Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"What is Intelligence?": Food for the AI Folks...

Wikipedia describes intelligence to be: a property of mind that encompasses many related abilities, such as the capacities to reason, to plan, to solve problems, to think abstractly, to comprehend ideas, to use language, and to learn.
And this is simply not what wikipedia thinks; some of the great talks by renowned computer scientists I have ever attended (including Turing Award winners like Fran Allen) talk alike. Nevertheless the question is, it is really sufficient to describe intelligence by these skills? Haven't most of the work traditionally in AI starting from propositional planning to combinatorial logic always strived to inculcate one or more of these traits in the computers? If yes, then why are we so much away from even a 10% intelligent (compared to humans) computer today?
I am not sure if there is any precise answer, or actually if we ever will have the ability to actually answer this and make it happen in the future. But there are two things, I believe, which are typically very characteristic of humans and which the AI community hasn't probably thought of to instill in their endeavor for a super-smart computer!
These are: intuition and adaptation.
Intuition: It is the ability to take decisions or do things without being goaded by a standard reasoning process. I guess it is very typical of human beings and acts as a sophisticated ability to make judgments where reasoning cannot be applied. Unfortunately, while lot of work has been done about how to make computer reason about things, little has been said about taking decisions (under certain circumstances) when no reasoning can be applied. So here is a new direction, although the problem is difficult!
Adaptation: It is typically a positive characteristic of an organism that has been favored by natural selection. Is it not interesting to think of building systems that can actually evolve over time? Agreed, there has been some work in this regard. But the problem is more profound than judged. Adaptation is something which should enable a system to evolve in the sense can it can get rid of some characteristics, generate some, inherit some other others as well as mould and modify them to its own needs. The second food for thought!
Let's see what the next 40 years of AI research has in store for us! I will come back to this blog to compare my perceptions then...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Four Questions...

The Grace Hopper 2007 is more than another Computer Science conference for me. What struck me most were these four pretty cliched, but ever-thought-arousing questions I heard (or re-iterated in my ears) today.
1. What is computable?
2. What is intelligence?
3. What is information?
4. Can we build complex systems simply?
I am trying to figure out these answers. Of course it is not easy: even many of the Turing Award winners have met many stumbling blocks on the way. But I will strike a take on it! As rightly said, "I Invent the Future" :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Life just moves on, whatever happens, however unfavorable circumstances might be. It is amazing how much patience and reticence to one's self-conscience one might have that we still hold on to something as the 'center' of our lives despite all odds shattering our dreams which once used to leave us mesmerized. Everything comes and goes in the flick of a moment...
The key and the biggest learning of life is how you want to hold on to the real passion in your life in order to make life more meaningful. After all, none is born without an inherent meaning! The clue is how we or if we ever happen to unlock that mysterious 'bolt' of real meaning amidst numerous 'keys' all scrambled around us...
Life is greater than what we think of it to be. It is a long journey towards eternity: the destination of 'meaning'. And all our lives groom around just different facets of some consistent meaning. Like the rainbow is hidden all the time, lest the times when light is reflected from the clouds in some specific manner. What is that 'light' which can bring out the rainbow of our lives?
I guess it is a never-ending quest: a quest of truth. The 'meaning' of life...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Reasons why you should cook at home!

So here comes a blog which can all over again motivate you to start cooking and eating at home! A few good reasons:
1. Value-for-money (the cost factor): Home made food is far less expensive compared to the same thing you order at a restaurant. This is because the ingredients (the raw materials) that you would use for cooking is decently cheap at any local grocery store. For example, a box of brownies comes for about $5 in a standard grocery store. You probably need a $1 to buy brownie mix and bake them at home! Another good example, ice creams in waffle cone would cost you like $8 at any Cold Stone store. If you buy a huge box of ice cream and a few cones, it won't come more than $2 per ice cream!
2. Quality: You are your own chef, so you are at liberty to go for quality ingredients, especially about spices, cooking oil, butter, eggs, milk and cheese.
PS: though disputed, yet beware of buying specifically these stuff cheap, they have been known to cause deadly diseases like breast cancer. The second threat are the preservatives in all the cooked frozen food and ready-to-eat stuff.
3. Variety: And of course you have the freedom to go ahead and delve into cooking some really innovative meal! Try any possible fusion, like Chinese-American, Indian-Thai, Indian-Ethiopian or Mexican-Cuban!
PS: these are pretty standard fusions, but you can always introduce some variations!
4. Taste: Last but not the least, cooking is a passion! If you enjoy cooking, you can master the art of culinary skills and be the chef of numerous delicious recipes for your friends, family and loved ones. If you are a woman, then you know the saying "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach". While if you are a man, then you know the best chefs in the world are all men, an opportunity to be a better husband to your sweetheart!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

... every little moment I live...

