Re: The Frame Problem

From: Minnett-Westwood, Della (
Date: Thu Mar 06 1997 - 13:44:36 GMT

> Think about all the things you know.
> 2+2=4
> My name is Christos
> When people yawn it can mean they are tired or bored
> If it's a lecture at 9 in the morning, it could be tiredness or boredom
> If the lecture is in the afternoon and is on statistics, it is more
> likely to be boredom
> And so on, and so on .... you know an awful lot of things.

 How would you go about giving a computer all this
information ... expressing everything in terms of symbols
and rules? How long would it take? Is it the case that
everything you know you were told and just remembered?

> If you were to be told everything you know in the same way
as a symbolic computer needs to be told, would you have
been able to know all the millions of things you know by the
age you are now?

> It seems to me very unlikely that I could have acquired
the knowledge I have now just by being taught millions of
rules. What do others think?

As I understand it, the essence of the Frame problem is that if a
symbolic computer had been programmed to recognise, for instance,
different shapes composed of straight lines, and suddenly it was
presented with a circle, it would "crash" because it could find no
rules in its program for recognition of curves. A human being, on the
other hand, would be able to infer from existing knowledge that the
circle was still a shape, composed of a continuous line, and would
expand their current rules of classification of shapes to encompass the
circle. i.e. the "mind" is malleable by internal mechanisms - a
symbolic computer is externally controlled and therefore incapable of

When we are born, we are able very quickly to start to learn
associations - a person evokes pleasure because of attention given,
whether short or tall, fat or thin. If the mechanisms responsible for
the learning process are internal concepts which are innate - a sort of
pre-programming - then eventually we will be able to produce a computer
which can think in the same manner that we do - but whether it will be
conscious of this is a different question.

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