Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them. - Laurence J. Peter

Monday, December 22, 2008

Three narratives about entrepreneurial motivation

Narrative One: entrepreneurs are motivated by financial incentives. Reduced regulation and reduced taxes can increase entrepreneurship.

Have you seen this editorial in the Wall Street Journal about the decline of entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley?
According to the National Venture Capital Association, in all of 2008 there have been just six companies that have gone public. Compare that with 269 IPOs in 1999, 272 in 1996, and 365 in 1986.

Michael S. Malone says that Washington is killing entrepreneurship with capital gains taxes and regulation such as Sarbanes-Oxley. The mechanism is that Sarbanes-Oxley makes the overhead of IPOs much more expensive, which reduces the incentive for entrepreneurs to start companies because the likely gains are lower, and reduces available VC capital for the same reason.

There were some supporting anecdotes from the discussion on Hacker News. From ohhmaagawd:
I know a CEO of an Internet company that planned on doing an IPO in 2008. Of course the economy tanked so it's not happening.

He told me that SOX required the company to have auditing/traceability and controls for everything. This meant they quit using any software as a service applications, they shut down IM, they have to keep track of everything on every machine, banned a whole list of applications that would interfere with SOX (iTunes, file sharing, and music app), etc.

They had to hire lawyers, more accountants, consulting firms. He told me they were looking at > 10m to comply. And that doesn't count lost productivity of having to act like a draconian big ass company where they had to have design docs for everything they do, detailed project plans, get rid of the tools they use (as listed above), etc.

In other words to go IPO now you give up agility, spend more money, and become less productive.

From russell:
I worked for a company a couple of years ago that was planning to public in a year or two. The CEO told us that complying with SOX would cost $3 million for the IPO and over $1 million per year after that. That's a huge burden for a company with revenues of $35 million at the time. I have read that it is now $5 million for an IPO and that no company with revenues under $100 million can afford to be public.

Narrative Two: entrepreneurs are not primarily motivated by financial incentives; they are driven by the joy of making a difference and creating value. Encouragement from national leaders can increase entrepreneurship.

In The Cure To Our Economic Problems, Mark Cuban (billionaire entrepreneur) says that financial incentives aren't as important as some people think:
Entrepreneurs who create something out of nothing don’t care what tax rates are. Bill Gates didn’t monitor the marginal tax rate when he dropped out of Harvard and started MicroSoft (btw, it was a ton higher than it is today). Michael Dell didn’t wonder what the capital gains tax was when he started PC’s Limited, and then grew it into Dell Computer. I doubt that any great business or invention started with a discussion or even a consideration of what the current or projected income or capital gains tax was or would be.

The impact of tax rates on productivity and development is something economists masterbate about, enterpreneurs don’t waste their time thinking about it. We have business to do.
Entrepreneurs live for the juice of making their dreams come true. Of having a vision and fighting to see it come true. The joy of mission accomplished and the scoreboard of the financial rewards.

The solution?
The cure to our economic problems is the Entrepreneurial Spirit of All Americans. Instead of bitching at each other, could one Presidential candidate please show even the least bit of leadership and character and stand up for and encourage the entrepreneurs in this country ?
What we need is our candidates to stop yelling at each other and starting looking at the American people and encouraging the best of who we are. That is who I want to get behind. That is what I would like to see for our country. That is what will energize and motivate people to create companies and invent products that will turn the economy.

That's a bit vague, but he's a billionaire and I'm not, so who are you going to listen to?

Narrative Three: Entrepreneurs are held back by concerns about health care. Universal health care can increase entrepreneurship.

Universal health care, it is argued, would encourage entrepreneurs in America, because:
-People who get health insurance through employment (which is nearly everyone) are reluctant to leave their job to start a business because they'd lose their health insurance and would pay a much higher rate for private insurance.
-People fear the cost of having to organize health care for their employees.

Morgan Wilkins argues:
Universal access to health care would not only increase individual liberty and alleviate wasteful spending, but would also increase entrepreneurial activity – another value central to conservative thinking. Many entrepreneurs are discouraged from embarking on their new business venture by fears about the high cost of providing employers with health insurance. Small business employers are then forced to make tough decisions about whether to absorb the high costs, pass them on to employees, or not offer benefits at all. A universal health care system would eliminate these concerns and encourage hesitant entrepreneurs to test their innovations and ideas.

