# computerised random number generation & infinity

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by RainbowSingularity, Oct 18, 2018.

1. ### RainbowSingularityValued Senior Member

Messages:
7,447
?
do computers have an infinite range of numbers to choose from when creating a random number ?
does this effect artificial intlligence design ?

3. ### BowserNamasteValued Senior Member

Messages:
8,828
Would AI require a limited range from which to choose. Back from my days of C and C++, I remember a function built in for generating random numbers. I can't imagine how that would facilitate AI?

#include <cstdlib>
int rand();

5. ### RainbowSingularityValued Senior Member

Messages:
7,447
Re-active Vs Active

does AI only act as a reactionary process or following a pre determined path ?
Does human interaction only rely on interactive reactions for probabilistic functioning ?(etc...)

7. ### Michael 345New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldlValued Senior Member

Messages:
13,077
Infinite range, I would say NO

If nothing else the memory capacity of the computer could not contain infinite numbers

Plus access to infinite numbers would result in a very slow computer

does this effect artificial intlligence design

Well since I have ruled out access to infinite numbers the design part is moot

Human brains can be considered as having access to infinite numbers BUT only by continuing to add 1 to the largest number thinkable

Even then processing as such would not reach infinity before the entity dies

8. ### DaveC426913Valued Senior Member

Messages:
18,959
1]
Computers create random numbers using an algorithm.
One of the inputs for the algorithm will be the upper bound.
It can be no larger than the largest number the computer can store as a single number.
That may or may not be limited to the size of the register (memory unit - these days I think they're still 64-bits, but they could be larger). There's no reason, in principle at least, why an upper bound number could not be stored across larger units of memory, thus being so large as to take up a significant portion of the computer's memory.

2]
Random number generation typically generates a fraction between zero and one, which is then multiplied by the range to get the final number.
So, in this case, it is the fraction (precision of the floating point fraction) that will be limited by the computer's memory.

3]
Supercomputers will have more precision (more bits per register), but naturally, a computer does not have an infinite amount of room.

4] Such large numbers have a diminishing point of return. If it takes minutes, hours or days to generate such a number, its usefulness is lost. Usually, you want a number that is just random enough.

Why would an AI need to have a particularly huge random number?
Pseudo-random numbers usually serve well enough for virtually any possible application.

What makes AI smart is the number of parameters they can juggle. If it can juggle, say, 10,000 parameters in a problem (say, driving a car), it's going to be darned smart.

Last edited: Oct 18, 2018
sideshowbob likes this.
9. ### TheFroggerBannedValued Senior Member

Messages:
2,175
If each person is assigned a number, say the first digit of their first National Insurance number, or their position in buying the program they are using, then any formula produces a random number that will be randomly specific to each person.

Messages:
18,959
False.

11. ### TheFroggerBannedValued Senior Member

Messages:
2,175
The statement by myself is fundamentally false. (n+1)-(n-1)=2. It is not a random number. It always equals two. ☺

RainbowSingularity likes this.
12. ### TheFroggerBannedValued Senior Member

Messages:
2,175
[Duplicate post.]

13. ### DinosaurRational SkepticValued Senior Member

Messages:
4,885
Computers generate what are called pseudo random numbers because they are predictable while various physical processes generate truly random numbers.

There are many such generators because random numbers is not a well defined term. The better programming languages provide 10 or more pseudo random number generators to provide for simulation of various physical processes.

It should be noted that the term random is not well defined in the absence of a well described process. Consider the term random chord of a circle and consider its length compared to the length of an inscribed equilateral triangle. Such a chord could be generated by one of the following processes.

Choose a random spot in the circle as the center of of the chord. A the spot in inside a circle inscribed in the triangle & touching all three sides results in a probability of 1/4.

Spin a long line around an apex point of the triangle. 1/3 of the time, the chord would be longer than the side of the triangle. Note that a 180 degree spin would not create a chord, but this is one of an infinite number of possible spins &does not effect the probability.

Draw a diameter of the circle with one end on an apex of the triangle & pick a random point on that diameter to be the center of a chord perpendicular to that diameter. I think this results in a probability of 1/2.

14. ### RainbowSingularityValued Senior Member

Messages:
7,447
i was waiting to see if you were going to make a joke or suggest a theory around quantum positioning

15. ### RainbowSingularityValued Senior Member

Messages:
7,447
exponential variants to a finite closed range

if you chose a spot inside a circle then triangulated it and then used the triangulation degrees numbers as a colaborative formula to give a result, that seems more functional.

16. ### SpeakpigeonValued Senior Member

Messages:
1,123
Good question.
As it is, a random number can only be chosen randomly from a given range of numbers and the range is not itself random and it won't contain an infinity of numbers.
Here, we would need instead to have an infinite range of numbers to choose from, and we would therefore need to be able to somehow represent an infinite range of numbers, and not just in the abstract by writing (0, ∞). An interval of Real numbers, say [0, 1], contains an infinite number of Reals, so that's a start, but that's also a theoretical abstraction, something which is not good enough for computers. Computers don't have any representation of this infinity that they could use to pick a number from. Typically, a computer can only represent numbers between 0 and 1 that have a decimal part with a given and finite number of positions, which will only represent a finite number of Reals.
I think you could go beyond this limitation by using a recursive algorithm. You could generate random numbers that would be arbitrarily large. However, I think that in this case, the larger the number, the longer the time to produce it and you end up selecting numbers that are not at all random in an infinite range, but random within the range that your computer can handle within a reasonable amount of time, which is presumably a finite amount of time, producing a finite range of numbers to choose from.
So, I think computers don't have any infinite range of numbers to choose from for creating random numbers.
In theory, if real space is continuous, picking a particular point in space could produce a random number from an infinite range. However, the range from which this number would be so obtained would be limited by the precision of the measure, so that you would also end up with a finite number of measures to pick from.
Brains, however, are similarly limited and for broadly the same reasons. So, while this limitation will apply to all AI systems, it applies to them no more so than it applies to the human brain. So, this is a factor to take account of but not one that would limit AI relative to human intelligence.
EB

RainbowSingularity likes this.
17. ### TheFroggerBannedValued Senior Member

Messages:
2,175

This is tantamount to...

1-(1÷2)
1-(1÷4)
1-(1÷8)
...

It produces infinitely small numbers which a computer rounds to one after thirty-five tries.

18. ### RainbowSingularityValued Senior Member

Messages:
7,447
Fabulous post, thank you for your thoughts.
i like your correlation of human limitations to AI limitations.
The idea of AI being unboundingly better than human limitations does seem somewhat foolhardy to me when people start to theorhetically postulate concepts of variant environmental task sharing.
The nature of why & what we think and how we manifest that seems to be a concept of "reals" as you put it.
There seems to be a somewhat superficially postulated concept of rivalry between AI independant creativity ability & human emotional manifestion of environmentals to form random functions in a live natured concept of "real life" Vs "Artificial Life".
Knowing this is a bit of a touchy and tricky subject to discuss i have generaly avoided it.
It did seem with quantum computers on our door steps that the idea of life immitaton via random number generation may be difficult to quantify in variance to true human intellect. however, you raise the excellent reality of personality by its nature of known limitations to variant ability and function.
to err is AI
to find divinity is human
...per-say

19. ### TheFroggerBannedValued Senior Member

Messages:
2,175
Computer technology will never hold-up to the capacity of the human mind. ☺

Do you want to kiss infinity goodbye? ☺

Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
20. ### Michael 345New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldlValued Senior Member

Messages:
13,077
Don't think capacity is problem if you consider the WWW as a computer

Problem I see is with the minds ability to make Eureka moments without knowing how it was done

sideshowbob likes this.
21. ### TheFroggerBannedValued Senior Member

Messages:
2,175
Yeah that is a problem.

Do you want to know what infinity sounds like? Why not put a microphone to the speaker? What does infinity look like? Why not film what you're viewing? (Other people's ideas.)

Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
22. ### SpeakpigeonValued Senior Member

Messages:
1,123
Sorry, I can make sense of even one sentence in there.
That bit sort of makes sense but it seems clear to me you're wrong. The human brain is the result of a natural process, both the gestation process for each individual brain and the process of Darwinian evolution for the human species' brain. I don't know how one gets to believe there's any divinity in that. Humans seem to be very nearly universal "machines" but make plenty of errors in a way which is very difficult to prevent. AI has its limitations but it outperforms the human brain in a large number of situations. Computers are essentially used on repetitive and narrowly defined tasks but they make very, very few errors and are often less costly so that it has become preferable in a large number of situations to use computers instead of human workers, and this is becoming true now of certain activities requiring high-level expertise, like recognising particular diseases from medical imagery. The only reason perhaps that the brain won't become completely obsolete is that its energy consumption is very low compared to a computer. But I wouldn't count on that yet.
If there's any divinity in us, you better start to use it.
EB

23. ### DaveC426913Valued Senior Member

Messages:
18,959
Why are you even here?