Selection of the week

It has been a rather tragic week around the world.  Here is the incomparable Herbert von Karajan conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Vienna Singverein in a 1986 rendition of Mozart’s Requiem.

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2 thoughts on “Selection of the week

  1. Wonderful piece. Just wondering: do you think “Mozart writing the requiem” is computable and will be one of the jobs robots do better than humans some day? Or Karajan directing it? Or terrorists deciding to do their awful deeds, for that matter? Not the action itself, but the decision.

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  2. @jonah That is a great question. I happen to sit on the strong AI side of the fence and believe that all mental functions are computable. However, that also means that what decisions brains make are subject to the limits of computation and thus there does not exist any other sort of computation that can systematically predict what any person will decide. Humans probably use some sort of approximate Bayesian inference scheme that is strongly prior driven. We can thus make statistical models of what people will do but they can never be perfect. In terms of art, for the short term I think there will soon be a machine learning program that reads in all previously composed music as inputs and then outputs interpolated music. However, this will not produce truly original music like Bach or Mozart in their days since there is a lot of prior information about what it means to be human that goes into art. Thus I think a computer could write something as beautiful and original as the Requiem but it may have to live or simulate something like a human life first.

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