Or Daniel Brook:
America acts as if all is well when in fact we’re one of the only developed countries with a rate of self-employment even lower than France’s. While surveys show that Americans are nearly twice as entrepreneurial as Europeans, we’re only half as likely to actually become self-employed.

What is holding Americans back? In two words: health care.
In other developed countries, where self-employment rates tend to be higher, taking the leap to working for yourself doesn’t affect your health care coverage or your family’s. In publicly funded health care systems, entrepreneurs pay less into the system during the few lean years that often accompany starting a business. Once you get off the ground, you pay more. That benefits the country’s health and its economy.

I did see a study about this though.
Some commentators have suggested that the absence of portable health insurance impedes people from leaving their jobs to start new firms. We investigate this belief by comparing wage-earners who become self-employed during a given period of time with their counterparts who do not. By examining the impact of variables relating to the health insurance and health status of these workers and their families, we can infer whether the lack of health insurance portability affects the probability that they become self-employed. The evidence does not support the conjecture that the current health insurance system affects the propensity to become self-employed. Hence, whatever its other merits, there is no reason to believe that the introduction of universal health insurance would significantly enhance entrepreneurial activity.

But it's just one study. You could apply motivated stopping or motivated skepticism at this point, if you want to.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Suit's eye for the geek guy

There's some animosity between "geeks" and "suits". Or at least, geeks think there's animosity, but suits might be too busy making money and talking to girls to notice. But from my custom-built Amiga in my parent's basement, I rage! Someday we will rise up to protest our corporate overlords...and sit back down, breathing heavily.

The culture of my people is filled with tales of the malfeasance of the suits. Take what happened to poor Philip Greenspun, for example. Who in telling such a tale - even if one of the laywers or Greylock VCs or a colleague of the incompetent Allen Shaheen - could refrain from tears? The VCs took a growing, profitable, widely-respected company and burnt it down.

I usually take the geek's approach to dressing, which is to say I begin putting on clothes while reading Hacker News in the morning, and stop putting on clothes when all the usual body parts are obscured, and check that my underwear is inside my pants. Suits, on the other hand - well, there's a reason they call them suits. So that's one source of tension between geeks and suits.

Paul Graham explains:
If you’re a nerd, you can understand how important clothes are by asking yourself how you’d feel about a company that made you wear a suit and tie to work. The idea sounds horrible, doesn’t it? In fact, horrible far out of proportion to the mere discomfort of wearing such clothes. A company that made programmers wear suits would have something deeply wrong with it.

And what would be wrong would be that how one presented oneself counted more than the quality of one’s ideas. That’s the problem with formality. Dressing up is not so much bad in itself. The problem is the receptor it binds to: dressing up is inevitably a substitute for good ideas. It is no coincidence that technically inept business types are known as “suits.”

Nerds don’t just happen to dress informally. They do it too consistently. Consciously or not, they dress informally as a prophylactic measure against stupidity.
The definition of a nerd [is] someone who doesn't expend any effort on marketing himself. A nerd, in other words, is someone who concentrates on substance.

One reason a geek wouldn't want to dress like a suit is that geeks might be tempted to distrust a well-dressed geek. Does this guy spend his evenings contributing to open-source projects, or does he spend them reading GQ and shopping like a normal, well-adjusted person? Are these fancy clothes meant to distract you from his weak code? Is he dressing to impress because he can't impress in a way that's actually useful?

But unless a geek works at Google, he'll need to impress non-geeks. Girls, for example. And it can affect real-world performance too. The startup I'm working with might want to sell one day; suppose I were doing a technical presentation to VCs and my cufflinks didn't match my shoelaces. We could lose the deal! So I've been persuaded that a light interest in fashion wouldn't be a bad thing to maintain. Time to read up on this on the internet, then.

I thought it might be edifying to do Google image searches on well-known suits and geeks. Does the reality match the theory? I've tried to pick representative images below.

The suits
Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, who took control of the company in 1981 when it was worth $14 billion, and left it valued at $410 billion in 2004.

Warren Buffett, widely considered the world's best investor, has made about $50 billion through shrewd investments, and given most of that to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Li Ka-shing, richest man in Hong Kong and one of Asia's most generous philanthropists.

The geeks
Richard Stallman, founder of the GNU Project for a free Unix-like operating system, and founder of the Free Software Foundation.

Donald Knuth, maybe the most famous living computer scientist.

Linus Torvalds, original developer and still the maintainer of the Linux kernel.

