The Nature of Computation


If you were building an AI for a game of chess it would be strange if you did anything other than modelling the game. But take a look at the universe we live in and the best equations to explain the reality. Some physicists will tell you that time does not exist. That time and space are really made of the same thing. It is my conception that if we put all the greatest minds together working on a chess AI, they would come to the conclusion that there is something more fundamental that the pieces and the squares. There is some more fundamental substance that they are both constructed from that would serve us better when creating an AI. Just as space-time  is named, we’ll call this fundamental matter square-piece.

This square-piece would allow a much more effective AI. An argument against this might be that we don’t know what reality is defined as, but chess *is* defined as pieces on a board obeying various rules therefore it can’t be anything else. This is wrong however. Just because a problem can be defined in a certain way does not mean it cannot be reduced to a simpler problem. Reducing the game so that the AI can make computations on the fundamental matter would be more effective.

I enjoy making wild statements that are difficult to verify (this seems to ruffle some feathers at times but I don’t care), so here’s another: our brains are actually operating on this fundamental square-piece when playing chess. This is how we can still compete current day chess AI that just iterates through potential scenarios on a weak processor that has a ‘mere’ 100 million transistors on it.

I think to exploit this square-piece a cellular automaton is needed. The space of algorithms that can be designed by humans is infinite in size but that does not mean it explores the entirety of the space of algorithms. There are many algorithms our brains could never comprehend that are essential to building intelligent systems. Instead of designing a CA, we need to search for one that does what we need. Play chess well.

Why Open Source Innevitably Prevails

Software companies can’t keep adding useful features to software. Eventually they will run out ideas for useful features. But the pressure to innovate and differentiate themselves from their rivals is immense. Their solution is to continue adding features and tell themselves that those new features are useful when actually they are useless. Those features will become known as bloat; the plague that haunts us all.

FOSS (Free Open Source Software) will eventually catch up to the closed source solution. It’s inevitable because there is a limit to how many useful features software can have.

An analogy: suppose the common ruler is invented for the first time. A company sells it for $100 and makes large sums of money. Another company comes along and figures out how it is produced and then sells it for $0. The original company is then pressured to innovate, so they add a compass to the ruler. It can now tell you which direction north is in. But this is just bloat, it only makes the item harder to use.

We’re finally beginning to see that our desktop computers have enough RAM for the vast majority of software. The number of programs which would improve from the user having more RAM is decreasing rapidly and this is why we’re seeing a decline in desktops. Desktops used to be the only place most programs would run because they were the only things powerful enough. But now the smart phone and laptop have begun to dominate.