Friday, 22 February 2019

Born to do Math 109 - Three Black Boxes Walk Into A Universe

Born to do Math 109 - Three Black Boxes Walk Into A Universe
Scott Douglas Jacobsen & Rick Rosner
February 22, 2019

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Some concepts or ideas seem basic here. I do not mean simple, but base. The idea of information as a result of the relation between things. 

But also, the basic notion of two points for that interaction to happen and for the exchange of information. But as you're noting months ago, even those two points, say, they're also emergent.

Rick Rosner: Everything is emergent. You need the hardware to register phenomena. I am not well-versed in neural nets. But I can gloss over it. You need things that are capable of keeping score. 

Systems capable to register a wide variety of signals about the outside world. There should be consistencies in the outside world - the world outside of the neural net. You have the sensory apparatus. 

Then you have whatever is impinging on the sensory apparatus, whether something outside the net and inside your head, sensory input from outside, and so on. It can be inside or outside your head. 

Something is capable of keeping score and becoming aware of things that are consistent among the set of all things that impinge on the system or that part of the system. 

Jacobsen: Could this be seen as something like unlinked that are emergent and linked things that are emergent? Things emerge out of the bubbly soup. Those that are linked up. Others simply are taken into the registration of the linked systems.

Rosner: Some of it depends on the apparatus. The apparatus is only capable of registering consistency within its purview.

Jacobsen: What does purview mean in this context? It is that which is possible to be registered in the universe.

Rosner: A purview is a limited number of type of things that can trigger its sensors. It has a limited analytic capacity. Depending on how it is set up, it has a limit to the complexity that it can register as consistent.

That is, a grasshopper has a less sophisticated understanding of the world than a human because the human has more analytic capacity and more sensory capacity. The grasshopper will not be able to register as many consistencies as a human.

Jacobsen: In a sense, does this imply two other concepts? The scope and type of registration. The other is the depth and speed of processing of that scope and type of registration. What can add to it? How can we wrangle this into an IC framework or system for understanding the world? Because this is good.

Rosner: In a general sense, you can argue that a system’s capacity is proportional to the size and power and speed of its hardware. To add to that, it is also proportional to the system’s experience. That as the system adapts itself experientially to the world that it is in.

It will become more powerful at understanding, digesting, and analyzing that world.

Jacobsen: We have these systems that are emergent. The basic framework of the system that is bubbly emergent out of some fuzz.

Rosner: Yes.

Jacobsen: Then we have systems only arising from one of two ways. One is evolved. The other is artificially constructed.

Rosner: Sure.

Jacobsen: Within those two, we have registration with scope and type. Then we have depth and speed and processing.

Rosner: You can divide it into natural and unnatural, and evolved and – call it – forced. Where somebody has already done the analyzing, in our case, when you’re building a video game, at some level, the analysis is being done by evolved creatures who input their accumulated experience and understanding into the system.

Jacobsen: You mean the case with Deep Blue in Chess and AlphaGo with Go.

Rosner: Yes, the understanding and interpretation are now being turned over to machine analytics. You might be able to turn over the behavior of a head of hair.

Jacobsen: Is this part of the decoupling of possible human science to simply aided human science and then catapulting beyond anything normal and natural human science?

Rosner: Yes. Except, there will always be bridges.

Jacobsen: Fair enough.

Rosner: A sufficiently powerful AI. An AI with enough computing capacity behind it – this is probably a general principle – will begin to behave in ways opaque to its constructors. Google Translate has its own metalanguage inside it, known only to the AI itself.

There are examples of Go and Chess. As the AI becomes more powerful, it makes moves that are good but inexplicable to humans. This is no different, really, than human beings inexplicable to other humans.

We are trying to understand one another, whether a true crime novel or a TV show. We are looking at other people and trying to know why they behave the way they behave. If you’re in a relationship or a working relationship, you are looking at a black box.

You are trying to figure out why people are being such fuckheads.

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer
Rick Rosner

According to semi-reputable sources, Rick Rosner has the world’s second-highest IQ. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. He has received 8 Writers Guild Award and Emmy nominations, and was named 2013 North American Genius of the Year by The World Genius Registry.