What about Bill Gates? He's a suit AND a geek. A crossover hit! No wonder he's so rich.

A sweater over a shirt - nice compromise.

My suit friends have embarked on an ongoing makeover project for me, their Barbie Geek. They advise that I burn my old wardrobe. I'm not entirely comfortable with this plan.

Math is hard, let's go shopping!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Public drunkenness vs. libertarianism

One huge difference between Taiwan and the United Kingdom is the drinking culture. Drinking is of course common in Taiwan, as it is in United Kingdom. In some ways drinking is more embedded in Taiwanese culture - they have elaborate drinking games, some of which require dice and other equipment, which you can find at any bar.

But maybe the English just play different drinking games. Because I've never seen a pool of vomit on a Taiwanese street, or a fight*, or a screaming match, or even a smashed bottle. The worst I've encountered are some inconsiderately loud young guys, who had probably just finished exams, at a nearby restaurant table. And this while the ubiquitous 7-11s sell alcohol at all hours of the day, including hard spirits, for under half the price you'll find in England.

Something is different. What is it, exactly, and why? It isn't availability of alcohol; as I said, Taiwanese alcohol is cheaper and is available 24 hours a day less than a block from your apartment.

Theodore Dalrymple is understandably upset about social decline in Britain:
That the British are now a nation of drunken brutes, justly despised throughout the world wherever they congregate in any numbers, is so obvious a fact that it should require no repetition. A brief visit to the centre of any British town or city on a Saturday night - or indeed, almost any night - will confirm it for those who are still in doubt. There they will see scenes of charmless vulgarity, in which thousands of scantily clad, lumpen sluts scream drunkenly, and men vomit proudly in the gutters.
The deeper problem lies in the fact that much of our population believes not only that it has no duty to control itself, but also that it is actually harmful to try to do so. It believes that ''letting its hair down'' - that is to say screaming, smashing bottles, vomiting, urinating against walls in full view of others, swaying drunkenly in the gutter, hailing complete strangers to give them lifts, and so forth - is essential to its health and emotional well-being: that drinking in this fashion is a kind of Aristotelian catharsis, formerly achieved by watching the plays of Aeschylus and Sophocles.

Dalrymple's proposed solution, if I understand him correctly, is to enforce laws against public drunkenness:
Our problem is that we have no will to enforce [laws against public drunkenness]. It is, of course, impractical to arrest two or three million people every night, as theoretically should happen if our laws were to be obeyed; but it is not necessary. There are municipalities that do enforce by-laws against drinking in the streets and public drunkenness, and they are free of debauchery and violence.

I'm not a huge fan of laws against public drunkenness. After all, the problem is not the drunkenness; it's the fights, vomit and noise. Taiwanese drunks are saintly compared to English drunks.

Would it work, though? I'm sure it would, if the police had the will and the manpower. They pacified Iraq, so pacifying some unruly football hooligans should be easy. Would it be right? I've been publically drunk. Being drunk is not harmful. Things that aren't harmful, I propose, shouldn't be illegal.

But freedom is not the highest value. Sometimes, if the problem is sufficiently severe, we must be pragmatic and do what works. In Baghdad in 2007, Shia and Sunni neighborhoods waged civil war on one another. One solution was to severely restrict freedom of movement. From the New York Times, April 20, 2007:
American military commanders in Baghdad are trying a radical new strategy to quell the widening sectarian violence by building a 12-foot-high, three-mile-long wall separating a historic Sunni enclave from Shiite neighborhoods.

Soldiers in the Adhamiya district of northern Baghdad, a Sunni Arab stronghold, began construction of the wall last week and expect to finish it within a month. Iraqi Army soldiers would then control movement through a few checkpoints. The wall has already drawn intense criticism from residents of the neighborhood, who say that it will increase sectarian tensions and that it is part of a plan by the Shiite-led Iraqi government to box in the minority Sunnis.

A doctor in Adhamiya, Abu Hassan, said the wall would transform the residents into caged animals.

“It’s unbelievable that they treat us in such an inhumane manner,” he said in a telephone interview. “They’re trying to isolate us from other parts of Baghdad. The hatred will be much greater between the two sects.”

“The Native Americans were treated better than us,” he added.

The American military said in a written statement that “the wall is one of the centerpieces of a new strategy by coalition and Iraqi forces to break the cycle of sectarian violence.”

