Monday, October 13, 2014

Why I Believe True Artificial Intelligence May Come Within a Year

It's Closer Than You Think

I think that true AI will arrive in the world much sooner than most people expect. I believe it may happen sometime in 2015. I have many reasons but I will mention just a few important ones in this article. I have argued some of these points elsewhere.

Time Is the Only Teacher

There is something truly groundbreaking that a number of people in the AI research community (e.g., Jeff Hawkins, Andrew Ng, and others) have figured out in the last decade or so. They have come to realize that intelligence is entirely based on the relative timing of discrete sensory and motor signals. It turns out that there are only two kinds of temporal relationships: signals can be either concurrent or sequential. This realization simplifies things tremendously because it gives us a way to do unsupervised learning and invariant object recognition just by observing signal timing. Time is the only supervisor in perceptual learning. No labeled examples are necessary. I believe this to be a breakthrough of enormous importance. It goes without saying that the supervised deep learning models that are currently the rage in AI circles will fall by the wayside.

We Don't Need So Many Neurons

Many have argued that we will need super powerful computers in order to emulate the tens of billions of neurons in the human brain. A critic may ask, do we really need that many neurons and such vast computing power to demonstrate true intelligence? I personally don't think so. My research into cortical columns and sequence recognition has convinced me that we will need at least two orders of magnitude fewer neurons to emulate a mammalian cortex than we thought. I have come to the conclusion that the brain is forced to use parallelism in its cortical columns in order to compensate for the slow speed of its neurons. There is good reason to suppose that the hundred or so minicolumns that comprise a macrocolumn are just individual speed recognizers for a given sequence. They can be emulated in a computer with a single minicolumn and a couple of variables.

In this vein, one can also argue that once the basic principles of intelligence are fully understood, there really is no need to emulate all the billions of neurons in a brain in order to demonstrate very powerful intelligent behavior. A million or so neurons combined with the right model will perform wonders. Bees and wasps can do amazing things with a million neurons.

It gets better. The requirement for massive computational resources becomes even less of a problem when you consider that only a fraction of the brain's cortex is awake at any one time. It may come at a surprise to many that over 90% of the cortex is essentially asleep even when we are fully awake. This is because only a very small part of the cortex, the part we are focusing on, is active at one time.

The Bayesian Red Herring

True AI could have happened decades ago if only we knew how it worked. Obviously, there is something about intelligence that still escapes researchers in the field. I am convinced that one of the reasons it did not happen years ago (other than the aberration that was symbolic AI or GOFAI) is that AI researchers have fallen in love with probabilistic approaches to intelligence such as Bayesian statistics. This, too, is a major waste of time in my opinion. I say this because, contrary to conventional wisdom, the brain does not compute probabilities.

The probabilistic AI model assumes that the world is inherently uncertain and that the job of an intelligent system is to compute the probabilities. The correct model, in my view, assumes that the world is perfectly consistent and that the job of the intelligent system is to discover this perfection. The two models are polar opposites. I believe that once researchers realize that the brain uses a non-probabilistic, winner-take-all approach to recognition, AI will be upon us like a tsunami.

"People are not probability thinkers but cause-effect thinkers." These words were spoken by none other than Dr. Judea Pearl during a 2012 Cambridge University Press interview. Pearl, an early champion of the Bayesian approach to AI, apparently had a complete change of heart. In my opinion, this should have been a wake-up call for the AI community but Pearl's words seem to have fallen on deaf ears. This is regrettable because the probabilistic approach to AI is one of the main impediments to progress in this field. Getting rid of it will simplify our task by orders of magnitude. Fortunately, a number of people are fast moving in this direction.


There are other reasons that true AI is closer than most of us think, including a few that I will reveal when I release the Rebel Speech demo (hang in there). Perceptual learning and knowledge representation are at the heart of intelligence. Once we fully solve the problem of perception and memory, everything else will be child's play in comparison, even things like motor learning, motivation and adaptation. The future is almost at the door.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Unbeknownst to me, I have been inducted into the Encyclopedia of American Loons since July. It's a real beauty and I proudly accept the honor. I guess I do have a few hardcore fans out there. LOL. I am reproducing the article here just in case it disappears for whatever reason. One never knows.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014

#1112: Louis Savain

A.k.a. Mapou (sometimes commenter name on Uncommon Descent)

First, an honorable mention to Terry Savage, formerly finance columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, for this idiotic rant, but it’s not quite enough to earn him his very own entry.

Louis Savain, who calls himself a “rebel scientist”, is probably a minor figure, but deserves exposure as an excellent example of a certain mindset. Savain is a crackpot who disagrees with most of the major discoveries in modern science, including relativity and evolution, and has written several posts of “scientific” takedowns of theories of which he appears to have a rather tenuous grasp. Instead, Savain comes up with his own hypotheses and theories, often based to a greater or lesser extent on the Bible.