He has written for Remote Control, Crank Yankers, The Man Show, The Emmys, The Grammys, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He worked as a bouncer, a nude art model, a roller-skating waiter, and a stripper. In a television commercial, Domino’s Pizza named him the "World’s Smartest Man." The commercial was taken off the air after Subway sandwiches issued a cease-and-desist. He was named "Best Bouncer" in the Denver Area, Colorado, by Westwood Magazine.

Rosner spent much of the late Disco Era as an undercover high school student. 25 years as a bar bouncer, American fake ID-catcher, 25+ years as a stripper, and nearly 30 years as a writer for more than 2,500 hours of network television. He came in second or lost on Jeopardy!, sued Who Wants to Be a Millionaire over a flawed question and lost the lawsuit. He won one game and lost one game on Are You Smarter Than a Drunk Person? (He was drunk). He spent 37+ years working on a time invariant variation on the Big Bang Theory. 

Currently, Rosner sits tweeting in a bathrobe (winter) or a towel (summer). He lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife, dog, and goldfish. He and his wife have a daughter. You can send him or questions at LanceversusRick@Gmail.Com, or a direct message via Twitter, or find him on LinkedIn, or see him on YouTube.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
In-Sight Publishing

(Updated September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott:, Scott.Jacobsen@TrustedClothes.Com, Scott@ConatusNews.Com,, Scott@Karmik.Ca, or SJacobsen@AlmasJiwaniFoundation.Org.

He is a Moral Courage Webmaster and Outreach Specialist (Fall, 2016) at the UCI Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality (Ethics Center), Interview Columnist for Conatus News, Writer and Executive Administrator for Trusted Clothes, Interview Columnist for Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), Chair of Social Media for the Almas Jiwani Foundation, Councillor for the Athabasca University Student Union, Member of the Learning Analytics Research Group, writer for The Voice MagazineYour Political Party of BCProBCMarijuana Party of CanadaFresh Start Recovery CentreHarvest House Ministries, and Little Footprints Big Steps International Development Organization, Editor and Proofreader for Alfred Yi Zhang Photography, Community Journalist/Blogger for Gordon Neighbourhood House, Member-at-Large, Member of the Outreach Committee, the Finance & Fundraising Committee, and the Special Projects & Political Advocacy Committee, and Writer for Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Member of the Lifespan Cognition Psychology Lab and IMAGe Psychology Lab, Collaborator with Dr. Farhad Dastur in creation of the CriticalThinkingWiki, Board Member, and Foundation Volunteer Committee Member for the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation, and Independent Landscaper.

He was a Francisco Ayala Scholar at the UCI Ethics Center, Member of the Psychometric Society Graduate Student Committee, Special Advisor and Writer for ECOSOC at NWMUN, Writer for TransplantFirstAcademy and ProActive Path, Member of AT-CURA Psychology Lab, Contributor for a student policy review, Vice President of Outreach for the Almas Jiwani Foundation, worked with Manahel Thabet on numerous initiatives, Student Member of the Ad–Hoc Executive Compensation Review Committee for the Athabasca University Student Union, Volunteer and Writer for British Columbia Psychological Association, Community Member of the KPU Choir (even performed with them alongside the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra), Delegate at Harvard World MUN, NWMUN, UBC MUN, and Long Beach Intercollegiate MUN, and Writer and Member of the Communications Committee for The PIPE UP Network.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.


[1] Four format points for the session article:
  1. Bold text following “Scott Douglas Jacobsen:” or “Jacobsen:” is Scott Douglas Jacobsen & non-bold text following “Rick Rosner:” or “Rosner:” is Rick Rosner. 
  2. Session article conducted, transcribed, edited, formatted, and published by Scott. 
  3. Footnotes & in-text citations in the interview & references after the interview. 
  4. This session article has been edited for clarity and readability. 
For further information on the formatting guidelines incorporated into this document, please see the following documents:
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  2. Humble, A. (n.d.). Guide to Transcribing. Retrieved from
License and Copyright


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at and


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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