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An idea for promoting AI development.

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  • Alan Grimes
    om In this posting I will try to walk you through a fairly complex and, in some places tenuous, chain of reasoning related to my own personal attempt to
    Message 1 of 11 , Nov 28, 2002
      om

      In this posting I will try to walk you through a fairly complex and, in
      some places tenuous, chain of reasoning related to my own personal
      attempt to develop an AI. My motovation in writing this post is to seek
      out people who might be interested in this venture. And, ofcourse, this
      will serve as a sanity check for myself.

      I know that people skim longer postings however I do have some very
      important things to say, skim to the second 'om' in the posting for the
      skinny...

      ===

      For the last month I have been trying to put togeather a box for
      research. The USPS lost the ram and its going to be a while before I
      will be able to afford it again =(. In the mean time I am trying to
      sketch out my research agenda.

      To start with I need an OS and develment environment. It can't be linux
      because I am building the machine with my old 850MB HD (I spent all my
      money on the Mobo). That's not a real reason, ofcourse, because I could
      put any HD I want in it, if I had the money. The real issue is that
      Linux is not a real-time operating system. Its simply the wrong solution
      for this job. I'm not going to use windows, for obvious reasons.

      My immediate plan is to put BeOS on the machine cuz I have the disk on
      hand. Unfortunately Microsoft killed Be Inc, so I will probably switch
      to QNX or some other real-time platform at some point. Other options
      include using DOS to boot the machine then run the AI as a
      self-supporting system providing its own OS functionality.


      These platform issues seem to be minor but I will demonstrate their
      importance presently.

      I have chosen a cybernetic approach to AI because it makes the most
      sense to me. I don't think I could work any other approach. A cybernetic
      approach is one that is based on a cybernetic loop between actor and
      object. Where the AI is designed in the context of a problem to be solved.

      To develop an AI based on this approach one first sets about to
      construct a problem domain for the AI to work on. For general AI one
      requires an open problem space such as a box of Legos. Today's computers
      already come with a broad selection of software that would be suitable
      for this purpose. The problem then becomes how to make it so that the AI
      can see and use these applications just as the human user does? One
      would like to create a virtual desktop which is mirrored to the physical
      console and then have the AI take its input from what it displays. On
      this desktop the AI can run games and other instructional software as
      well as communicate with the human operator.

      The development of such a system is still very chalenging as nobody
      writes software to run in the configuration I just described. This
      problem is not insurmountable, it will only require a great deal of
      money. Here is where I make my make my first logical step. I have
      concluded that to get the money and resources I need to develop the AI
      training software I will need to launch a commercial venture either
      under an existing company or organization or as a new business.

      So I start to sketch out a business plan. My idea would be to produce AI
      development tools. These would include software adaptors to let the AI
      use Mozilla or sumpfin as well as two lines of robotic systems. The
      first line would feature laboratory rigs that include white-boxes for
      controlling stimulii. In that system, the AI would be given Fischer
      Price toys to play with. It would have a camera and a dexterous
      high-feedback robotic arm. Basically a pre-fab version of the type of
      laboratory that has been in use for years...

      The higher line would be a mobile platform with a big honkin on-board
      computer and a dexterous manipulator.

      So how do I market this? Could I match expenses? The market for the lab
      equipment would be fairly narrow... Maybe a few dozen universities would
      buy it. Probably not enough to achieve an economy of scale and make it
      affordable to a broader market of hobyists and entheuseasts. In other
      words the hardware angle of the venture would not do much to advance the
      cause of AI develment.

      The software, however could be produced for practically nothing. So what
      kind of software would be able to make it big enough to justify a
      price-drop into hobyist teritory? The most advanced AI available to
      consumers today are in games such as Creatures and "Black and White".
      A game engine architected to support general AI actors would be close to
      ideal.

