ben on primitives

ben goertzel


Can all Human Concepts Be Reduced to Combinations of a Small Set of Primitives? — some musings on related philosophy and possible AGI engineering work …

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Can All Human Concepts Be Reduced to Combinations of a Few Primitives?

Semantic primes or semantic primitives are a set of semantic concepts that are argued to be innately understood by all people but impossible to express in simpler terms. They represent words or phrases that are learned through practice but cannot be defined concretely. For example, although the meaning of “touching” is readily understood, a dictionary might define “touch” as “to make contact” and “contact” as “touching”, providing no information if neither of these words is understood. The concept of universal semantic primes was largely introduced by Anna Wierzbicka‘s book, Semantics: Primes and Universals... Conceivably, if the dictionary of meaning descriptions of each language was reductively paraphrased in the text of its natural semantic metalanguage, and that natural semantic metalanguage was translated to a common natural semantic metalanguage for all natural languages, it would greatly reduce language barriers.

The notion of reducing all human concepts to combinations of a few “semantic primitives”..t (or a few simple classes of primitive concepts) is one of those things that’s extremely appealing at first and then gets thornier and thornier as one digs in further.. but if such a reduction could be carried out sensibly, it would have a lot of advantages in terms of streamlining CogPrime design, engineering and teaching

i’d say yes.. to essence of humanity to 2.. i’d say.. if we org around those two legit needs.. idiosyncratic jargon ness.. while appearing to go the opposite direction of a few.. does streamline our focus/attention/energies.. so that we can truly be free

which to me .. then means.. knowing ness and language ness and design and engineering and teaching.. become irrelevant s

‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows


1\ undisturbed ecosystem (common\ing) can happen

2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b legit free people

So I thought I’d share here some of the related thoughts that have been swirling around in my head. Many of these have emerged in conversation with Zar Goertzel, whom for better or worse I recently nudged to take a look at David Chalmers’ related book Constructing a Reality that I’ll mention a bit below.

david chalmers – ‘understanding consciousness is real key to understanding universe/selves.. may just take the right crazy idea..‘..t

there’s a nother way.. all the crazy ideas.. everyday

It seems to me that if we take this sort of formalism as a basis, we find that “concepts reduce to combinations of primitives” is basically the same as Bateson’s MetaPattern, “That it is pattern which connects.” ..t.. — Patterns basically being combination operations that , from some perspective, provide a simplified view of the result of the combination…

The pattern which connects is a metapattern.

gregory bateson..

primitives: maté basic needs – the pattern which connects .. that deep

For instance if you define knowledge as “justified true belief”, 

what if we go deep enough.. that we don’t have to define/know

It’s just that the closer you want to get to a totally precise definition, the larger and more messy a formal definition you need.. A consequence of this perspective is that natural, commonsense concepts C are in some sense “open ended.”. This seems much like the idea of a person as possessing a persistent self-identity that exists even as the person ongoingly changes and evolve.. whatever may be comprehended by some supermind that is big enough to contain everything in the series and grok their interrelationships.. t

yeah.. all that.. the it is me.. but i’m never just me.. beyond the monastic self et al..

could say groks it all.. but knowing/comprehending ness .. as intellect ness and naming the colour ness become irrelevant distractions/cancers..

to me .. it’s more about realizing we don’t need to know/intell anything.. we just listen.. everyday anew.. so that our not yet scrambled ness can be restored.. our spontaneity.. our unpredictability/surprise .. et al

These sorts of communication (linguistic, indicative, demonstrative, depictive, intentional) are argued to correspond closely to the types of memory in the human mind, and also to the types of learning humans are good at carrying out.. So one point I want to get across here is: A systematic way to derive a set of primitives for human-like AGI might be to start with the ECP++ and the multiple modes of communication it involves, and look at what primitives are needed to support them.

idiosyncratic jargon.. a means to undo our hierarchical listening

imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch-in-8b-souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to augment our interconnectedness.. we might just get to a more antifragile, healthy, thriving world.. the ecosystem we keep longing for..

what the world needs most is the energy of 8b alive people

Phenomenal truths here are things like what red looks like or what raindrops on the skin fill like. Indexical truths are pointing to things in a shared reality, e.g. “right now” or “that tree over there

i think this all becomes irrelevant if we are legit free.. it’s just that we have no idea what legit free people are like.. so we keep trying to manage/engineer us into free people..