Of course, none of his work has yet appeared in any peer-reviewed scientific journals, but there is a reason for that. “Forget it. I believe in going directly to the customer, i.e., the public whom you despise, but who ultimately pays for all science research. They are my peers. I’ll stay away from politically-correct publications, thank you very much.” Ah yes, the corruption of the peer review process. Savain appears to be dimly aware that his work may not pass scrutiny by experts in the relevant fields, and responds in a manner brilliantly illustrative of the crank mindset: “Indeed, the whole peer-review system was designed as a control mechanism intended to exclude a large part of humanity from taking part in the scientific enterprise. This is incompatible with the ideals of a democratic society, in my opinion. We did not get rid of one dictatorship to succomb [sic] under the tiranny [sic] of another.”

At least he makes testable predictions, which is unusual for crackpots. For instance, Savain has repeatedly predicted the fall of Darwinism: “Assuming that the ID hypothesis is correct, one can argue that, since humans are the dominant species on earth, the designers must have had a special interest in us when they began their project. My hypothesis is that they are conducting an experiment, the purpose of which is to distinguish between believers and deniers. Given their vast intellect, it is certain that they anticipated the current conflict. If so, it is highly likely that they would have left us a secret message, a message so powerful that its mere publication would cause the collapse of the materialist fortress.” The secret message is of course found in the Book of Revelation together with the stuff about horsemen. The message will at least ensure that “the Darwinian walls will come crumbling down like the old walls of Jericho. Sweet revenge.” Science, yo.

Here are some predictions Savain has made about the cerebellum and challenged scientists to falsify. Of course, since the predictions contradict current neurology, they must be counted as already falsified, though Savain apparently fails to notice. Here Savain falsifies Einstein’s physics. It really is precious.

Diagnosis: Even after years of looking into crackpots Savain remains a special case for his blatant demonstration of the Dunning-Kruger effect, extraordinary even for a crank. But everything else is very, very typical.
I love it.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Magic Number 7

A Small Taste of Things to Come

The secret release date for the Rebel Speech demo is approaching. What follows is a small excerpt from a document I'm working on, Rebel Speech 1.0, Theory and Program Design, which I will publish together with the Rebel Speech demo program (coming soon). Briefly, Rebel Speech is a biologically plausible, spiking neural network. It is a novel machine learning program that can learn to recognize speech in any language just like we do, by listening. Unlike most speech recognition systems which use either a Bayesian or a supervised deep learning model or both, Rebel Speech has a winner-take-all mechanism. Essentially, during learning, the program compiles as many pattern sequences as possible and then allows them to compete for activation. During recognition, the sequence with the highest number of hits is the winner. There is magic in the air.

The Magic Number 7

The number 7 is engraved in the architecture of sequence memory. It is not only the number of nodes in the body of a sequence. It also figures prominently in the temporal organization of the hierarchy.
The temporal architecture of sequence memory is dictated by the interval covariance of a sequence and the need for great precision in the construction of the hierarchy. Covariance means that the intervals between adjacent nodes in a sequence are equal and stay equal as they change.
Every level in the hierarchy has a basic temporal interval, which is the smallest possible interval for that level. At the bottom level, the basic interval is 10 milliseconds. Each time one climbs up one level, the basic interval is multiplied by 7 as follows: 10, 70, 490, 3430, 24010, 1176490, 8235430, etc. In other words, the basic interval grows exponentially. At level 7, it is already 2.28 hours. By the 10th level, it is over 32 days. What this really means is that the timing of sequences at a given level varies 7 times more slowly than the sequences at the level immediately below it.

PS. Hang in there.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Alternative Anti-Inflammatory Remedies for ALS


I was thinking about the dramatic effect that dexamethasone had on my wife's ALS symptoms on several occasions and it occurred to me that there must be several non-prescription drugs and supplements that could help tame the neuro-inflammation of ALS. After a quick search, I came up with the following: Pomegranate juice, ginger root or extract, Lunasin (soy peptides), zinc gluconate, turmeric, marijuana, alcohol, vitamin D3, dextromethorphan and last, but not least, Naproxen (Aleve). Most of these products are easily obtainable in most countries. Dextromethorphan is used in over-the-counter cough syrup and is known to have strong anti-inflammatory and thus neuroprotective properties. Soy peptides can be ordered online.


Naproxen is particularly interesting because it inhibits the prostaglandin E2 hormones and pro-inflammatory cytokines that are known to be elevated in ALS patients. I would be interested in knowing about the experiences of ALS patients out there who might have experimented with a high dose (2000 mg or more per day) of Naproxen for a few days. I suspect it might have a noticeably positive effect on some patients. To anyone who may want to experiment with Naproxen, I would also recommend taking some L-arginine and magnesium during the treatment to help dilate the arteries and capillaries. This should make it easier for the drug to reach difficult areas of the brain and spinal cord. Of course, if you do get improvements from a high dose of naproxen, it goes without saying that something more powerful like dexamethasone could do wonders. I'm a little excited about the potential of Naproxen because it is an easily obtainable drug. If it did cause improvements in ALS symptoms, it would send a powerful message because a lot of people can try it at home without a prescription.

See Also:

Anesthetics and Glucocorticoids for ALS
Naproxen Reduces Excitotoxic Neurodegeneration in Vivo

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Evil Lie about ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

There is no Question that ALS is an Autoimmune Disease

Those who claim otherwise are either working for Big Pharma or the ALS vulture industry, lying for some personal reason or do not know what they are talking about. ALS is caused by any of several types of genetic mutations. But what characterizes most forms of ALS is that the G-protein coupled receptors are defective. These ubiquitous receptors are used directly by both the nervous system and the immune system. They include GABA, glycine, serotonin, glutamate and several others. Again, these receptors are used directly by both systems. It has been shown experimentally that inflammation is elevated in the brainstem and spinal cord of ALS patients long before the appearance of symptoms. This stuff has been known for decades. So Big Pharma or the ALS vulture industry are lying through their teeth when they continue to insist that inflammation is a secondary consequence of the disease and not part of the genesis of the pathology. They should know better. Shame on them.

The Evil Lie that Killed My Wife and Countless Others

My wife died because ALS experts lied to me. When I began investigating ALS, I was assured early on that ALS was not an autoimmune disease and that it had already been proven over and over that anti-inflammatory drugs have absolutely no effect on the disease. My mistake was to believe this evil lie. So I ignored the fact that my wife's improvements always occurred soon after being administered an anti-inflammatory drug like dexamethasone. I dismissed dexamethasone and instead focused on the only other drug that could have had an effect on the disease, the anesthetics. Anesthetics are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs in their own right and should be included in any comprehensive treatment because they target certain important receptors that traditional anti-inflammatory drugs don't. But anesthetics are not enough. The biggest contributors to my wife's improvements were the glucocorticoid drugs. But I was a fool and my wife died as a result. If I had not believed in the lie, I would have saved her life. I failed miserably.
Important: There are several ALS variants caused by different mutations. Not every ALS patient will see improvements from dexamethasone or prednisone or any one drug. But I believe that many will. Those who don't see any improvements should not despair. The immune system is vast and complex. It is likely that their particular form of ALS affects a different part of the immune system. Other types of anti-inflammatory drugs or a complex cocktail of drugs may do the trick.

Another reason that some PALS may not respond successfully to anti-inflammatory drugs has to do with drug penetration. Inflammation and other factors may prevent the drugs from reaching areas of the CNS where there are needed the most. Such patients may require direct injections into their brainstem and/or spine.
A Crime against Humanity

To claim that ALS is not an autoimmune disease and therefore cannot be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs is a crime against humanity because it blinds an entire community of terminal patients, their loved ones and their doctors to the availability of cheap, off-the-shelf drugs. These can have a powerful therapeutic effect on ALS, especially during the early stages of the disease before the motor neurons begin to suffer irreversible damage. This truth about the ability of anti-inflammatory drugs to effectively treat ALS is exactly what the ALS vulture industry and Big Pharma do not want you know. They are an evil society controlled by assholes and psychopaths who are only in it for the money. They don't give two shits about the lives and sufferings of millions of people. They are inhuman, traitors to their own species, who love to line their pockets with billions of dollars of the public's money. The Nazis and the Holocaust come to mind. When the dust settles on this despicable crime, there will be hell to pay.

I Hold You Responsible for my Wife's Death

I hold Big Pharma and the ALS vulture industry responsible for my wife's slow agonizing death and that of countless other PALS. I am not afraid of you and I'm coming after you with all the legal, scientific and political power I can muster.

See Also:

Treat ALS with Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Anesthetics and Glucocorticoids for ALS

Monday, August 11, 2014

Treat ALS with Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

This is the dirty little secret that Big Pharma and the corrupt ALS therapy development industry do not want you to know. Most ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease) patients can be treated with cheap, off the shelf, non-proprietary anti-inflammatory drugs. Here is a partial list of ALS patients who have seen major improvements and reversal of symptoms after being given anti-inflammatory drugs:
  1. Ted harada. Drugs: anesthetics, basiliximab, methylprednisolone, prednisone, tacrolimus, mycophenolate mofetil.
  2. Ernie Schmid. Drugs: various glucocorticoids.
  3. Paul Aiken. Drugs: local anesthetics, Kenalog, dexamethasone.
  4. Louis Savain's wife. Drugs: anesthetics, dexamethasone.
There are more, I am sure. Some patients are reporting improvements from anti-inflammatory supplements such as Lunasin (a peptide) and zinc gluconate. Other people have reported sudden improvements in speech and swallowing ability after a trip to the dentist where they are injected with dexamethasone and lidocaine. Please, feel free to add more items to the list if you know of other examples.
Important: There are several ALS variants caused by different mutations. Not every ALS patient will see improvements from dexamethasone or prednisone or any one drug. But I believe that many will. Those who don't see any improvements should not despair. The immune system is vast and complex. It is likely that their particular form of ALS affects a different part of the immune system. Other types of anti-inflammatory drugs or a complex cocktail of drugs may do the trick.

