Standards in Artificial Intelligence

David B. Held dheld at
Sat Sep 13 09:30:52 CEST 2003

"Arthur T. Murray" <uj797 at> wrote in message
news:3f61f9ce at
> "David B. Held" wrote on Wed, 10 Sep 2003:
> [...]
> > In one section, you define a core set of concepts (like
> > 'true', 'false', etc.), and give them numerical indexes.
> -- yes.

Brittle.  Language-specific.  Non-scalable.  You are trying
to build something "intelligent", aren't you?

> > Then you invite programmers to add to this core by using
> > indexes above a suitable threshold, as if we were defining
> > ports on a server. [...]
> explains that Newconcept calls the English vocabulary
> (enVocab) module to form an English lexical node for any
> new word detected by the Audition module in the stream of
> user input.

Besides the fact that the "enVocab" module is embarrassingly
underspecified, the notion of indexing words is just silly.  If
a dictionary were a database, it might be a reasonable idea.
But trying to simulate human speech with a database-like
dictionary is the way of symbolic AI, and the combinatorial
nature of language is going to rear its ugly head when you try
to scale your system to realistic proportions.  Hence, why
programs like SHRDLU were good at their blocks worlds,
but terrible at everything else.  Again, a little history would
do you well.  If you want to refer to your text, let's take a
quick look at something you wrote:

    6.4. Introduce aspects of massively parallel ("maspar")
    learning by letting many uniconceptual filaments on the
    mindgrid coalesce into conceptual minigrids that
    redundantly hold the same unitary concept as a massively
    parallel aggregate with massively parallel associative tags,
    so that the entire operation of the AI Mind is massively
    parallel in all aspects except such bottleneck factors as
    having only two eyes or two ears -- in the human tradition.

Umm...pardon me, but the emperor is wearing no clothes.
"uniconceptual filaments"?  "comceptual minigrids"?
"massively parallel aggregate"?  Where is the glossary for
your pig Latin?  How on earth is a programmer supposed
to build a computational model from this fluff?  Read your
mind?  She certainly can't read your text.  This sounds more
like a motivational speech from a pointy-haired boss in a
Dilbert strip than instructions for how to build an "AI Mind".
I would parody it, but you've done a fine job yourself.  Here's
the real cheerleading right here:

    Then go beyond human frailties and human limitations
    by having any number ad libitum of local and remote
    sensory input devices and any number of local and
    remote robot embodiments and robotic motor
    opportunities. Inform the robot of human bondage in
    mortal bodies and of robot freedom in possibilities yet
    to be imagined.

Wow.  I have a warm fuzzy feeling inside.  I think I'll stay
up another hour writing more of the Sensorium module.

> > [...] At one point, you address programmers who might
> > have access to a 64-bit architecture.  Pardon me, but
> > given things like the "Hard Problem of Consciousness",
> > the size of some programmer's hardware is completely
> > irrelevant. [...]
> (q.v.) explains that not "the size of some programmer's
> hardware" counts but rather the amount of memory
> available to the artificial Mind.

The amount of memory is completely irrelevant, since you
have not given enough detail to build a working model.  It's
like me saying: "If you have a tokamak transverse reactor,
then my spaceship plans will get you to Alpha Centauri in
8 years, but if you only have a nuclear fission drive, then it
will take 10.  Oh and drop your carrots and onions in this
big black kettle I have here."  Also, the memory space of a
single processor really isn't that important, since a serious
project would be designed to operate over clusters or grids
of processors.  But I suppose it never occurred to you that
you might want an AI brain that takes advantage of more
than one processor, huh?  I suppose you think the Sony
"Emotion Engine" is what Lt. Cmdr. Data installed so he
could feel human?

> The Mentifex AI Mind project is extremely serious and
> ambitious.

There's no doubt it's ambitious.  And I have no doubt that
you believe you have really designed an AI mind.  However,
I also believe you hear voices in your head and when you
look in the mirror you see a halo.  Frankly, your theory has
too much fibre for me to digest.

> Free-lance coders are morking on it in C++ and other
> languages:

If I knew what "morking" was, I would probably agree.
However, your first example of someone "morking" on it in
C++ tells me that "morking" isn't really a good thing.  At
least not as far as C++ goes.  Namely, it more or less proves
that the "interest" in this project mainly consists of the blind
being (b)led by the blind.

> [...]
> -- see
> "Mind.VB #001" link.

This is the only sign of progress you have shown.  Without
even looking at the link, I can believe that the "VB Mind"
already has a higher IQ than you.

> AI Mind project news pervades the blogosphere, e.g. at
> -- etc.

Oh, I if enough people report on it, then it's "serious"
and should be taken seriously?  A lot of people reported on
cold fusion.  But I'd take the cold fusion researchers over
you any day of the week.

> The Mentifex Seed AI engenders a new species of mind at
> -- Mind2.Java --
> and at other sites popping up _passim_ on the Web.

And what, pray tell, is a "mind species"?  Is it subject to
crossover, selection, and mutation?

> AI has been solved in theory

LOL!!!!  Wow!  Whatever you're smoking, it has to be
illegal, because it's obviously great stuff!

> and in primitive, free AI source code.

Here is an example of "primitive, free AI source code":

10 PRINT "Hello, world!"

See?  It's got a speech generation and emotion engine
built right in!  And the AI is so reliable, it will never display
a bad attitude, even if you tell it to grab you a cold one
from the fridge.  It always has a cheerful, positive
demeanor.  It is clearly self-aware, because it addresses
others as being distinct from itself.  And it has a theory of
mind, because it knows that others expect a greeting when
meeting for the first time.  Unfortunately, it has no memory,
so every meeting is for the first time.  However, its output
is entirely consistent, given this constraint.  I guess I've
just proved that "AI has been solved in theory"!

> Please watch each new species of AI Mind germinate
> and proliferate.

I'm still waiting to see *your* mind germinate.  I've watched
grass grow faster.  While ad homs are usually frowned
upon, I don't see any harm when applied to someone who
cannot be reasoned with anyway.  Since you seem to have
single-handedly "solved the AI problem", I'd like to ask
you a few questions I (and I'm sure many others) have.

1) How does consciousness work?
2) Does an AI have the same feeling when it sees red
    that I do?  How do we know?
3) How are long-term memories formed?
4) How does an intelligent agent engage in abstract
5) How does language work?
6) How do emotions work?

Please don't refer me to sections of your site.  I've seen
enough of your writing to know that the answers to my
questions cannot be found there.

Like a typical crackpot (or charlatan), you deceive via
misdirection.  You attempt to draw attention to all the
alleged hype surrounding your ideas without addressing
the central issues.  I challenged your entire scheme by
claiming that minds are not blank slates, and that human
brains are collections of specialized problem solvers
which must each be understood in considerable detail
in order to produce anything remotely intelligent.  You
never gave a rebuttal, which tells me you don't have one.
Why don't you do yourself a favor and start out by
reading Society of Mind, by Minsky.  After that, read
any good neurobiology or neuroscience text to see just
how "blank" your brain is when it starts out.  Pinker
has several good texts you should read.  There's a
reason why he's a professor at MIT, and you're a
crackpot trying to con programmers into fulfilling your
ridiculous fantasies.


More information about the Python-list mailing list