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JohnH comments on Artificial Addition - Less Wrong

36 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 20 November 2007 07:58AM

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Comment author: JohnH 22 April 2011 11:40:23PM 4 points [-]

Are the vast majority of synaptic weights actually not learned, but rather preset somehow?"

This is what some philosophers have purposed, others have thought we start as a blank slate. The research into the subject has shown that babies do start with some sort of working model of things. That is we begin life with a set of preset preferences and the ability to distinguish those preferences and a basic understanding of geometric shapes.

Comment author: wedrifid 22 April 2011 11:51:39PM 5 points [-]

It would be shocking if we didn't have preset functions. Calves, for example, can walk almost straight away and swim not much longer. We aren't going to entirely eliminate the mammalian ability to start with a set of preset features there just isn't enough pressure to keep a few of them.

Comment author: Cyan 23 April 2011 01:07:24AM 6 points [-]

If you put a newborn whose mother had an unmedicated labor on the mother's stomach, the baby will move up to a breast and start to feed.

Comment author: wedrifid 23 April 2011 07:23:46AM *  2 points [-]

Good point. Drink (food), breathe, scream and a couple of cute reactions to keep caretakers interested. All you need to bootstrap a human growth process. There seems to be something built in about eye contact management too - because a lack there is an early indicator that something is wrong.

Comment author: Houshalter 24 February 2014 09:55:14PM 2 points [-]

a couple of cute reactions to keep caretakers interested

Not terribly relevant to your point, but it's likely human sense of cuteness is based on what babies do rather than the other way around.

Comment author: Nornagest 24 February 2014 10:02:49PM *  1 point [-]

I'd replace "human" with "mammalian" -- most young mammals share a similar set of traits, even those that aren't constrained as we are by big brains and a pelvic girdle adapted to walking upright. That seems to suggest a more basal cuteness response; I believe the biology term is "baby schema".

Other than that, yeah.

Comment author: Eugene 18 February 2012 11:23:35AM 4 points [-]

Conversely, studies with newborn mammals have shown that if you deprive them of something as simple as horizontal lines, they will grow up unable to distinguish lines that approach 'horizontalness'. So even separating the most basic evolved behavior from the most basic learned behavior is not intuitive.

Comment author: Cyan 20 February 2012 06:25:53AM 0 points [-]

The deprivation you're talking about takes place over the course of days and weeks -- it reflects the effects of (lack of) reinforcement learning, so it's not really germane to a discussion of preset functions that manifest in the first few minutes after birth.

Comment author: Eugene 27 July 2012 02:31:01AM 3 points [-]

It's relevant insofar as we shouldn't make assumptions on what is and is not preset simply based on observations that take place in a "typical" environment.

Comment author: Cyan 27 July 2012 03:26:00AM *  2 points [-]

Ah, a negative example. Fair point. Guess I wasn't paying enough attention and missed the signal you meant to send by using "conversely" as the first word of your comment.

Comment author: Eugene 27 July 2012 05:37:42AM 1 point [-]

That was lazy of me, in retrospect. I find that often I'm poorer at communicating my intent than I assume I am.

Comment author: Kenny 13 January 2013 06:57:25PM 1 point [-]