Another reason that some PALS may not respond successfully to anti-inflammatory drugs has to do with drug penetration. Inflammation and other factors may prevent the drugs from reaching areas of the CNS where there are needed the most. Such patients may require direct injections into their brainstem and/or spine.
See Also:

Anesthetics and Glucocorticoids for ALS

Anesthetics and Glucocorticoids for ALS

Note: I am reposting this article because I am trying to send a message that is dear to my heart. I do it in my wife's memory.

In 2007, my wife, who died of ALS last year, experienced a full recovery of her left foot paralysis immediately after spine surgery. Although she did not know it at the time, the paralysis was caused by ALS. Unfortunately, the symptoms returned within a month and it was downhill thereafter. After requesting her medical records, I learned that during the operation, she was anesthetized with inhalational anesthetics and she was given 2 grams of the antibiotic drug Cefazolin (Ancef) and 10 mg of Decadron (Dexamethasone), a very powerful glucocorticoid anti-inflammatory drug.

Somewhere around 2010, I became convinced that it was the anesthetics (propofol, sevoflurane, etc.) that had caused my wife's remission. The reason is that she also experienced a strong remission of her ALS symptoms immediately after other surgical procedures during which she was anesthetized. But the main reason that I dismissed dexamethasone is that I was assured by ALS experts that anti-inflammatory drugs have been tried many times before and were shown to be completely ineffective against ALS. This turned out to be a lie, the big lie about ALS that Big Pharma has preached for many years. I now understand that it was a combination of the anesthetics and the glucocorticoid anti-inflammatory drug, routinely given during such procedures, that had caused her improvements. Both have anti-inflammatory properties. I did some research and found out that they work synergistically by enhancing and complementing each other's therapeutic properties.

I hold Big Pharma, the Department of Health and Human Services and the ALS therapy development industry responsible for my wife's death and that of countless others who perished from this horrible disease.

ALS Is an Autoimmune Disease

Even though many in the ALS money making industry maintain otherwise, there is no question that ALS is an autoimmune disease. This is why my wife and other ALS sufferers have experienced strong improvements after injection with anti-inflammatory drugs. This is not the first time that glucocorticoid drugs have been implicated in spectacular ALS remissions. In 2011, famous ALS patient Ted Harada experienced an amazing recovery after being anesthetized for up to five hours during stem cell treatment and given several anti-inflammatory glucocorticoids to prevent rejection. In June 2013, Ernie Schmid published an ALS remission story in which he explained how he kept his ALS under control with powerful glucocorticoids. There is also the story of US Authors Guild's director Paul Aiken whose ALS went into remission after injections with the glucocorticoid drug Kenalog. Other ALS sufferers have reported strong improvements in their speech and ability to swallow after a visit to the dentist. It turns out that most dentists inject their patients with a mixture of dexamethasone (to prevent swelling) and a local anesthetic during tooth extractions or root canals.
Important: There are several ALS variants caused by different mutations. Not every ALS patient will see improvements from dexamethasone or prednisone or any one drug. But I believe that many will. Those who don't see any improvements should not despair. The immune system is vast and complex. It is likely that their particular form of ALS affects a different part of the immune system. Other types of anti-inflammatory drugs or a complex cocktail of drugs may do the trick.

Another reason that some PALS may not respond successfully to anti-inflammatory drugs has to do with drug penetration. Inflammation and other factors may prevent the drugs from reaching areas of the CNS where there are needed the most. Such patients may require direct injections into their brainstem and/or spine.
I would hate to see so many ALS sufferers needlessly die from this awful disease while a cheap and effective treatment might be available off the shelf. Unfortunately, we have a broken and heartless health system that refuses to listen to the opinions of their terminal patients and forbids them to experiment with various drugs, even under doctor's supervision. We sorely need a 'right to try' law for terminal patients.

See Also:

Alternative Anti-Inflammatory Remedies for ALS
The Evil Lie about ALS
Treat ALS with Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

PS. If you have ALS or you care for someone who does, please do what you can to get your hands on some dexamethasone and conduct your own experiments at home. It's a relatively benign drug. Just make sure you don't have any infection before you begin to experiment with it.