Of late, I have realized that life is simply about living everyday! It is all about those little petty things we do that make us happy and sad. Nothing is pre-defined before. Every moment is a surprise and living is about happily embracing all those moments...
I can see myself sitting in trance by the sea shore and watching those moments come and go by. Sometimes I would see a distant sail making its way through the unruly waves, thrashing water behind; till it finally makes it to the harbor.
Sometimes I see a homeless person downstairs in the downtown with his dog which reminds me how beautiful world is still now: some assets turn into lives themselves and no one could part them however pathetic life could be.
Sometimes I would see my fellow Asian colleagues at work, day in and day out with utmost devotion, re-iterating the fact that you don't need a God to believe in, for, work is worship.
Sometimes I would burst into laughter for no good reason at something which is far from being humorous.
Sometimes I would run after a few pebbles of happiness brought down by the rolling waves on the shore.
Sometimes I would knit my own fabric of day dreams with my joys and woes.
Sometimes I would be worried, sometimes placid, sometimes elated, sometimes pensive even though I would be clueless about the answer to the biggest questions in my life.
Life is all about what we see, learn, feel, visualize and cull out with our experiences of such numerous petty moments. It is about living every moment which caters to delivering an essence to life and its continual learning. My wish, "let me breathe in the fresh air of every moment that sweeps me by, let me drab it in, let me feel and let me live..."

Saturday, October 06, 2007

'One Love'

Despite all the grandeurs of technology streamlining every segment of our daily life, if you ask me, the most common unsolved mystery that we still have not been able to solve is probably the question, "What gives me the ultimate happiness?" Do we really have a precise answer to this?
The mundane earthly life is a perennial sequence of unending desires: desire to acquire more and more; and that is what keeps us away from reaching our ultimate goal:to become happy. Imagine, every act we indulge in, right from dawn to dusk, has a lone common goal, how it can, in some manner, yield something towards our happiness. We work, we inculcate our passions, cherish our hobbies: all with one single goal. But the hunt for happiness seems never-ending!
I believe life is all about possessing 'one single thing'. And that possession 'does' it all: leads us to our ultimate goal of happiness. It is that thing which accrues the center of our life: diverges as a vivid facet to every aspect of our life. It lets us survive amidst all the odds and evens. To some, that one thing is their loved one, to some their pet, to others their passions.
I recall a few lines from the song 'One Love' from BLUE. I find it very apt how we need just 'one love' to live. It takes care of everything: paves the road to achieving happiness...

Yeah, alright

It's kinda funny
How life can change
Can flip 180
In a matta of days

Sometimes love works in
Mystertious ways
One day you wake up
Gone without a trace

I refuse to give up
I refuse to give in
You're my everything
I don't wanna give up
I don't wanna give in
So everybody sing

One love for the mothers prider
One love for the times we cried
One love gotta stay alive
I will survive

We only need to hunt for that 'one love' in life!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Along the waves of 'transitory' flow...

They are right when they say, "Life is stranger than fiction". I have always been amazed by the manner our thought process is involved with the sequence of actions and happennings in life. We are morose and taken aback when we see our hopes getting shattered; we drive up to ecstasy with the hint of a positive happenning around us.
I believe wherefrom our lives accrue meaning is the way we build magnificent domes and architectures of hopes, dreams and expectations around us. But on the rolling sands of time and life everything seems transitory. Hopes and dreams come and go, and we either watch them blooming into physical existence, or we see them being run down by the thrashing unruly waves of circumstances.
Nevertheless, life is so strange! Time and again, we would build those deck of cards for our hopes and dreams. Even when we know they have been shattered to pieces before. We never learn!
The inherent truth is, life itself is transitory. We are a petty existence of a sequence of happennings in the course of space and time. We dwindle away, and still try to groom again, with our energies. Needless to say, this perseverance to achieve what one wants in life, is what drives life. And an icing on the cake, the root to all woes in the world!
Along such never ending waves of continual transitory flow of life, when will we really grow up above these mundane hopes and dreams?