I guess it worked. Violence in Iraq is way, way down, and now they're removing the barriers. Michael Yon reports:
Installing the miles of ugly concrete barriers was like patching up the internal bleeding of Baghdad – the heart of Iraq. The barriers did not “solve” the problem any more than a bandage cures a bullet wound, yet bandages saved lives. Removing these concrete barriers will be like removing the bandages to allow real healing to take place. We are only starting now, and it may take years before they are all gone.

I'm glad I don't have to make that kind of decision, but I'm glad the barriers were erected. Having abandoned libertarian principles, where does that leave me?

Well, it could leave me in the very defensible position that I'm willing to abandon libertarian principles during a civil war. And I could say: the level of disorder in the United Kingdom is not sufficient to suspend the freedom to be drunk in public, a freedom I and millions of others have enjoyed and not abused. The disorder in the United Kingdom kills and injures people, and imposes significant costs on society, but the freedom to be drunk in public (and the cost of the probable implementation of banning it - breath-testing of pedestrians, for example) matters more.

I'm not completely satisfied with that answer. I'm so happy to be in Taiwan rather than England. The difference between the barbaric nightlife in England and that in Taiwan is stark. So to one who proposes a solution that I agree would work, and who is staying in England rather than leaving, I'd be sheepish in suggesting he stay at home between the hours of 9pm and 6am.

But the universe does not owe us clean, easy solutions to every problem. Freedom is at least a great heuristic.

*I've never witnessed a fight in Taiwan, but I did hear of one particularly brutal assault in which a friend of a friend was hospitalized last month. The victim and the attackers were all white, and were all drunk. White people have a certain, somewhat deserved, reputation in Taiwan.

Added: It turns out I've been a little too kind to Taiwan; apparently I just wasn't looking for trouble in the right (wrong?) places. You can indeed find pools of vomit if you know where to look. Street violence is still near-non-existent though.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

A prison story from reddit

grey666 reports:
5 and half months federal time for my ex-gf using my cell phone to make a drug deal. Key West was bad - real bad. Bunch of black dudes sitting around talking about how many people they had raped and killed.

Miami was the best, great food and chicks standing outside every night showing us their tits. The councilor never came... so no phone calls for me. Bank robbers and drug dealers in Miami - and every single one of them would give you the shirt off their back.

Atlanta was the worst... no matress, no pillow, no cup... four guys in a cell, sleeping on the cold concrete and 12 TB tests. A small box of cereal and a milk for breakfast, crackers for lunch, and I couldn't figure out what dinner was. I didn't eat it. Guys yelling and screaming all night... nobody goes to the infirmary at night in Atlanta, no matter what the problem is.

Then I had a 16 hour diesel shuffle flight from Atlanta to Oklahoma City by way of New York. No food, no drink, feet and hands shackled to the chair the entire time. No restroom breaks, if you had to piss they made you piss in your pants and then sit in it for 12 hours. The guy beside me wasn't happy about that. The Marshals would hit people on the collar bone with a flashlight for talking. One guy started yelling and screaming - they took him off in New Jersey and drug him across the run-way by his ankle shackles.

Oklahoma City - had to trade my breakfast for a cigarette every day. Food was good, otherwise and we had a basketball court for 30 minutes every day.

Denver sucked bad. Real bad. Some crazy dude walking around naked every day with soars and puss all over his body. 60% of the inmates only spoke spanish. Crips and bloods... those cats fight hard. Three guys with positive TB tests were walking around for three weeks before they took em out. Had to trade food for everything - a toothbrush costs you your chicken, shampoo costs three chicken pieces. Shower shoes cost breakfast for a week.

If you don't give the laundry guys your chicken, they die your towel, underwear and jumpsuit pink which is a flag for everyone to beat the shit out of you.

When they have something like ribs... half the guys go through the line three times and take the food to their cells, so 2/3 of the inmates don't get to eat. The minimum security guys take the dessert half of the time, and they are too lazy to ever bring soup or anything like that.

There is no protective custody anymore - they put you in a small cell with two or three other guys - I hear they are the crazy ones.

I was in there with several cold-blooded murderers. If you rat on someone they send notes through the legal library to the other areas and you get jacked. Some of the guys in there are doing life, and they just don't give a fuck.

The law library was especially nice... all the pages are gone for all the major crimes. You have to pay for everything.

They give you 12 cents per hour for working, and you can only work four hours a day.

If your attorney's number is not registered, you can only call him or her through the councilor, who comes in once or twice a week for two hours. The line is long, and unless your in the first ten, you don't get phone calls.

