November 27th, 2007

They paved paradise...

Now, that is freaky and more than a little depressing...
pmcray was suggesting that to avoid the Cameron Prime Minstership, I should flee to Sydney with my 3 colleagues who have already gone there (along with the two Australians making up our fine team over there). Whilst Sydney would not be top of my list of places to flee to, I was extolling the virtue of a particular place I saw whilst being shown round by one of the aforementioned colleagues, a bay that I rather liked the look of and jokingly said that I would go there for a year if I could have one of those houses. Rather depressingly it looks very much like the very house is being sold to be redeveloped into something more expensive.
http://www.realestate.com.au/cgi-bin/rsearch?id=104243913&a=qfp&cu=fn-rea&t=res&q=Go

This upsets me much more than it rationally should, given that this wasn't a remotely serious proposition.

Anyway, I am a great believer in 'wherever you go, there you are'. I couldn't even begin to make a list of places I would like to live, I don't really think that way.

Alan, can you pass over another infinitely long paper tape, there's a good chap

We trace from Mr Orlowski's latest post http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/27/guardian_use_me_as_a_mouthpiece/ (pausing briefly to (a) wonder exactly what AO's point is today (b) muse that Ben Goldacre was not exactly bright saying this (c) wondering where he got this email from) to this http://weblog.ceicher.com/archives/2006/01/a_response_to_kevin_marks_anti.html and thence to this paper http://www.engr.uconn.edu/~dqg/papers/myth.pdf ('The Origins of the Turing Thesis Myth'), a not obviously peer-reviewed or published paper.
As I understand it, the argument seems to be Aha! Church-Turing Thesis applies to functions, but interactive systems aren't functions, take that Alan and Alonzo.
Which is one of (a) an attack on a ludicrous straw-man, (b) true but not interesting or (c) quite profound or at any rate slightly sneaky. I am not sure which. Off the top of my head I am surprised that this isn't a popular attack on hard AI.
'You may be appealing to the Church-Turing Thesis, but that refers to mathematical functions. The real world is not clearly quantized in time and space, therefore rather than a function from Z to Z, interacting with the world is a mapping from R, so your thesis is no match for my real numbers and I therefore contend that my wibbly-wobbly brainy-wainy stuff has magic powers. Or at any rate that you can't appeal to that nice Dr. Turing.'
Or am I missing something?
Obviously you could define some sort of Turing machine where bits of the tape get values from the outside world and compare it to a Universal Register Machine with interrupts etc. and prove their equivalence.
Or you could walk the dog.