      The Sims Online is only the latest example. That kind of game would be
      great for teaching an AI to be good citizen. I, however, have a great
      bias against virtual communities beacuse it makes me nervous that it
      might one day gain a status above the real world, creating a situation
      inimical to someone, such as myself, who has an interest in real-world
      things. I used to have a "reality engine" project on my website but I
      withdrew it after reading Egan's Diaspora. So my first choice would be
      to go with a mobile platform or implement some in-house application for
      the job. No matter how attractive that approach is, it is still most
      problematic.

      om

      Software is too hard to develop. The curent state of software is that
      there are high barriers to entering the circle of developers.
      Furthermore once one has made a comittment to devel software you are
      faced with C++ which I have been told requires 7 years of daily
      experience to truly master or with the nightmare of getting a better
      language to work with an operating system which is literally built to
      support C and C++. Switching to a better OS makes things worse because
      once you get out of the mainstream you can't find support and you find
      yourself having to write/port more of your applications. While the OS
      you choose may be much much better than linux (which isn't hard at all)
      such as BeOS your costs will go up because you have to do alot more from
      scratch.

      [damn, I'm having trouble writing streight today; not enough sleap cuz
      I've been downloading 5.5GB of leenooks over 56k...]

      YES, it is technically possible to nuckle under and work linux. When one
      thinks of an application such as the internet one looks at the work and
      what it takes to do the work. In all cases you want to maximize the
      ratio of work to overhead.

      Lets think of software as a pyramid. The simplest softwarez are at the
      bottom, and AI is the little point at the very top...

      ^ < AI.
      /_\ < applications.
      /___\ < operating systems.
      /_____\ < languages
      /_______\ < raw computation.

      The ease of developing AI is a function of how well the lower levels
      support the next level. This isn't strictly the case but given my state
      of tiredness, it makes perfect sense. ;)

      To give you a better feel for what exactly is going on here let me try,
      in my over fatigued state, to relate the core of what is going on here
      through an anictdote that happened to me a week or so ago.

      I have a long-time pen-pal, David G. Shreeves (
      shreeves@... ). He has been a Slackerware (linux) user
      for many years and reccomends it highly. On his advice, six months ago,
      I had a friend of mine (who has DSL) burn me the discs. He, most kindly,
      provided me with all three disks. My HD had reciently been slaughtered
      by an asshole after 6 years of uninterupted operation and I was in need
      of a new OS. When I tried to install the OS, it didn't work, it simply
      couldn't handle the optimal configuration of my HD. I asked around and
      they told me that it was a bug in the kernel and the work-around was to
      change a setting in the BIOS to a lower setting and later to recompile
      the kernel with the correct driver.

      I use DOS as a benchmark for OS quality. Since this problem _NEVER_
      happens in DOS, linux is clearly inferior.

      So I was talking with Shreeves about it a few days ago and he knew about
      the bug too and suggested that its just a hacker's OS and that these
      inconveniences are minor.

      He, and many like him overlook a critical fact. That being that the
      _USER_, and in this case AI researcher, was forced to take time and
      mental resources AWAY from his work on AI to handle these linux "quirks".

      While it is theoreticaly possible for someone to be such a strong
      programmer that he can put up with linux and still have some time left
      over on the weekends to solve the AI problem, I hope the people
      receiving this message will see that to be a real problem. Humans are
      finite creatures. You can't keep piling stuff on them and expect them to
      be just as fast.

      The burdeons of using linux have gotten to the point that its
      development has been thouroughly arrested by all the cruft that has
      built up around it.

      Our basic goal here is to make computing much easier so that AI
      researchers can jump right in and start working the real problems of AI
      rather than spending all their time and mental resources getting their
      flaming hard drives working. By making AI research dramaticly easier to
      accomplish we can dramaticly improve the chances that someone out there
      will "get it right", and that's a Good Thing (tm).

      The easier computing systems that I am talking about already exist. One
      of the most shining examples of these is the Squeak environment. (
      www.squeak.org ).

      The question now is, what is the killer app that can bring Squeak into
      the mainstream and encourage the open source community to give it the
      functionality that it needs to really succede without having to make a
      massive initial investment in that same functionality?

      I think the answer is this:

      http://www.business2.com/articles/web/0,1653,45665,FF.html

      A game is not like traditional open source. Very few people will work on
      the real problems in the linux system, the core of GNU software that it
      is based on, because it is difficult and because, as humans, they don't
      have sufficient emotional motovation to work on such projects.

      A MMORPG based on Squeak can solve that problem. While the details of
      the virtual world I propose are beyond the scope of what I want to say
      here. I feel that I have an excelant chance at being extremely sucessful
      in this venture. I will just have to set asside my fears and go whole
      hog on this because these on-line games have such an enormous potential
      for driving development of the cultural and technical foundations of AI
      development.

      The economic value of virtual communities is only now beginning to be
      realized. The on-line RPGs we see today are merely experaments to find
      the right set of concepts that will make it big. I can project from the
      recient trends in the field and I am very confidient in my ability to
      design a virtual world with great potential.

      I know how to do it.

      I do face a significant challenge in getting it off the ground. While it
      has a clear mission, its qualities as a piece of software are not
      readily apparent. Investors have been mistaking complexity for
      sophistication for quite a while now and I don't see that changing any
      time soon. They will look at the Squeak package and won't see its true
      value because it looks too simple to them. ;)

      The Virtual world I propose, the first generation at least, is quite
      obnoxious in that it will be a simple 2-D system. It is 2-D for very
      good reasons but investors will look at it and balk. =(

      For an AI focused institution they will look at it and say "What value
      does this bring us? It has nothing to do with AI!" While, on the
      surface, they would be right, they will fail to see that promoting the
      virtual world I here propose, is what I call an "indispensible luxury".
      Its something that you don't really really need, but is a real pain in
      the butt to do without. Let me try to sumarize the payoff here. Squeak
      today is a wonderful system but it is immature and not yet sufficient
      for major projects. Today's operating systems have a massive ammount of
      inertia behind them and that won't change unless major effort is put
      into displacing them.

      Through the virtual world squeak can become a major factor in the future
      of computing. In five to seven years, my virtual world system can be in
      a position to begin to displace these entrenched monopolies. The payoff
      comes on the day when system administrators are fired because the
      computers are simple enough for even the boss to configure. ;) The
      payoff comes when all the hours spent maintaining a windows or linux
      installation and doing day-to-day chores can be put into pushing the
      frontiers of the art. While all this liberated effort won't be going
      into AI directly, it will be put into software that AI researchers will
      use in their daily work and thereby form the foundation on which AI will
      be built.

      It is apparent to me that AI is, and has been for some time, strictly a
      software problem. The time it will take to solve this software problem
      will depend on how much overhead and complexity the AI researcher has to
      deal wtith _BEFORE_ beginning his work.

      WE CAN MOVE THE SINGULARITY FORWARD BY YEARS JUST BY FIXING THE PROBLEMS
      WITH TODAY'S SOFTWARE.

      om

      In conclusion, I am about to go against my reservations and fears and
      plunge head-long into a virtual world project because I beleive, by this
      convoluted logic, that it is vital to advancing the development of AI.

      Bottom line: I need $5,000,000 to start, and another $10,000,000 to go
      on-line.
    • Shital Shah
      Sorry to say this but this email doesn t have substance. You haven t researched in to problem you will be trying to solve, let alone the algorithm for AI .
      Message 2 of 11 , Nov 28, 2002
        Sorry to say this but this email doesn't have substance. You haven't
        researched in to problem you will be trying to solve, let alone the
        algorithm for "AI". And you are trying to decide on OS and business plan
        and have finance venture! Not to hurt your enthusiasms but it's funny. I
        believe it's not really possible to develop an human-like "AI" system by
        trying to solve a single problem. You will need to create theaories,
        proofs and solid algorithms. Lots of people have wasted their life by
        writing ad-hoc code that looks smart to solve one single problem. Don't
        be the one of them!

        Regards,
        Shital.
        http://www.ShitalShah.com

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        I know only two tunes: one of them is "Yankee Doodle" and the other one
        isn't.

        -Ulysses S. Grant.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Alan Grimes [mailto:alangrimes@...]
        Sent: Thursday, November 28, 2002 9:21 PM
        To: transtopia@yahoogroups.com; machine-learning@yahoogroups.com;
        technocalypse@yahoogroups.com;
        artificialintelligencegroup@yahoogroups.com; thresearch@yahoogroups.com;
        agi@...; AI-Arms-Race@yahoogroups.com; deering9@...
        Subject: [Artificial Intelligence Group] An idea for promoting AI
        development.


        om

        In this posting I will try to walk you through a fairly complex and, in
        some places tenuous, chain of reasoning related to my own personal
        attempt to develop an AI. My motovation in writing this post is to seek
        out people who might be interested in this venture. And, ofcourse, this
        will serve as a sanity check for myself.

        I know that people skim longer postings however I do have some very
        important things to say, skim to the second 'om' in the posting for the
        skinny...

        ===

        For the last month I have been trying to put togeather a box for
        research. The USPS lost the ram and its going to be a while before I
        will be able to afford it again =(. In the mean time I am trying to
        sketch out my research agenda.

        To start with I need an OS and develment environment. It can't be linux
        because I am building the machine with my old 850MB HD (I spent all my
        money on the Mobo). That's not a real reason, ofcourse, because I could
        put any HD I want in it, if I had the money. The real issue is that
        Linux is not a real-time operating system. Its simply the wrong solution

        for this job. I'm not going to use windows, for obvious reasons.

        My immediate plan is to put BeOS on the machine cuz I have the disk on
        hand. Unfortunately Microsoft killed Be Inc, so I will probably switch
        to QNX or some other real-time platform at some point. Other options
        include using DOS to boot the machine then run the AI as a
        self-supporting system providing its own OS functionality.


        These platform issues seem to be minor but I will demonstrate their
        importance presently.

        I have chosen a cybernetic approach to AI because it makes the most
        sense to me. I don't think I could work any other approach. A cybernetic

        approach is one that is based on a cybernetic loop between actor and
        object. Where the AI is designed in the context of a problem to be
        solved.

        To develop an AI based on this approach one first sets about to
        construct a problem domain for the AI to work on. For general AI one
        requires an open problem space such as a box of Legos. Today's computers

        already come with a broad selection of software that would be suitable
        for this purpose. The problem then becomes how to make it so that the AI

        can see and use these applications just as the human user does? One
        would like to create a virtual desktop which is mirrored to the physical

        console and then have the AI take its input from what it displays. On
        this desktop the AI can run games and other instructional software as
        well as communicate with the human operator.

        The development of such a system is still very chalenging as nobody
        writes software to run in the configuration I just described. This
        problem is not insurmountable, it will only require a great deal of
        money. Here is where I make my make my first logical step. I have
        concluded that to get the money and resources I need to develop the AI
        training software I will need to launch a commercial venture either
        under an existing company or organization or as a new business.

        So I start to sketch out a business plan. My idea would be to produce AI

        development tools. These would include software adaptors to let the AI
        use Mozilla or sumpfin as well as two lines of robotic systems. The
        first line would feature laboratory rigs that include white-boxes for
        controlling stimulii. In that system, the AI would be given Fischer
        Price toys to play with. It would have a camera and a dexterous
        high-feedback robotic arm. Basically a pre-fab version of the type of
        laboratory that has been in use for years...

        The higher line would be a mobile platform with a big honkin on-board
        computer and a dexterous manipulator.

        So how do I market this? Could I match expenses? The market for the lab
        equipment would be fairly narrow... Maybe a few dozen universities would

        buy it. Probably not enough to achieve an economy of scale and make it
        affordable to a broader market of hobyists and entheuseasts. In other
        words the hardware angle of the venture would not do much to advance the

        cause of AI develment.

        The software, however could be produced for practically nothing. So what

        kind of software would be able to make it big enough to justify a
        price-drop into hobyist teritory? The most advanced AI available to
        consumers today are in games such as Creatures and "Black and White". A
        game engine architected to support general AI actors would be close to
        ideal.

        The Sims Online is only the latest example. That kind of game would be
        great for teaching an AI to be good citizen. I, however, have a great
        bias against virtual communities beacuse it makes me nervous that it
        might one day gain a status above the real world, creating a situation
        inimical to someone, such as myself, who has an interest in real-world
        things. I used to have a "reality engine" project on my website but I
        withdrew it after reading Egan's Diaspora. So my first choice would be
        to go with a mobile platform or implement some in-house application for
        the job. No matter how attractive that approach is, it is still most
        problematic.

        om

        Software is too hard to develop. The curent state of software is that
        there are high barriers to entering the circle of developers.
        Furthermore once one has made a comittment to devel software you are
        faced with C++ which I have been told requires 7 years of daily
        experience to truly master or with the nightmare of getting a better
        language to work with an operating system which is literally built to
        support C and C++. Switching to a better OS makes things worse because
        once you get out of the mainstream you can't find support and you find
        yourself having to write/port more of your applications. While the OS
        you choose may be much much better than linux (which isn't hard at all)
        such as BeOS your costs will go up because you have to do alot more from

        scratch.

        [damn, I'm having trouble writing streight today; not enough sleap cuz
        I've been downloading 5.5GB of leenooks over 56k...]

        YES, it is technically possible to nuckle under and work linux. When one

        thinks of an application such as the internet one looks at the work and
        what it takes to do the work. In all cases you want to maximize the
        ratio of work to overhead.

        Lets think of software as a pyramid. The simplest softwarez are at the
        bottom, and AI is the little point at the very top...

        ^ < AI.
        /_\ < applications.
        /___\ < operating systems.
        /_____\ < languages
        /_______\ < raw computation.

        The ease of developing AI is a function of how well the lower levels
        support the next level. This isn't strictly the case but given my state
        of tiredness, it makes perfect sense. ;)

        To give you a better feel for what exactly is going on here let me try,
        in my over fatigued state, to relate the core of what is going on here
        through an anictdote that happened to me a week or so ago.

        I have a long-time pen-pal, David G. Shreeves (
        shreeves@... ). He has been a Slackerware (linux) user
        for many years and reccomends it highly. On his advice, six months ago,
        I had a friend of mine (who has DSL) burn me the discs. He, most kindly,

        provided me with all three disks. My HD had reciently been slaughtered
        by an asshole after 6 years of uninterupted operation and I was in need
        of a new OS. When I tried to install the OS, it didn't work, it simply
        couldn't handle the optimal configuration of my HD. I asked around and
        they told me that it was a bug in the kernel and the work-around was to
        change a setting in the BIOS to a lower setting and later to recompile
        the kernel with the correct driver.

        I use DOS as a benchmark for OS quality. Since this problem _NEVER_
        happens in DOS, linux is clearly inferior.

        So I was talking with Shreeves about it a few days ago and he knew about

        the bug too and suggested that its just a hacker's OS and that these
        inconveniences are minor.

        He, and many like him overlook a critical fact. That being that the
        _USER_, and in this case AI researcher, was forced to take time and
        mental resources AWAY from his work on AI to handle these linux
        "quirks".

        While it is theoreticaly possible for someone to be such a strong
        programmer that he can put up with linux and still have some time left
        over on the weekends to solve the AI problem, I hope the people
        receiving this message will see that to be a real problem. Humans are
        finite creatures. You can't keep piling stuff on them and expect them to

        be just as fast.

        The burdeons of using linux have gotten to the point that its
        development has been thouroughly arrested by all the cruft that has
        built up around it.

        Our basic goal here is to make computing much easier so that AI
        researchers can jump right in and start working the real problems of AI
        rather than spending all their time and mental resources getting their
        flaming hard drives working. By making AI research dramaticly easier to
        accomplish we can dramaticly improve the chances that someone out there
        will "get it right", and that's a Good Thing (tm).

