Monday, January 6, 2014

Artificial Intelligence and the Bible: Message to Sardis, Part I

Part I, II

Judeo-Christian AI vs. Materialist AI

As I have written elsewhere, I get my understanding of intelligence and the brain (see Secrets of the Holy Grail) from decoding certain metaphorical passages found in the books of Revelation and Zechariah. I call it Judeo-Christian AI (JCAI) because the source material comes from both the old and the new Testaments. One of my goals is to set JCAI as a superior alternative to Strong AI or Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). AGI is what I call 'materialist or atheist AI'. Materialists believe that the brain is all there is to the mind and that consciousness is an emergent property of complex intelligence. In my opinion, it is all based on pseudoscience, superstition and wishful thinking.

I have a problem with the materialist viewpoint because I think it poses a danger to society. I don't believe that machines can be conscious. However, I anticipate that future intelligent machines will behave in such a way as to appear uncannily conscious. The danger is that many will treat the machines as if they were conscious, not unlike the way some are now convinced that animals are conscious. Some will demand that intelligent machines be given legal rights and many will even worship them as some kind of saviors. Evil leaders will certainly want to use this to their advantage.

Lately, AI is all the rage in academia and high technology companies. Big corporations like Google, IBM, Microsoft and FaceBook are spending huge sums of money in AI research. The excitement seems to be around two statistical approaches to intelligence called deep learning networks and the Bayesian brain. In spite of their initial successes, I predict that both of these approaches will go the way of GOFAI, the failed symbol-based AI model of the late 20th century.

I think that now is a good time for me to reveal my research methods in greater detail. I think that, by showing that the secret of intelligence has been coded in ancient texts that are thousands of years old will go a long way to counter the materialist onslaught. My plan is to write a series of articles designed as commentaries to the ancient texts. I will use the King James translation as a rule and other translations whenever the meaning of a passage is not very clear. Eventually, I hope to join these articles together into a single downloadable e-book.

Sardis and Memory

In this article, I will interpret the message to the Church of Sardis, in the book of Revelation. I am starting with Sardis because it has to do with how memory works. I believe that memory is the most important aspect of intelligence and the brain because it is the seat of knowledge. This is borne out by the level of attention it is given in the scriptures. More is written in the Bible about memory than any other part of the brain. The Sardis text deals specifically with perceptual learning and attention in sequence memory. Several chapters in the book of Zechariah (Yahweh remembers) also have to do with the organization and function of memory. I will get back to them in a future article.

Message to the Church of Sardis
Revelation 3:1-6
1 These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.
2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.
3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.
4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.
5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
6 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Commentary

1 These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, [...]

Right off the bat, the Sardis message plunges deep into the metaphorical sea. We are told elsewhere in Revelation 4:5 that the seven spirits of God are the seven eyes of God which are mentioned in Zechariah 4. I'll get back to Zechariah in a future post. Suffice it to say for now that the seven eyes of God represent the seven consecutive nodes of a sequence. They are the building blocks of memory. They also symbolize the short-memory capacity of the brain. In sum, Sardis has to do with memory sequences.

In Revelation 1:20, we are told that the seven stars are the angels (messengers) to the seven churches in Asia. I believe that the seven stars are mentioned here in order to distinguish between them and the seven spirits of God. I interpret the seven churches to mean seven functional modules in the brain. Each church has a specific function and I think this is why every message to every church includes the phrase, "I know your works".

[...] that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.
2 Be watchful, [...]


Now we are starting to get into the heart of the Sardis metaphor. While the King James Bible says "Be watchful, [...]" in verse 2 above, most other translations have it as "Wake up, [...]". I think what this is saying is that sequence memory is normally inactive until it wakes up. Of course, not all of memory can be active at the same time. As I will show in a future post, this is related to the brain's attention mechanism.

[...] and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.

I think this is talking about the fact that newly formed memories (sequences) need to be strengthened during recall, otherwise they will be forgotten. The word 'perfect' is often translated as 'complete'. This indicates that memory building (knowledge construction) is a never ending task. The same goes for remembering as we see below.

3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent.

This one is a real beauty, in my opinion. Of course, the primary job of memory is to remember events. But notice that the message does not command Sardis to remember what it received and heard but how. In fact, the word is so unexpected within the context of the chapter that most Bible translators, unaware of the true meaning of the text, mistakenly use 'what' instead of 'how'. The important words here are 'how', 'received' and 'heard'. Look at the sequence diagram below:
The red circles are pattern neurons. They fire only when they receive concurrent sensory signals. Normally, if the sequence is detected, each pattern neuron will have fired in succession. I interpret verse 3 to mean that the sequence should remember the exact timing between successive firings. To compute the intervals between the nodes in the sequence, the sequence must sense (or hear) what time each node fires. But what does 'hold fast and repent' mean? I think this is referring to what neurologists and psychologists call a memory trace or engram. In other words, every time a sequence is recorded (remembered), the previously recorded intervals are replaced with the new ones.

Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.

This is an easy one. It just means that if the brain is not paying attention to something, it will be completely oblivious to it. Again, the timing of events is paramount.

Coming Up

In my next post in this series, I will decode the rest of the Sardis message and explain how it is connected to the book of Zechariah.

See Also:

Secrets of the Holy Grail

6 comments:

Vlad said...

You don't think machines can be conscious? That just discredited your whole blog in my eyes, I actually thought you had a point with some stuff about functional programming and how nonsensical it is. Now i'm not sure if i should listen to someone who studies AI from the bible.. What is wrong with you? This stuff was written by some monks in pre-science age. Unbelievable, moving on...

Louis Savain said...

Vlad, suit yourself. If anybody got a problem with what I write on my blog, it is obviously not meant for you. I only write for kindred spirits. Sorry.

blahdelablah said...

Is it wise to write for only those that agree with you? I find it best to be as open to discussion with others as I can, even if they disagree.

Louis Savain said...

"Is it wise to write for only those that agree with you? I find it best to be as open to discussion with others as I can, even if they disagree."
I will allow almost anybody to comment on my blog, even if they disagree with me. But if I detect a hint of pompous hostility, I, too, become hostile. This is my boat. I choose my passengers as I see fit. Vlad above is lucky I allowed his comment through.

Joshua Mattocks said...

I respect this thread. Beautiful exegesis.

Sam Garcia said...

As both a fundamentalist and AI major, while I guess you can draw some far parallels with AI and the passage about Sardis, I don't think it is meant to be a model for AI or thinking. There are other more information filled passages about thinking.