Re: virus: Re: neural nets

David McFadzean (
Sun, 5 Jan 1997 15:25:01 -0700

> From: Alex Williams <>
> Date: Sunday, January 05, 1997 2:00 PM

> Turing machine in the generic sense as opposed to NNets and other such
> non-Turing devices; of course the Pentium (or Alpha) on your desk is a
> Turing machine itself. A Turing machine can simulate a NNet but the
> burden of complexity lies the the other way when NNets try to simulate
> Turing machines.

You seem to be confusing Turing machine with von Neumann machine. The
computer on my desk is not a Turing machine any more than a neural
net is a Turing machine. But a Turing machine can emulate both perfectly.

> > You are using "computation" in a sense I don't recognize. What do
> > you mean by it?
> Computation in the symbolic sense; there isn't symbolic understanding
> or comparison going on inside a NNet structure, some patterns just get
> more weight than others, trickle down through the layers and finally
> render /this/ output pattern. A given NNet isn't a general-purpose
> computing device while a Turing machine is.

There isn't any symbolic understanding or comparison inside a Turing
machine either then. Some patterns cause other patterns to be written
to the tape.

Are you claiming that neural nets can't do computation, or that
computation takes place at a higher level, or something else?

> > I wouldn't think the memes would need to be reorganized in the process
> > of thinking, only act.
> But isn't `thinking' an act, itself, even though its only targets are
> other abstract entities? Are memes that act on other memes alone
> still memes? That's the basic question.

Yes, thinking is an emergent act arising from the interactions of memes,
or more specifically, from beliefs caused by memes. Why wouldn't memes
that act on other memes alone still be memes?

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus