Active divination using learning nets and M.V.T

In this research paper M.Sc. in Neural Computation, CCCN Uni Stirling, a variety of net architectures were trialed for specific use in Enochian Chess software, and the commercial version is now in its 3rd edition over 26 years on. The first section consists of a literature review of artificial neural nets and their application to a variety of classic boardgames. Although quite old now, there haven’t been any or many other papers on nets and divination games. This paper has proved very prescient! Today neural nets are commonly used by game developers. The race amongst super computer developers to ‘predict’ stock markets, or weather systems, or winners of horse races, is fierce. MVT unconstrained hardware may offer some synergies when used in conjunction with nets or trad AI.

My interest in active divination (rather than passive divination) goes back a bit now. Enochian Chess Golden Dawn game is one example, Zenet is another. Tsakli can also be used in divination, but the methods are contemplative, closer to tarot than active divination games (games are dynamical systems) “Dynamical systems game theory and dynamics of games. A theoretical framework we call dynamical systems game is presented, in which the game itself can change due to the influence of players’ behaviors and states. That is, the nature of the game itself is described as a dynamical system.”

Passive forms of fortune-telling rely on pure chance without any skill or judgement asked of the questioner. Astrology is a good example. You cannot change or ameliorate your date and time of birth or effect the course of the stars. It is essentially fatalistic. What is the point trying to discern information about which you can do absolutely nothing? Self fulfilling prophecies do occur however. A rumour or advice from top stockbroker can influence market sentiment a stock price, and a racing pundit can make a tip that changes odds on a horse (though not influence the outcome of the race, unless horses recognize and respond to increased cheers from the backers, which I doubt). Weather predictions are useful in knowing how to adjust your own behaviour in light of fullest knowledge, forecasts may cause you to carry an umbrella or change travel plans. But knowledge of future weather doesn’t entail ability to change the outcome.

Brainstorming and the jumping up and down excitement generated by unexpected game episodes, plus the many ideas generated by the move by move conversation and thrown up by wide consideration of the particular divination question, can be of real psychomorphological value in helping plan your future life moves. But don’t over identity or read too much into allegories – whether games that are microcosms of the world, or texts that claim special (or worse, supernatural) knowledge. Divination is a tool to be used, not superstitions that use you. If phenomena and events in the real world contradicts any metaphysical or analogous beliefs not grounded in fact; real world wins.

The outcome of an Enochian Chess game win/ lose yes/ no partly depends on luck since dice are involved. But the course of the game is also influenced by the player’s strategic choices within the legal restraints of the dice throw. Over many games the more skilful games player will perform better than a weaker player. Active divination better reflects situations in real life, where various constraints do exist and many events are outside control of the individual, but nevertheless some other actions and choices are open to the person. In occult terms you are “funneling back into the astral, not just receiving”, or in other terms trying to change the future.

Enochian Chess software uses neural net ‘connectionist glue’ (written in C++ rather than hardware, so not truly analog of course) to replicate the psychological processes undergone whilst making divination choices, rather than simply using a look-up table or traditional AI.

Discovery of correct formulae for W.B. Yeats Celtic Enochian Chess (see blog) might be built into any future upgrades, but the game rules and basic strategy otherwise remains unchanged. I have a prototype design for a general prediction engine cum pattern spotter along the lines of my universal sliding block puzzle generator (and solver) using GA’s — will dig out the paper and transcribe it from p/copes to readable text — my inbox overflows already so will be a week or two. A new Tsakli book next post.

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Is Shogi better than Chess?

This is an historical martial art and board game of Japan in which you are graded based on your tournament performances. All shogi players are ranked by a dan system. In the current system, apprentice players become professional when they achieve the rank of 4-dan. Apprentice players aspiring to become professionals are ranked from 6-kyū to 3-dan. It is a wonderfully dynamic two-player strategy game, superior in my view to the more plodding nature of Chess. Setting up a fortress is more crucial than castling in chess. Play tends to develop quickly from the opening, but not always.

Traditional Japanese style pieces are selectable

Games hardly ever end in a draw since captured pieces can be “dropped” back into the game on an empty square to assist in the checkmate attack! No pieces are ever lost to the game, checkmate becomes more likely in the latter stages, and so Shogi virtually never peters out into a dull endgame as so often happens with tournament Chess.

My only foray was as a complete beginner (15kyo) inthe 1989 Brit Shogi Championships. Regrettably I could only be present the first day of two because of other commitments so only completed 2 of the 5 games, which I won. I had been to the Tokyo World Computer Championships with this software (based on Pauli’s Shocky engine with adaptations and my Westernised symbols interface) and reached the Grand Finals. We lost, but from memory we were the first European entry to get that far.

The software as well as standard form of the game includes variants with other sized boards, some with slightly different pieces or rules. Bird Shogi is particularly famous amongst variants.

Instructions are included in the software. To be honest, software is so much more effective than paper books in teaching games that I have never bothered to write one form Shogi. Same goes for Chaturanga (though I might write about endgame strategies in the double-checkmate variations).

DVD case from the 1990’s

Shogi FACEBOOK group .

PC software download £8 (ca $10)