You can't call anyone who is not on your phone list, and you can't leave messages on answering machines.

If you write a letter and the envelope isn't just perfect, they hold it for a month before giving it back to you.

It took 45 days for them to put money on my account for commissary. Then another two weeks to actually get commissary.

I didn't get a phone call or commissary for three and a half months.

Out of 60,000 pages in my discovery, they gave me 13 pages. I had to trade my chicken to other guys who were also on my case so that I could read their discovery.

I didn't find out what the exact charges were against me until my bond hearing four months into it. They called my brother from the court room to ask if I could stay with him and he said "yea, for awhile...", so they denied my PR bond and took me back for another month and a half.

I had to file a motion with the court to get my discovery from my public defender. All the guys in there bitch about their court appointed attorneys non-stop. They just don't give a crap anymore. They only file motions because they get paid for every motion they file. Most of them won't even know what the charges are against you half of the time. They lie constantly. They don't do anything you ask them to do, they just ignore you. They get $1500 for every court appearance, so you get to sit through 20 wiretap hearings so all the attorneys can line their pockets - nothing gets done in the wiretap hearings. It's just a bunch of lawyers sitting around collecting their government handouts.

I lost everything... my home, all my personal stuff, my photo albums, my software, my computers.

They auctioned my car after 30 days, with my notebook and my DVD's in the car. I never got any of it back.

If you use your cell phone memory all the time, you won't remember anyone's phone number - and they have no phone books, you can't call information. You have to trade your food to get someone else to call their people to have them get the number for you - which is against BOP policy, if you get caught, it's 30 days lockup.

If you can't remember someone's address... or phone number, your completely cut-off from the outside world - except for your lame assed attorney, who doesn't give a shit about anything but the money.

I fired my public defender, filed motions to withdraw all his motions, learned the criminal justice system, withdrew my plea of guilty, withdrew my plea bargain, and set the case for trial - at which point the federal prosecutor filed a motion giving me time served w/ three years probation, which was a lot better than the 3.5 years in prison that my public defender had negotiated. It took me three and a half years.

Six years of probation, and now days if you get busted for drugs - you can't drink alcohol either. It's a condition of your bond... so that when you piss dirty for alcohol they can send you back to prison anytime they want to.

Out of 60,000 pages of discovery... thirty pages actually applied to my aspect of the case - most of which were criminal reports on my ex-gf and the two guys she had met one time to do a drug deal. She got off scott free for her testimony about the dude she delivered drugs for. She spent six days in jail total for delivering 1 kilo of cocaine exactly 1 mile down the street.

The evidence against me was pen registers of my old cell phone calling one of the guys, and my ex-gf's statement that I arranged the deal. That was it... no wiretaps, no witnesses, no nothing.

They had blanket wiretap authority from the attorney general. They traced every single phone call to the main drug guys. Anyone that called them was indicted regardless of the circumstances. Some guys were in there over a year because their girlfriends used their cell phones to call their girlfriends - who were using the cell phones of the main dudes. The main dudes had ten cell phones each.

Prison is bad... you don't want to go to prison these days. The government is all jacked up - they just don't care, none of them give a crap. They will throw your drivers license in the garbage can and laugh in your face... when you get out, you'll be walking to the half-way house in your shower shoes, a t-shirt, and a pair of canvas cut-off shorts. They don't care if it's snowing, and you only have four hours to get to the half-way house or you go back to prison.

Then you have two weeks to get a job, or you go back to prison - but now you have no ID. They count every two hours - all night long with flashlights in your face. Wherever you go, you have to call the half-way house when you get there, and when you leave.

The Feds will march through the office where you work two and three at a time. They'll question your co-workers, the managers and the owner of the company. You have to give them copies of every paycheck and you have to log your time for the probation department - plus two or three piss tests every week - across town. Your setup to fail in every possible way imaginable - so you can go back to prison.

