Re: [unrev-II] Re: Towards an atomic data structure (Somuthinghappenedon the way to the forum)

From: Jack Park (
Date: Wed May 03 2000 - 18:44:41 PDT

  • Next message: Jon Winters: "Re: [unrev-II] Thoughts"

    From: Eric Armstrong <>
    > But it also has a deeper meaning based in AI, carrying concepts
    > like deep semantic modeling and machine reasoning. In this
    > mailing list we are carrying on discussions of both kinds, using
    > the same term at times.
    I don't recall ever using it in any other way than the AI variant of a
    knowledge base, one which represents human knowledge in a form suitable for
    learning, modeling, and reasoning.

    > As a theoretical pursuit, I am glad to see AI-centric investigations
    > continuing. And this is a reasonable forum for those discussions.
    > But there are a lot of problems we don't know how to define in that
    > arena, much less solve. So I am focused on what we can build today
    > that will help us carry on those conversations.
    > To try to achieve a better "separation of concerns", I am going to
    > try to avoid use of the term "knowledge" in this forum. I use it
    > only as a markety buzzword, to distinguish this effort from data
    > base systems and the like. But it tends to flood me with issues I'm
    > not prepared to deal with at the moment.
    > Now, in general, I'm a fan of designing large, general systems
    > before narrowing down the scope to something achievable. But just
    > as we need to draw a line between what is achievable and what isn't
    > at this point in time, I think it makes sense to make a distinction
    > between what we are capable of designing (given finite resources)
    > and what lies outside our scope.
    > I know that an AI-style "knowledge" repository is outside my
    > present scope.

    But, it is not outside mine. In fact, it is the sole reason I am involved. I
    am far less interested in doing the doable. There's already tons of stuff
    out on the web doing that. I'm vastly more interested in doing the hard, so
    hard, in fact, that Doug has only scratched the surface of it. Eudora would
    do just fine if email is all we need. A relational database with a good sql
    interface would do fine if all we want is to warehouse factoids. I don't
    know about you, Eric, but I want more. Lots more. What I want is hard,
    nothing less. And, settling for what's doable is just liable to make it
    impossible to append what's hard on as an afterthought.

    Doug Lenat's Eurisko once discovered, by playing games it invented by itself
    (with programmatic biases built in by Doug), the heuristic that it is
    frequently useful to go to both extremes in any design situation, then back
    up just a little. With that heuristic, Eurisko was given the Traveller's
    catalog of warfare stuff and it built a naval fleet to go forth and conquer.
    On its first outing, everyone surrendered. They took one look at the fleet
    and gave up. Why? Because the main rule was "last boat in the water wins."
    Eurisko built one enormous boat, heavily armored, very expensive. And it
    built one tiny, cheap, speed boat that nobody thought of. All the heavy
    boats could never catch it and they would run out of fuel before it did. I
    want that. I want the ability to roam around in knowledge space, looking
    for interesting ideas, things others didn't think of. Can't do it with an
    email system. Sorry.

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