Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Heinz von foerster

1,166 views

Published on

Published in: Technology, Spiritual
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Heinz von foerster

  1. 1. Heinz Von Foerster Memories of Macy Conferences and foundation of Biological Computer Laboratory
  2. 2. Heinz Von Foerster <ul><li>Studied Physics in Vienna </li></ul><ul><li>Was in contact with the philosophers from Vienna Circle (interest in Wittgenstein) </li></ul><ul><li>Invited to 6th Macy Conference for his Quantum mechanical theory of memory </li></ul>
  3. 3. Macy Conferences <ul><li>interdisciplinary meetings (“hard” and “soft” scientist) </li></ul><ul><li>Topic: system theory and cybernetics (title: Cybernetics - Circular Causal and Feedback Mechanism in Biological and Social Systems) </li></ul>
  4. 4. some of Macy’s participants… <ul><li>Warren McCulloch </li></ul><ul><li>Neuropsychiatrist </li></ul>Margaret Mead / Gregory Bateson Anthropologists Arturo Rosenblueth Physiologist John von Neumann Mathematician started the computer revolution Heinrich Klüver Physiologist Norbert Wiener Mathematician coniated the term “ cybernetics” HvF
  5. 5. HvF’s Quantum mechanical theory of memory <ul><li>How do we forget? </li></ul><ul><li>Elementary content </li></ul><ul><li>of consciousness </li></ul><ul><li>are saved on </li></ul><ul><li>self-destroying </li></ul><ul><li>“ molecules” </li></ul><ul><li>How memory works? </li></ul><ul><li>Feedback loop of </li></ul><ul><li>circular causality </li></ul>Repetition Learning
  6. 6. How to apply mathematics to living sistems? <ul><li>Propositional calculus </li></ul><ul><li>Theory of non-trivial machines </li></ul>
  7. 7. Propositional calculus (formal logic) <ul><li>Deals with true/false sentences </li></ul><ul><li>Uses sign and rules to “calculate” truth of combination of sentences </li></ul>
  8. 8. Neural networks as logical machines <ul><li>McCulloch noticed that nerves have </li></ul><ul><li>an “all-or-none” (binary) response </li></ul><ul><li> A neuron is similar to a logical operator! </li></ul><ul><li>McCulloch built neural networks calculating truth functions </li></ul><ul><li>Von Neumann: so everything that can be described with a finite number of words, could be represented using a neural network. (Birth of AI) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Trivial and non-trivial machines <ul><li>Trivial machine has one inner state; same input = same output </li></ul><ul><li>Non-trivial m. have >1 inner state; they are deterministic (no random) but same input = different output </li></ul><ul><ul><li>history dependent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>unpredictable </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. The universe as non-trivial machine <ul><li>In 18th century’s philosophy, causal linearity leads to the idea that having enough data, it could be possible to predict the future of the world. </li></ul><ul><li>HvF: If we assume that </li></ul><ul><ul><li>men are part of the universe </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>men are non a trivial machine </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>universe is a non trivial machine. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>As Wittgenstein sentenced “We cannot infer the events of the future from those of the present. Belief in the causal nexus is superstition”. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Undecidability as basis of ethics <ul><li>Like non-trivial machines show, many systems are not analyzable (undecidable) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>HvF saw in this undecidability a space of freedom for the man. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>metaphysics (HvF def.): the activity of the man who choose an answer to an undecidable question </li></ul><ul><ul><li>metaphysical postulate: &quot;only those questions that are in principle undecidable, we can decide.“ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ the decidable questions are already decided by the choice of the framework in which they are asked.” (=decision is a cultural problem) </li></ul><ul><li>Freedom + undecidability = responsibility </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethics is possible only if there is freedom (given by undecidability) </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Parallel computation <ul><li>Von Neumann’s sequential computer </li></ul><ul><li>HvF noticed that in living beings operation are processed parallely </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Example: Eye (millions of rod and cone cells) </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Biological Computer Lab <ul><li>In order to work on parallel computation, </li></ul><ul><li>in 1958 at the University of Illinois </li></ul><ul><li>Von Foerster founded </li></ul><ul><li>the Biological Computer Lab. </li></ul>

×