under the GPL v2.

    Why not the GPLv3 ?

  • by jnnnnn ( 1079877 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:08AM (#30929814)

    the entire Universe, including everyone in it, is in principle computable by a completely deterministic computer program

    .. as long as you start with a piece of fairy cake [].

  • by Arancaytar ( 966377 ) <> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @07:32AM (#30931654) Homepage

    You forgot the infinite loop.

  • by smallfries ( 601545 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @08:52AM (#30932006) Homepage

    Eventually they grow old.

  • by DynaSoar ( 714234 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @09:44AM (#30932426) Journal

    I like Penrose' ideas that there is an element of non-computability involved in Consciousness, not because there's any evidence for it (there isn't much "evidence" for Consciousness at all, apart from your first person experience of it), but because to me it's the difference between being Conscious and being one of David Chalmers' zombies. I like to think I'm mostly the former.

    That's precisely what all you zombies (ie. everyone other than myself) are programmed to say. Although some of you do produce novel responses occasionally. The Penrose zombie presented his theory to the Karl Pribram zombie (my primary teaching machine) who asked "So what does this mean to psychology?" The Penrose zombie replied "How would I know? You're the psychologist." A strange thing to say because (a) the Penrose zombie didn't flinch from psychology in the 'zombies' issue (v 3 #1) of the Journal of Consciousness Studies, and (2) the Pribram zombie was programmed as a neurologist, not a psychologist.

    After receiving that JoCS issue I had my fill of speculative philosophy of science in place of real science and wrote to ask them where I might obtain samples of zombies suitable for laboratory testing. Since I, as the sole non-zombie, would know the correct answer to be 'everywhere; any of us', their programming correctly perceived my response as irony. Not having been programmed to respond to it (the zombie in TFA hadn't developed that idea yet), they didn't respond at all. As a result I canceled my subscription. They continued to produce that journal as if I were still taking it, again as a lack of complete programming.

    The idea that complete computation can produce all the answers is not new. It is based on comprehensive algorithms rather than incomplete calculations resulting in "I don't know". It is because of this that such computations are called 'NP Complete'. It means that in order to complete the calculations, they have to be done as NP (Not Penrose).

  • by selven ( 1556643 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:25AM (#30932840)
    sed 's/lame/awesome/g'
    sudo killall Anonymous Coward
  • by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @03:00PM (#30938424)

    let me be the first to say... what the hell are you talking about?

    First of all, your question is a lie. You don't actually want to know what I'm talking about. Here's what I see:

    You recognized a pattern which is out of keeping with the "official" mode of thinking, and the automatic program you come pre-installed with kicked into play. Some variant of herd-motivated ridicule.

    When the program finished running, you felt better about yourself; secure in your membership in the herd. That warm, fuzzy hit of feeling of belonging is the reward for running the program. The program itself is a very simple, but otherwise clever little trap for those ensnared by it. It pushes those it is run against to stop thinking outside the official parameters while at the same time blocking awareness of whatever topic of thought or discussion first activated the program.

    In order to implant the program, the subject needs to have been tormented as a child so that it A) recognizes and understands the dynamics of the social pecking order, and B) has had its self-confidence crushed through repeated attacks so that it remains dependent upon the herd for all of its personal validation and love.

    This program is layer one; among the first and most basic hurdles which must be cleared in order to have even the smallest hope of waking up. Very, very few people are able to this. Until then, you are a robot, plain and simple.

    That's what I'm talking about.

    Aren't you glad you asked? ;)

    And don't worry. We all go through this. I'm not trying to hurt you.


Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant