RE: [unrev-II] 2020 Hindsight: A Fictional DKR Narrative (long (sorry))

From: Warren Stringer (
Date: Mon Jun 26 2000 - 12:24:15 PDT

  • Next message: Eugene Eric Kim: "[unrev-II] meeting Tuesday, June 27, 4-6pm"

    I would like to join the fun, as well. I tend to put a colloquial face on
    what I see as an information theory problem. That face being a special
    context: conscious beings. As one of those beings (though some may argue
    otherwise) I would like to use as a context, the almost 6 questions: Who,
    What, When, Where, How, and sometimes Why. Here goes:

    WHO is the information for? Does knowledge exist outside of a Human beings?
    This is a somewhat religious issue. I recall a similar conversation in one
    of the Artificial Intelligence tracks at the National Computer Conference in
    Chicago, in 1979. There were some people who's definition of Intelligence
    had to include a Human element. It didn't matter what sort of argument you
    would make, they would always be steadfast. It seemed to me that the
    definition really didn't matter. What mattered was: what are you going to DO
    with the techniques that came out of AI, regardless of what you call it. For
    the time being, I'm going to take a somewhat narrow view that information
    outside of human beings, as the context, has little relevance. This is
    because I've yet to meet a robot that I would be happy in marrying my
    daughter. (Now, the fact that I don't have a daughter is beside the point!)

    WHAT is knowledge? Or more specifically, what are the elements that we wish
    to process? We seem to agree that email is a good thing to improve; we see
    value in some of the conveyances. Is email knowledge? Perhaps yes. Perhaps
    no. Regardless, supporting email is a part of managing knowledge. Do we need
    to set specific boundaries around these elements of knowledge management by
    formalizing their definitions? Perhaps some day. Particularly if you wish to
    use a theorem prover to validate knowledge. But this problem eluded Russell
    and Whitehead. I would propose that we start with something that is a bit
    more crude and incomplete to bootstrap the process, and let is get refined
    by the collective IQ over time.

    WHEN & WHERE does this knowledge reside? This is a persistence problem. It
    would be nice that all the information that I need is where I can see at
    precisely the moment that I need it. Of course, What information is the
    information that I need gets back to a religious question: Why. But that
    shouldn't change the time and space dynamic -- except, perhaps, for some
    belief systems that transcends our concept of time and space. Fortunately, I
    am unable to help those people--thus, I can ignore them. By ignoring Why,
    for the moment, When & Where becomes a distributed database problem.

    HOW do I get that knowledge? What are the operations move What to the When &
    Where for the proper Who. My favorite model for a crude how was written by
    Richard Reiss in the '60s -- which appeared in an obscure book: "Readings in
    Artificial Intelligence" which I checked out, as a young impressionable lad,
    from the Chicago Institute of Technology library, in 1975 (if this reference
    appears to be more of a scavenger hunt, my apologies--this is the best
    detail that I can come up with at the moment). Reiss set up a model of
    classical association psychology that consisted of: a repository of memory
    tokens, a sensory register, an an attention register, and an effector
    register. Each token could have an arc to another token with a certain
    vivacity to it. The attention register could have a certain number of tokens
    in it at the same time. After some time, old tokens would be thrown out of
    the attention register, and new ones would be selected by, what Reiss would
    call "an adduction function" which is a process that adds all the arcs of
    tokens in the Attention to tokens in memory and choose the strongest
    weighted token to enter next into the attention. Finally new tokens can be
    added to the repository through the sensory register, which binds the new
    token to tokens in the attention register. So, for instance, as a toddler, I
    might bind the token "stove" with tokens "fire", "heat", and "ouch!". Crude?
    Yes. But it was a starting place for me, which became refined over the
    years. Another impressive point about this model was that, although it was
    created to model Classical Association Psychology, it could also explain
    Gestalt Psychology at the same time. Too opposite philosophical extremes,
    joined by a data model! This is perhaps why I tend to take philosophical
    discussions with a grain of salt--preferring to design with a machine model,
    which is a bit more verifiable than the more ambiguous terms of human
    language. So, I would propose the elements of HOW could be broken into
    operators upon Sensory, Attention, Effector, Repository. Each person has
    one of each. Each group has one of each ... plus a collection of persons who
    have one of each.

