Archives for the month of: July, 2012

A central problem to interactivity is that we have a heuristic sense of intentionality.

You can get complicated sequences and patterns from simple rules that don’t require billions of years of evolution. A famous example is when Marconi and Tesla detected weird radio emissions from space and said, “the Martians must be signalling us!” The radio had just been invented, so they assumed that we had reached a technological threshold and were suddenly able to communicate with extraterrestrial life forms. It turns out that the signals came from the magneto-hydrodynamics of the outer atmosphere. When pulsars were discovered much later, scientists were also really excited because the signal was so periodic and seemed too intentional. In both cases, there was a confusion about the underlying cause. For me, the realization that we cannot really talk about abstract intelligence had an important personal consequence: I realized that artificial intelligence doesn’t require us to build a brain-like thing that we can later program, but that we can start with simple computation.- Stephen Wolfram,”I Like to Build Alien Artifacts” (interview) in The European magazine 02.07.2012

This idea of computation is interesting because it seems to be different from both machine logic and mind/nous/intentionality in human experience.


The folks over at Drunks and Lamposts used Gephi, a data- visualisation application to present the history of Philosophy, as presented via Wikipedia articles. It would be interesting to compare this to a similar data set, as in say, the the Stanford On line Encyclopaedia of Philosophy.