Saturday, June 20, 2009

Logic vs. Intuition

A direct link to the above video is at

Currently the most popularly viewed entry of all time here at the Imagining the Tenth Dimension blog is called Creativity and the Quantum Universe. Here's the video for that entry:

A direct link to the above video is at

Life, consciousness, and creativity: these are all entwined together, different aspects of the same patterns. The idea that these processes somehow engage with spatiotemporal events in a way that embraces the proven non-locality of our universe is an important key here. Last blog we talked about imagining life and consciousness as an interlocking system which is constantly changing and revising itself throughout our lives. In his insightful book "What is Life?", Erwin Schrödinger pointed out that within our universe life is a unique process which creates pockets of "negative entropy" or increasing order: and within that context, consciousness and creativity can also be described the same way.

We've talked before about Schrödinger's Cat, the thought experiment which was originally intended to show how silly it is to apply quantum thinking to the macro world, and which instead has now become a useful jumping off point for understanding Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation and the multiverse landscape. A few entries ago, in Placebos and Nocebos I mentioned that I'm listening these days to an audiobook called Spontaneous Evolution, by Bruce Lipton and Steve Bhaerman, and one of the important points they make is that our world is now starting to move away from scientific materialism (the idea that what we observe around us is all there is to reality, and that everything about our reality is logical and predictable if only we collect enough data). Instead, we're starting to move towards a more holistic paradigm, as we see more and more evidence that in order to understand how everything fits together we need to embrace that there are hidden patterns and structures that exist "outside" of space-time, and some of those patterns are fractal or chaotic rather than linear or predictable. That's true as we see the growing acceptance that our universe is only one of many, that roughly 96% of our own universe is completely invisible and undetectable, that the way our genes are expressed and even which genes are passed on to our offspring is strongly connected to our attitude and lifestyle, and that our holographic universe comes from the fifth dimension, connected together outside of fourth-dimensional space-time in ways that boggle the mind.

So. Scientific experiments are proving that life is able to use instantaneous quantum connections to function much more efficiently, and I've been insisting that seemingly "impossible" quantum effects like entanglement and tunneling are much easier to visualize when we think of them as coming from "folds" of the fourth spatial dimension through the fifth. I reached this intuitive conclusion decades ago, and we're now coming up on the three year anniversary of the launching of the tenth dimension website which has given me the opportunity to share these ideas with people from around the world. Which leads us back to the title of this entry: "Logic vs. Intuition". Which is more useful?

Recently I came across a website called "Artificial Intuition". It talks about a new approach to the quandary of how to program computers to think, and suggests that "Artificial Intelligence" (or "AI") runs into problems because it fails to understand how the human mind really functions: while logic should work for specific problem-solving within controlled parameters, intuition and inference applied to a sometimes contradictory input set better describes our day-to-day functioning. The english language is a perfect example - drawing meaning from words on a page or spoken to each other often requires us to fill in the blanks, accept contradictions, and make intuitive leaps, and this is what makes our language extremely frustrating to learn, particularly for persons not exposed to it since birth.

I would connect this back to the discussion we're having here by saying that Artificial Intelligence represents a more scientific materialist approach, while Artificial Intuition represents a more holistic paradigm: one which embraces the idea that there is more happening here than what logic alone can describe.

Artificial Intuition is the brainchild of Monica Anderson, who has a Master's degree in Computer Science from Linköping University in Sweden, but who now works in Silicon Valley and is a US citizen. Her company Syntience is working on ways to bring her innovative approach to market (check out their Facebook Fan page here). At present they are still searching for funding sources: if you'd like to help support their independent research here's a link from the Artificial Intuition website.

Let me quote a few paragraphs from their website, this is from a page in which Logic and Intuition are compared:

Intuition and Logic are two strategies for prediction and problem solving.

We hear so much about the virtues of logic that we'd be excused to believe that logic was somehow the superior method, but a quick analysis shows that most actions we perform on a daily basis mainly use intuition.

Logic is not better, just different. Both strategies have their advantages and apply in different situations. Sometimes we need to use both. Sometimes we can use either one, because the problem is so simple it doesn't much matter how we solve it. Sometimes it matters; if we happen to choose the wrong approach, it may prevent us from solving our problem.

Computer-based intuition - "Artificial Intuition" - is quite straightforward to implement, but requires computers (a recent invention) with a lot of memory (only recently available cheaply enough).
If you look at the label cloud at the top of my blog, you'll see that intuition has been a running theme with this project since it began. This connects back to my song "Automatic", which makes the assertion that there are many times when that logical "narrator voice" of our conscious minds gets in the way, and that there are many complicated activities such as golf, playing a musical instrument, driving a car, or solving a large problem which will work better when we allow the more intuitive, less analytical part of our minds to take the forefront: in other words, when we can do these things "without thinking". This idea relates to a book I've talked about before, written by Julian Jaynes, called "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind": a challenging and fascinating work which suggests that the logical "narrator voice" of consciousness may only have developed in the last few thousand years, and that before that time all human beings operated in a mode where their conscious minds and the underlying "intuitive" parts of their minds were fully integrated. Although he died in 1997, the Julian Jaynes Society continues to promote his work, check it out.

And please spend some time over at the Artificial Intuition site learning more about this fascinating alternative methodology for making computers "smarter" in ways that more directly reflect our own strengths as human beings. This could hold immediate promise for tasks such as document understanding, speech recognition, OCR correction, and implementing the Semantic Web. In the long term, I suspect this could allow the creation of computers that develop the emergent traits of consciousness through using a huge web of tiny little processes that are running concurrently. In that sense, the Artificial Intuition approach would appear to have connections to the consciousness theories of Douglas Hofstadter, who I've talked about many times before in blogs such as You Have a Shape and a Trajectory, I Know You, You Know Me, and We're Already Dead (But That's Okay).

To close, here's that song: "Automatic".

A direct link to the above video is at

Enjoy the journey!


Next: Do Animals Have Souls?


Mariana Soffer said...

This is so weird, we have another coincidence, just check my delicious: ,and you can see I discovered her yesterday, I added the link to her blog, (monica's) that is called monica's mind, I think we are definitely connected somehow.

By the way, have you read any of Hoftstater new ideas about metaphors, I think they are excellent. You have some of his ideas at peter turney site.
Take care

speedbird said...


I voted in the negative on your latest poll about AI. You might think it's splitting hairs but I have quite a strong view on this: 'computers' might indeed become 'intelligent' one day, but at that point it is my own intuition that they would immediately /stop being 'computers'/. We probably don't yet have a name for what they would be instead.

Rob Bryanton said...

Hi Mariana, Hofstadter seems to connect to my project in so many ways, I think he's one of the great minds of our time. I'm not familiar with Peter Turney, should I be going to for the discussions of metaphors? That was the top site that came up when I googled Peter's name.

As for consciousness and computers, speedbird, you may be right that we're talking about a whole new construct by the time a computer becomes self-aware. I'm continuing this discussion in my next couple of blogs, "Do Animals Have Souls?", and "Can Computers Develop Consciousness?"

Thanks for your comments!

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