|Intelligent Systems And Their Societies||Walter Fritz|
Empiricism says, " Experience is the only source of knowledge".
That obviously is quite true. It is through the senses that communications from the outside reach the artificial IS. It is the interpretation of these communications that results in concepts, out of which it makes a description of the present situation. Based on this situation the IS acts and finally stores experiences for future use. Some artificial IS's store an experience as a quadruplet of numbers: the number of the situation (stimulus), the number of the response, the number of the result and the number of the resulting situation. The "result" is a positive number if the response helped to approach the objectives, else it is negative. It corresponds to the pleasure level in humans. There are always many levels of concepts, situations and response rules. Each higher level is composed of elements of the next lower level.
The IS assigns numbers for the situation and partial situation, from 1 on. To each new requirement for a number it assigns the next free number (As you can see the value, the amount of the number does not have any significance). So the question arises: does the IS know its environment? If the question is: "does it know what the environment is?", we would say no; it does not know its environment. If the question is: "does it know how the environment changes?" (those changes that have an impact on the IS), we would say yes; it does. With time it knows so many spatial, temporal and logical relationships between these numbers, that it can partially predict future situations, it knows most of the changes and reactions of the "environment". Please note that these numbers, these concepts, exist inside the IS, within the brain, not within the environment.
So yes, indeed, experience in the form of sensations is the basis, the origin of all further knowledge. The IS can also gain knowledge by sensing symbols, which are special sensations that evoke something, namely words or signs written or said by some other IS. Also here knowledge reaches the IS through its senses. An exception would be the knowledge present at birth in the form of instincts. This is really secondary knowledge; it is knowledge that past generations gained (by evolution, see Darwin) and then passed on, codified as instincts. In the artificial IS, response rules and subroutines for selecting responses that are present when the computer program first starts, correspond to instincts.
So Empiricism is true, experience is the only source of knowledge.
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