What is inferential learning?

     It is learning by inference, by logical deduction or induction,
from assumptions and observations to conclusions.

     Take for example the following deductive sylogism,

     All dogs are animals.           (Assumption)
     Joey is a dog.                  (Observation)
     Therefore, Joey is an Animal.   (Conclusion.)

     The consclusion is true if both the assumption and the observation
are true and the logical form is valid.  The conclusion may yet be true
even if the assumptions are false or the logical form is invalid.  But
if the assumptions are true, and the logical for is valid, then the
conclusion MUST be true.

     When using logic to infer the truth of conclusions, certainty of
conclusions depends on certainty of the assumptions and certainty of the
observations, and of course certainty of the validity of the logical

     The assumption in the above case is true by definition, so there
isn't much to proving it true.

     But in many other cases, the underlying assumptions to conclusions
are much harder to prove true.  Sometimes one can prove that the
assupmtions CAN'T be proven true and thus the truth of the conclusions
can be held in abeyance forever.

     The machine certainty theorem is very simple, it says basically:

     A machine can't be certain of anything.

     A machine can't be certain it exists, it can't be certain of
changes in itself, and thus can't be certain of time, and it can't be
certain of cause and effect and thus can't be certain that anything else
exists either, let alone what its properties may be.

     Here is the proof.

     A machine learns about the world around it by lookikng at effects
received in itself allegedly caused by the world around it.

     From these effects the machine, hypothesizes, theorizes, and
INFERS about the various causes that may have created the effects.

     The following sylogism is used exclusively in such inferences.

     All effects are caused.          (ASSUMPTION)
     I have received an effect.       (OBSERVATION)
     Therefore there must be a cause. (CONCLUSION)

     From above we know that the only way the machine can be certain of
the conclusion, is to be certain of its assumptions and observations.

     Well let's grant for the moment that the machine is certain of its
observation, namely that it received an effect.

     Notice that the word 'observation' *MEANS* 'received and effect'
and 'received an effect' *MEANS* 'observation.'

     We have already said that a machine can't know it has changed state
with certainty because present state does not prove prior different
state, but let's grant the machine the truth of its observation that it
received an effect anyway.

     All that is left then is for the machine to attain certainty that
'All effects are caused'.

     This means that if the machine changed state there must have been
something else out there that must have changed state earlier which
caused the effect the machine received.

     *THIS* something else is the object of its learning.

     Ok, well we all believe that every effect is caused, that changes
in state in an object in present time flow from OTHER changes in state
in other objects in prior times.

     This flow of changes in state is called a causal pathway.

     Each object that changes state later in the causal pathway is
called a 'symbol' for the prior object that changed state before it
which we call the 'referent.' The later event symbolizes and refers to
the earlier event that caused the later event.

     The first event or object that changed state to start it all is
the original referent.

     We are not looking for a First Cause here, but an earliest one
of significance in the causal pathway we are interested in.

     So if C is the effect of B which is the effect of A, then A is
the original referent because A 'started it', and B is a symbol for A,
and C is a symbol for A and B.

     A -> B -> C

     Referent -> Symbol

     For example we receive a photon at our light sensor in the lab,
that's a change in state.

     Was it caused?

     If so then that event is a symbol for some prior referent.

     Well of course it was caused, it didn't just happen out of nowhere
right?  If we follow that photon back we come to the sun where two
hydrogen atoms fused to form helium and a whole mess of photons one of
which came to us.

     So there is your referent, the prior event that was cause of the
photon that hit our detector.



     Just because we take for granted that every change in state is
preceeded by a prior change in state elsewhere, doesn't mean it is true
in any absolute sense.

     Just because everyone knows that all effects are caused, again
doesn't make it true.  It may be an assumed given, but a given is not a
proven truth.

     It is not scientific to take something that 'everyone knows' and
postulate it as truth just because everyone knows it.

     We may grant it as a self evident truth, but one doubts that
anything could be self evident to a machine.

     Therefore machines have to held to a higher standard of certainty
than humans do lest they assume some very odd things.

     So we have to ask the following question.

     Can we build a machine, that can prove to its OWN satisfaction, and

     That every change in state here, is preceeded by a prior change in
state there?

     If such a machine can be built, then that machine can attain
certainty of the assumption that every effect is caused, and thus along
with the certain observation that it has received an effect, the machine
can conclude with further certainty that there must have been a prior
cause of that effect.

     It might even with certainty then be able to tell you about the
nature of that cause deduced from the nature of the effect it received.

     But all this depends on being able to prove with perfect certainty
that all effects are in fact caused.

     Now listen very closely.

     The only way a machine can learn about ANYTHING is by looking at
effects!  Namely effects in itself.

     So is there any way to prove that all effects are caused merely by
looking at the effects which are caused?

     Does effect prove cause?

     Does change in state here, prove prior change in state there?

     Maybe our poor machine can't prove that ALL effects are caused,
because God knows it might have to experience all possible effects to
know that.

     So how about something less demanding,

     Can a machine be built that can prove that THIS effect is caused
merely by looking at THIS effect?

