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Philosophy, Machines, and AI
Is philosophy undergoing a radical transformation? In recent times, this question has been very popular, especially after the radical development of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Does this radical development and application of this knowledge in machine learning and artificial intelligence trigger a radical transformation of traditional philosophy?
What is philosophy ?
The discipline concerned with questions of how to live (ethics); what kinds of things exist and what are their essential natures (metaphysical); what counts as true knowledge (epistemology); and what are the good principles of reasoning (logic)?Wikipedia
Some definitions :
An inquiry into the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods (Dictionary of American Heritage).
The study of the ultimate nature of existence, reality, knowledge and goodness, as it can be discovered by human reasoning (penguin english dictionary).
The rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics (WordNet).
The search for knowledge and truth, especially on the nature of man, his behavior and his beliefs (Kernerman Multilingual English Dictionary).
The rational and critical inquiry into the basic principles (Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia).
The study of the most general and most abstract features of the world, the foundations of human knowledge and the evaluation of human conduct (The pages of philosophy).
If we look at the definitions, we can find that the most underlying principle of philosophy is questioning. The question of what is life? How should we live? What kinds of things exist and what are their natures? What are good principles of reasoning? What are the principles of reality, knowledge or values?
Finding the answers or solutions to questions or problems by applying the principles of reasoning is the goal of philosophy. In short, to seek knowledge and truth. Research does not necessarily lead to the discovery of truth. However, the process used to find the truth is more important. History tells us that the wisdom of humans (the body of knowledge and experience that develops within a specific society or period) has changed and changed continuously. Humans are in search of wisdom (the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight)
Blind beliefs are the biggest obstacles that stop our thinking process. Philosophers question these blind beliefs or rather question all beliefs. They are skeptical of everything. In fact, this is one of the philosophical methods (methodical doubt) that they use to discover the truth. Philosophizing begins with a simple doubt about accepted beliefs. They apply methodical doubt and knowledge to test the functional, dysfunctional, or destructive nature of an accepted and dominant belief in a society. Wait a minute! We have a problem that needs to be fixed first. When we say “knowledge,” it does not necessarily lead us to the truth of the conclusion they come to. Existing knowledge is not complete. Therefore, there is a possibility of error in conclusion. A conclusion can be valid, but it need not be a truth. With the introduction of an additional premise or the removal of an existing premise, the nature of the conclusion will undergo a change.
Other common obstacles to logical and critical thinking are a) confirmation bias, b) framing effects, c) heuristics, and d) common errors such as relevance errors, Red Herring error, l Strawman error, Ad Hominem error, fallacious appeal (to authority), fallacy of composition, fallacy of division, ambiguity, appeal to popularity, appeal to tradition, appeal to ignorance, appeal to emotion , question begging, false dilemma, decision point fallacy, slippery slope fallacy, hasty generalizations, mistaken analogies, and the fallacy of the fallacy. And we can add the two formal errors a) affirming the consequent, b) denying the antecedent.
We humans make mistakes. It is often said that to err is in human nature. Having known the myriad of logical argument errors, we have developed some methods or patterns to avoid such errors. Philosophical methods are our toolbox which, when employed, reduces our errors.
Besides these hurdles, we have some other human limitations such as limitation in long-term and short-term memory capacity and limitation in our sensory capacity. All these limitations are obstacles to our philosophy. Therefore, we make mistakes knowingly and unknowingly. However, we have never ceased our efforts to become the best species on earth.
On the other hand, machines, while not the perfect species, can avoid certain human limitations while performing philosophy. If given two propositions with logical support, they can deduce a perfect conclusion. However, if given randomly chosen propositions, will they be able to choose the right propositions that logically support the conclusion? It depends on the algorithm we pass to the machine. But then, we are not perfect. We have not yet fully understood how the human brain works. The main purpose of using a machine to philosophize is to avoid mistakes. The machine could imitate human errors, a humiliating human characteristic that we were very keen to avoid.
One approach is to allow the machine to learn to think and make decisions on its own. In the process, the machine may be able to develop its own brain which can surpass the capacity and capacity of the human brain. It could be a possibility. This approach is already being tested.
Human wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, collective experience, understanding, common sense and insight. Will the machine be able to reach and surpass human wisdom?
The machine can be fed by the knowledge accumulated by humans. However, the challenge is how the machine will capture the right knowledge for a good claim. The machine has no experience of human life. It’s actually a blessing in disguise. If we transmit all our experiences to the machine, it will be just a simple cocktail of different beliefs and ideas and for the most part diametrically opposed to each other. The best thing to do is to provide as little information as possible and leave the rest to the machine to get the first-hand experience with humans. This means that the machine will live with human beings and interact with humans so that they develop knowledge of human behavior and hopefully other human characteristics such as emotional understanding, common sense, etc.
Most likely, philosophical methods that include reasoning rules for drawing correct conclusions will be very helpful to the machine. He can make decisions without the logical mistakes we knowingly and unknowingly make. Such a machine could really be extremely useful to humans, especially as a guide or guard who can operate without succumbing to emotions and prejudices.
Besides philosophical methods, the machine can also be fed sensory superpowers without which human intelligence is limited. Humans might take longer to develop such built-in additional sensory powers. Such a machine would be a marvelous work of art.
It is therefore philosophical methods that will transform the nature of machines rather than machines triggering a radical transformation of philosophizing. Machines would help humans draw the right conclusions. The machines would pick up the right guesses from the huge data and provide us with a valid conclusion, which is a tedious and time-consuming task for humans. Machines can work continuously without getting bored unless they develop their own human emotions. Hope, machines understand human emotions and at the same time have no emotions.
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