Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Minsky, Creativity, AI Koan

Marvin Minsky and the Creative Economic Mind:

This one is worth reading all of!

Marvin Minsky observations are common in physics books I like to read -- "Time Reborn" that I'm finishing up now has many.

The AI Koan covered in the column is:
In the days when Sussman was a novice, Minsky once came to him as he sat hacking at the PDP-6. 
“What are you doing?” asked Minsky.
 “I am training a randomly wired neural net to play Tic-tac-toe,” Sussman replied.  
“Why is the net wired randomly?” asked Minsky. 
 “I do not want it to have any preconceptions of how to play,” Sussman said.  
Minsky then shut his eyes.  
“Why do you close your eyes?” Sussman asked his teacher.
 “So that the room will be empty.”  
At that moment, Sussman was enlightened.
Are you enlightened? It's a Koan ...

The column links together a lot of topics that I think are interesting, but the big points at the end are that government has a strong history of slowing down creativity and business in many and varied ways. He has a quote I think is worth remembering:
Government is what happens when the power to say no meets the power to move slow.
I'd argue that quote is only true relative to productivity and growth. Government can move VERY fast when increasing it's own power and destroying individual liberty!

He discusses the removal of the "Prudent Man Rule" in '79 which allowed a burst of venture capital to be unleashed, and the allowing radio spectrum to be used under Reagan, which gave us cellular phones and WiFi.

He sums it up at the end with a paragraph that is worth pondering for a bit ...
Our current national mood is very grim: anti-immigration, because we fear foreigners will steal our jobs; anti–Big Business, which wants to help foreigners steal our jobs; anti-finance, because we fear Wall Street will somehow figure out a way to make money stealing our jobs; anti-technology, because we fear that robots will steal our jobs. And we are, too often, anti-entrepreneur, too, resentfully suspecting that somehow the men and women who create the things that we do not want to live without are somehow getting over on us.
'via Blog this'

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