Intentional systems

In his book Consciousness Explained, the philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett says that a study of hallucination, “will lead us to the beginnings of a theory — an empirical, scientifically respectable theory — of human consciousness” [4]. I’ve explored what some philosophers say about hallucination in previous posts and tried to relate that to…More

Inattention and power

Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) provides one of the most enduring depictions of machine intelligence, a spaceship that exhibits sentience. HAL, the onboard computer provides an interface to the ship’s functions. In his chapter “Toward the sentient city,” Mark Shepard identifies the conversational aspect of HAL’s interface, “symbolized by his iconic and…More

Urban discourse

Dialogue typifies what it is to be intelligent. I’m thinking of two or more people engaged in conversation. Alan Turing proposed conversation as the test for AI. If participants or observers can’t tell the difference between a human conversing with a simulation and a human being conversing with another human then it’s fair to say…More

Intimations of sentience

Something is sentient if “feels or is capable of feeling; having the power or function of sensation or of perception by the senses” (OED). Consider the following: “An AI platform that delivers conversational responses to my inputs is sentient.” That’s a very bold claim about AI. To intimate that an AI platform is sentient would…More

Dall-E and me

The image below is one of my photographs of Mãe d’Água das Amoreiras (Mother of the Water) Reservoir, Lisbon, taken in August this year. If I was conscientious I would label it with alt-text: “plan view of a large thin metal wheel tap in a horizontal position above a reflective underground cyan pool in a…More

Work-life imbalance

Severance is a dark scifi comedy-drama about a high-tech company capable of splitting the memory life of its office workers in two. As soon as a worker comes into the office she/he loses all recollection of what happened on the outside. When she leaves the office she immediately forgets what happened at work as she…More

An intelligent conversation about architecture

I conversed about architecture in the Open Playground section of the website (that uses GPT-3 natural language processing). The dialogue here is verbatim with no edits. Responses were quicker than you would expect from a human interlocutor. This chat app doesn’t do humour, but takes note of the context set by previous questions and…More

Speech to text

A city that’s legible is easy to understand and to navigate, i.e. to read. You can read a city’s people, moods, signs, and what it denotes and connotes. In a previous post I explored the prospect that you might write a city, as well as read it. According to this theory, a city participates in…More

II V I and all that Jazz

With more time spent teaching in front of a computer I’ve learnt more about developments in automated speech recognition. Software that turns speech into text (as transcriptions and closed captions) is a major accomplishment. Practically it’s “artificial intelligence” (AI). Researchers attempt the same with music: turning an audio music track into musical notation: notes on…More

Disintegrated intelligence

One of the impediments to convincingly intelligent systems is that their functions are specific. A smart chess playing program may be able to win against a chess master, but it can’t author a blog about AI, or make an omelette. Nor can it play other games, such as Pictionary — that is, unless it’s programmed…More