RE: Non-black non-ravens etc.

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Mon Sep 12 2005 - 10:16:42 MDT

Hi Richard,

Indeed, cognitive schema for inference control and information integration
are very important and Novamente has strategies for dealing with these
problems... however, the present discussion is not about that, it's about
a more minor technical point...


> Interestingly enough, a real thinking system (I purport to be one of
> those), would respond in the following way to this statement:
> "I can easily generate situations in which observing a non-black
> non-raven can generate evidence favoring the hypothesis "All ravens are
> black" over its alternatives."
> ... by noting that the question of whether all ravens are black is best
> answered, not by fabulously complex appeals to probability theory, but
> to some background understanding of what makes them black - genetic
> characteristics. The quick conclusion would be "most of them probably
> are, but it is conceivable that a genetic variation could generate a
> non-black one."
> Before you jump on this apparently naive observation, note the
> implication I am trying to draw here. Real thinking systems, in
> practice, obviously cope with the task of gathering new knowledge by
> little strategies and appeals to connected knowledge, of the sort
> illustrated here, so from the point of view of actually building an AGI
> it might be very productive to study those.
> [You might argue that the ravens thing is not really about how people
> make such decisions at the conceptual level, but about processes going
> on at a much more fundamental level of the AGI. My reply to that is
> implied in my previous post on the relevance of complex systems - we
> don't yet have a clear reason to believe that Bayesian inference would
> be necessary or useful or even applicable at that base (local
> mechanisms) level, because nobody has clearly analysed the way that the
> conceptual level relates to those lower levels.]
> Richard Loosemore

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