  • That's horrible.
  • Prosecuting the war on drugs seems to do a lot of harm. (Though obviously this guy might not be telling the truth about his innocence or his experience.)
  • It's weird to find myself on the other side of a free market debate for once! It's easy to imagine some unfortunate incentives with private prison systems in various ways; for example, rehabilitation. Most businesses like to keep customers coming back for more. (I don't regard this observation as good enough to actually propose a policy. First let's look at whether private systems have higher recidivism rates than public prisons.)
  • A related problem is that the mechanism to create regulation which keeps externalities under control in normal markets probably doesn't work very well in prisons. Of course the mechanism never works well, but it could be particularly bad in prisons. Felons can't vote; voters don't care about felons; prisoners have almost no voice and of course they have no exit.
  • While we're talking about prison and voter apathy regarding felons, it's worth mentioning that tolerance of prison rape is outrageous.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Thinking is harder than you know

Followup to How Difficult Is Artificial Intelligence?

(This is another heavily Yudkowsky-influenced post.)

We don't notice the massive amount of processing our brains are doing when we think. This led early AI researchers to be too optimistic. How hard could thinking be? I do it all the time. But introspecting the actual algorithms our brains are running is in many cases impossible. We don't have access to that information.

One example (of many!) of the processing our brains do that we're not aware of is processing the direction of an incoming sound. When you hear a sound, you sense the approximate direction the sound came from. How do you do that?

You might guess that it's because the sound is louder in one ear and quieter in the other. You're right, but it's not the whole story. From Natural Biodynamics by Vladimir G. Ivancevic and Tijana T. Ivancevic:
The auditory nerve carries the signal into the brainstem and synapses in the cochlear nucleus...The ventral cochlear nucleus cells then project to a collection of nuclei in the medulla called the superior olive. In the superior olive, the minute differences in the timing and loudness of the sound in each ear are compared, and from this you can determine the direction the sound came from. (Emphasis added.)

It is not obvious to me, just from considering what it feels like to hear sounds, that minute differences in the arrival of the sound to my left and right ears are important in determining the direction the sound came from. The lessons I draw from this are:
  • Introspecting what it feels like to think is probably not a good way to approach building an artificial mind.
  • Inspecting brain processing, as Lloyd Watt did to find out this information, is a process that yields results.
  • The brain is not an indecipherable black box; there's no obviously compelling reason that we won't make progress in figuring out how thinking actually works by examining it.

Inspecting the brain is one way we might discover what human-level intelligence actually involves, but not the only way. Yudkowsky cautions against relying too much on emulating the brain when designing an artificial one:
Maybe neurons are just what brains happen to be made out of, because the blind idiot god is too stupid to sit down and invent transistors. All the modules get made out of neurons because that's all there is, even if the cognitive work would be much better-suited to a 2GHz CPU.
"Early attempts to make flying machines often did things like attaching beak onto the front, or trying to make a wing which would flap like a bird's wing. (This extraordinary persistent idea is found in Leonardo's notebooks and in a textbook on airplane design published in 1911.) It is easy for us to smile at such naivete, but one should realize that it made good sense at the time. What birds did was incredible, and nobody really knew how they did it. It always seemed to involve feathers and flapping. Maybe the beak was critical for stability..." - Hayes and Ford, "Turing Test Considered Harmful"

So... why didn't the flapping-wing designs work? Birds flap wings and they fly. The flying machine flaps its wings. Why, oh why, doesn't it fly?

Le Bris' flying machine, photographed in 1868

Eventually someone stopped copying beaks and feathers and flapping and focused on understanding the actual problem, and then invented fixed-wing airplanes. That's an option for AI too. We might go too far in trying to copy nature's solution exemplified in human brains. Helicopters don't have wings (at least, not without a very forgiving interpretation of "wings") but they still fly. Maybe we should not be terribly surprised if an AI doesn't need to have anything recognizable as a neural network, or a soul, or quantum interference, or whatever else we might like to think a mind absolutely has to have.

Added: Unsurprisingly, Yudkowsky made my first point more eloquently:
After spending a decade or two living inside a mind, you might think you knew a bit about how minds work, right? That's what quite a few AGI wannabes (people who think they've got what it takes to program an Artificial General Intelligence) seem to have concluded. This, unfortunately, is wrong.

Artificial Intelligence is fundamentally about reducing the mental to the non-mental.

You might want to contemplate that sentence for a while. It's important.

Living inside a human mind doesn't teach you the art of reductionism, because nearly all of the work is carried out beneath your sight, by the opaque black boxes of the brain. So far beneath your sight that there is no introspective sense that the black box is there - no internal sensory event marking that the work has been delegated.

If you're interested in this kind of thing, you need to be reading Yudkowsky, not me, of course.

If you're interested in an overview of what kinds of processing occur in different parts of the brain, check out this interactive 3D graphic of the brain by Open Colleges.