     Now this is a very deep problem in mechanics and may not come easy.

     The answer is no.

     Effects in and of them selves do not contain the information that
there was a cause.

     There is NOTHING that can be observed about any change in state
that proves or even indicates that there was a prior change in state in
another object elsewhere.

     When a photon comes in and hits our machine, all our machine can do
is change state, all the machine 'knows' is its new state.  At that
moment, while basking in its new state, the photon is already gone, its
energy having been absorbed into the machine.


     We only think about cause because we know about dependable
followingness between two different events.

     We throw the light switch and the photons hit our sensor.

     We can't actually see the cause between the two events but we
like to anthropomorphize existence in human terms, and we know for
sure we are cause of some things, so we like to think there is cause
out there also.

     That's fine, there very well may be, but WE CAN'T SEE IT


can observe are the two events that follow each other dependably.



     If there is cause between two different events the only way we can
be alerted to this is by observing the dependable followingness between
the two events.

     And yes a machine can do this also.

     This gives reason to SUSPECT the possibility of causation between
them, but not absolute certainty.

     Every time I throw the light switch, the light comes on and the
photons hit my light sensor.

     Does the light come on because I throw the switch?

     Well if there is no cause between switch and light coming on, how
come they follow each other every time, huh?

     Ok that's a fair question, but let's reverse it around.  Can we be
sure that just because two events follow each other all the time that
there is cause between them?

     Clearly the answer is no.

     It could be coincidental.

     It could be independent synchronicity.

     It could be a third party is affecting both to make it look like
there is cause between them.

     Maybe someone is watching me throw the light switch, and when I do,
he throws his own switch which then causes the light to come on.

     Any computer game is an example of this, the computer is the third
party making it look like the bullets on the TV screen are blowing up
the bad guys on the same screen.

     The little light images on the screen certainly are not doing
anything to the other light images on the screen, right?

     The third party is 'virtualizing' cause on the screen so we can
believe cause is between the objects on the screen when really its
between the computer and each object individually.

     These may seem like silly arguments, surely there isn't any third
party making the physical universe behave AS IF there was real cause
inside it.

     Hydrogen becomes helium, photon is released, that's the end of it.

     OK, fine, that is a perfectly good philosophical stand to take, but
it is not PROOF, namely perfect certainty.

     Thus we come back to the machine certainty theorem.

     Can a machine be built that learns only by looking at effects that
can prove that those effects are caused?

     The answer is no.

     Can it even get the *IDEA* that they are caused, even if it is
witnessing endless examples of dependable followingness.

     The answer is no.

     All the machine can do is record the fact of dependable
followingness between two events, and produce a running record of how
dependable that followingness was and is.

     Cause is not an observable event, so the machine will never come up
with the idea.

     The machine drops the apple 2 million times and it falls down to
the ground.  Must be cause around here somewhere, right?

     No, not to the machine, all it knows is that as of now the apple
has fallen 2 million out of 2 million times.

     Can it derive from that fact that the apple will PROBABLY

     No, it wouldn't even concieve the idea.

     That idea has to be programmed into the machine by a human as an
unprovable assumption.  You see it is the human that believes that
dependable followingness implies causation, i.e.  NECESSARY CONTINUED

     The machine will only roll its eyes at this assumption, because
all the machine knows is OBSERVABLE FACTS, and since cause can not be
observed directly, cause can never become a fact to the machine.

     Dependable followingness can be a fact to a machine.

     But NECESSARY dependable followingness can not.

     Since the only way a machine can learn about anything is to be the
effect of it, and since it can't prove with certainty that any effect is
caused, it can not know with certainty anything about the cause,
including whether it exists or not.

     Now include the fact that a machine can't even be certain it has
changed state, and thus can't know for sure it has received an effect at
all, let alone that it was caused, and we have proven that a machine
can't be certain of anything.

     Because consciousness CAN be certain of some things, including its
own existence, change in state, time, and agency (cause!), we can safely
conclude that consciousness is not a machine, i.e.  not a system of
parts, learning about cause by looking at effects, across a space/time

     So how then?

     If consciousness can learn about and verify two different colors in
its own mockups with perfect certainty, and it can't be doing this by
mechanical learning, how then is it kearning?

     It is learning by looking at CAUSE, not by looking at effects!

     It is quite possible the mind can only understand mechanical
learning, since the mind was designed to understand the physical
universe of space and time.

     Thus although consciousness can observe itself learning with
perfect certainty if there are two different colors out there, the
mind may not be able to understand the process even while observing it
going on!

     "What?  Something I can see but not understand, and KNOW I am
seeing it, and KNOW I am not understanding it?"


     No one ever promised that God was understandable from the
mechanical point of view.

     That one can see God in operation via perfect certainty is not
lessened by the non comprehension of the mind at this time.

     The non comprehension is yet another perfect certainty.


Homer Wilson Smith     The Paths of Lovers    Art Matrix - Lightlink
(607) 277-0959 KC2ITF        Cross            Internet Access, Ithaca NY    In the Line of Duty

Mon Jan  2 15:38:38 EST 2006