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RE: [SeattleRobotics] Re: language - neural nets

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  • Randy M. Dumse
    Matthew Tedder said: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 1:06 AM ... I think it is wonderful if we have at least line following projects at universities. Many useful
    Message 1 of 53 , Oct 1, 2008
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      Matthew Tedder said: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 1:06 AM
      > But win or loose, it is a sad fact that robotics
      > projects in universities typically involve little
      > more than line-following robots.

      I think it is wonderful if we have at least line following
      projects at universities. Many useful motion control and
      robotics points are covered by line following.

      It is one of the low hanging fruit, a fairly simple minimal
      machine configuration that demonstrates a motion based utility.
      At least it is a first step. Better than no step at all.

      Likewise I don't think it is sad that grade eschool doesn't
      teach much more than foundational reading writing 'rithmetic. In
      fact, I wish they would stick more to the fundamentals. (As an
      example, in 4th grade, my step daughter came home talking about
      the rain forrest. We asked her if she remembered when we took
      her to the rain forrest? She said she'd never been. Turns out
      the pictures of rainbows and pretty birds didn't register at all
      in her mind with what she actually saw in the Yucatan penisula.)

      I agree with your zeal for advanced projects, but I object to
      any critic of teaching fundamentals to as wide an audience as
      possible, lowering the entry barrier for someone who might want
      to go further.

      BTW, here's a mind twist for you. Can you write a
      non-line-following program? And just how intelligent would that
      look?

      Randy
    • Matthew Tedder
      Actually I have to completely agree with your points about the importance of focusing hard on the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmatic. It s just
      Message 53 of 53 , Oct 1, 2008
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        Actually I have to completely agree with your points about the importance of
        focusing hard on the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmatic. It's
        just astonishing that so many kinds spend six hours a day at school and miss
        so much of the basics... the basics are teaching to fish, instead of giving
        fish. But, another fundamental I think is the scientific method and
        critical thinking. I think that should be taught, rigorously, in high
        schools, too.

        I didn't mean to suggest line follow robots aren't important. I just hope
        this could be, exactly as you said--a building block to bigger and better
        things.

        As for a non-line following robot:

        That's a fun thing to think about. It doesn't feel right to measure
        intelligence as a linear property. Each animal evolves differently for
        survival in its particular environment. Chimpanzees are said to have
        evolved more than humans, since our split from a mutual ancestor (more
        genetic mutations, since).

        But, I think there are linear aspects as well. One of these is that greater
        intelligence necessarily implies greater independence, by definition. To
        not do the same thing under the same conditions (such as the rules for
        following a line), is to explore other ways. For example, thinking outside
        the box. Of course, this predicts that increasingly intelligent machines
        increases the risk of them rebelling against us.. Is this ominous?

        <going to sound a bit wierd>
        One night at a local bar, a physicist friend (Dr. George Lake) and me were
        discussing the concept of Gaia and that planets are intelligent life forms.
        He said that was ridiculous because if it doesn't evolve it couldn't "get
        better" thus become intelligent. I agree the idea is ridiculous, but the
        presumption that evolution is the only means to "get better" bothered
        me--only because it was a presumption. I pondered the idea for a time
        thereafter and eventually came up with a principle I call the "wiggly"
        principle.

        While no physical entity can objectively be said to have a "purpose" in the
        universe (without invoking God), everything does seem to have "direction".
        For example, a rock flying through space has the direction in which it
        flies... normally an orbit around a star or other massive body. A purpose
        is, after all, just a direction with a specific end-point (a goal). So, I
        postulated that the more complex the direction an entity has, the more
        "intelligent" it could become. By intelligent, I mean adaptive to better
        achieve its direction. For example, rocks flying around a star might smack
        into and push away smaller bits of dust or rocks but maintain its direction.
        When I hits something it's momentum cannot defeat, it may shatter eventually
        leaving only rocks with stable and secure orbits. The solar system itself
        thus ultimately adjusts itself to a state of harmony. Likewise, water has
        very complex direction. And a stream of it can overcome almost any obstacle
        by twisting and turning and rising above whatever obstacle it in its way.

        I imagine this like a key in a key hole. Putting it in and turning may or
        may not unlock but pushing and pulling and wiggling while you do it stands a
        better chance. Or, prey trying to escape a predator's grip. Vigor alone,
        provides an increased chance....

        I think evolution is one sub-category of this higher, wiggly principle--a
        principle of how entities in the physical world become "better". And so, a
        non-line following robot would do well with this principle.
        </going to sound a bit wierd/>

        Matthew

        On Wed, Oct 1, 2008 at 11:00 AM, Randy M. Dumse <rmd@...> wrote:

        > Matthew Tedder said: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 1:06 AM
        >
        > > But win or loose, it is a sad fact that robotics
        > > projects in universities typically involve little
        > > more than line-following robots.
        >
        > I think it is wonderful if we have at least line following
        > projects at universities. Many useful motion control and
        > robotics points are covered by line following.
        >
        > It is one of the low hanging fruit, a fairly simple minimal
        > machine configuration that demonstrates a motion based utility.
        > At least it is a first step. Better than no step at all.
        >
        > Likewise I don't think it is sad that grade eschool doesn't
        > teach much more than foundational reading writing 'rithmetic. In
        > fact, I wish they would stick more to the fundamentals. (As an
        > example, in 4th grade, my step daughter came home talking about
        > the rain forrest. We asked her if she remembered when we took
        > her to the rain forrest? She said she'd never been. Turns out
        > the pictures of rainbows and pretty birds didn't register at all
        > in her mind with what she actually saw in the Yucatan penisula.)
        >
        > I agree with your zeal for advanced projects, but I object to
        > any critic of teaching fundamentals to as wide an audience as
        > possible, lowering the entry barrier for someone who might want
        > to go further.
        >
        > BTW, here's a mind twist for you. Can you write a
        > non-line-following program? And just how intelligent would that
        > look?
        >
        > Randy
        >
        >
        >


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