    WHY does it matter? This is the liturgical element of knowledge. Every
    person has a different agenda. People aggregate around common agendas. Our
    own aggregation seems to be centered around the opportunity to
    improve how people and their agendas aggregate, in the near future. No?
    Perhaps it is something different but just as abstract. The problem with
    bootstrapping an abstract form of self-improvement, is to attract a specific
    agenda to the cause. Certainly, the software development agenda has a
    synergy with the HOW of a DKR, by promoting a somewhat incestuous
    relationship of tools that procreate better copies of themselves. However, I
    think that this made more sense in the days of the original Augment, when
    there were few tools to play with. Today, there are plenty of tools. The
    noise level is pretty high; there isn't much of a vacuum to fill. My own
    inclination is to solve a problem that is Global in scope. However, this is
    probably too nebulous a task; it has way too much ambiguous language. So,
    with geeks and politicians forming the two extremes of the knowledge domain,
    perhaps a project management system would be the best point in between the
    two. It has all the structures that can evolve into a future DKR: a
    hierarchical Work Breakdown Structure, a set of nodes and arcs called
    Activities and Constraints, an aggregation of people and things called
    Resources and Materials, and a dialogue between people who are in progress
    of doing something. Are there any open source project management systems?
    Does it make sense to develop one? This is an well defined problem that
    could use a more universal solution. It could work for the geek population,
    thus attracting intellectual capital (i.e. talented people) to improving the
    infrastructure. It could also serve the political agendas that are Global in

    That being said, I would like propose my own definition of knowledge
    management: the conveyance of surprise from sender to receiver, at the most
    efficient time and place, such that the receiver can convey surprise more
    efficiently. In short: making my entropy into our entropy, and vice versa.
    But of course, my definition or your definition of knowledge management
    doesn't really matter, if we both know what each other is really doing.
    Hence, my attempt at subverting this philosophical discourse into a concrete
    project proposal.


     -----Original Message-----
    From: Jack Park []
    Sent: Monday, June 26, 2000 7:55 AM
    Subject: Re: [unrev-II] 2020 Hindsight: A Fictional DKR Narrative (long

      If I may jump in here, it occurs to me that what we have been calling
      knowledge cannot exist outside the user. What exists in books, computers,
      and so forth, it seems to me, is just a model, a map, whatever you want to
      call a collection of triggers to the model that resides within the user.

      I speak of "apparent IQ," while Doug speaks of "collective IQ." I believe
      we are both speaking of the synergy that occurs when more than one mind
      together. Now, I am not speaking of the DKR as another mind; rather, I am
      speaking of it as a model of a giant mind, one that has the capacity to
      trigger mine to work better. Consider this: Al Einstein talking to a
      old isn't going to get very far explaining general relativity. In fact,
      Sayings of Chairman Peirce have a similar ring on me, given my lack of
      in philosophy. But then, should a computer harbor a relational network of
      ideas related to Peirce, I do have the requisite variety in my own mind to
      make use of that net, and, thus, appear a whole lot smarter than I am.

      From: Bill Bearden <>

    > Rod,
    > You bring up an interesting and valid point with which I am currently
    > struggling. I have been reading (and trying to understand) some of
    > Malhotra's extensions of Churchman, esp.
    > Malhotra quotes Churchman:
    > "To conceive of knowledge as a collection of information seems to rob
    > concept of all of its life... Knowledge resides in the user and not in
    > collection. It is how the user reacts to a collection of information
    > matters."
    > This sounds very much like what you say.
    > But if knowledge can not exist outside of the mind, how can a DKR be
    > possible? By this definition, neither book nor computer can contain
    > knowledge. I believe in the concept of the DKR. Therefore, I can not
    > a definition which fundamentally prevents its existence.
    > So, with your definition, my previous comment about knowledge being
    > everywhere is not valid. But I would guess that your definition
    > lots of things that have been discussed.
    > Bill



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