        The easier computing systems that I am talking about already exist. One
        of the most shining examples of these is the Squeak environment. (
        www.squeak.org ).

        The question now is, what is the killer app that can bring Squeak into
        the mainstream and encourage the open source community to give it the
        functionality that it needs to really succede without having to make a
        massive initial investment in that same functionality?

        I think the answer is this:

        http://www.business2.com/articles/web/0,1653,45665,FF.html

        A game is not like traditional open source. Very few people will work on

        the real problems in the linux system, the core of GNU software that it
        is based on, because it is difficult and because, as humans, they don't
        have sufficient emotional motovation to work on such projects.

        A MMORPG based on Squeak can solve that problem. While the details of
        the virtual world I propose are beyond the scope of what I want to say
        here. I feel that I have an excelant chance at being extremely sucessful

        in this venture. I will just have to set asside my fears and go whole
        hog on this because these on-line games have such an enormous potential
        for driving development of the cultural and technical foundations of AI
        development.

        The economic value of virtual communities is only now beginning to be
        realized. The on-line RPGs we see today are merely experaments to find
        the right set of concepts that will make it big. I can project from the
        recient trends in the field and I am very confidient in my ability to
        design a virtual world with great potential.

        I know how to do it.

        I do face a significant challenge in getting it off the ground. While it

        has a clear mission, its qualities as a piece of software are not
        readily apparent. Investors have been mistaking complexity for
        sophistication for quite a while now and I don't see that changing any
        time soon. They will look at the Squeak package and won't see its true
        value because it looks too simple to them. ;)

        The Virtual world I propose, the first generation at least, is quite
        obnoxious in that it will be a simple 2-D system. It is 2-D for very
        good reasons but investors will look at it and balk. =(

        For an AI focused institution they will look at it and say "What value
        does this bring us? It has nothing to do with AI!" While, on the
        surface, they would be right, they will fail to see that promoting the
        virtual world I here propose, is what I call an "indispensible luxury".
        Its something that you don't really really need, but is a real pain in
        the butt to do without. Let me try to sumarize the payoff here. Squeak
        today is a wonderful system but it is immature and not yet sufficient
        for major projects. Today's operating systems have a massive ammount of
        inertia behind them and that won't change unless major effort is put
        into displacing them.

        Through the virtual world squeak can become a major factor in the future

        of computing. In five to seven years, my virtual world system can be in
        a position to begin to displace these entrenched monopolies. The payoff
        comes on the day when system administrators are fired because the
        computers are simple enough for even the boss to configure. ;) The
        payoff comes when all the hours spent maintaining a windows or linux
        installation and doing day-to-day chores can be put into pushing the
        frontiers of the art. While all this liberated effort won't be going
        into AI directly, it will be put into software that AI researchers will
        use in their daily work and thereby form the foundation on which AI will

        be built.

        It is apparent to me that AI is, and has been for some time, strictly a
        software problem. The time it will take to solve this software problem
        will depend on how much overhead and complexity the AI researcher has to

        deal wtith _BEFORE_ beginning his work.

        WE CAN MOVE THE SINGULARITY FORWARD BY YEARS JUST BY FIXING THE PROBLEMS

        WITH TODAY'S SOFTWARE.

        om

        In conclusion, I am about to go against my reservations and fears and
        plunge head-long into a virtual world project because I beleive, by this

        convoluted logic, that it is vital to advancing the development of AI.

        Bottom line: I need $5,000,000 to start, and another $10,000,000 to go
        on-line.


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      • Alan Grimes
        ... 1. Please RTFA, posting 1616 from the archive of this very group. 2. Immagine that you knew exactly how the AI algorithm worked. How would you test it?
        Message 3 of 11 , Nov 29, 2002
          Shital Shah wrote:
          > Sorry to say this but this email doesn't have substance. You haven't
          > researched in to problem you will be trying to solve, let alone the
          > algorithm for "AI". And you are trying to decide on OS and business
          > plan and have finance venture! Not to hurt your enthusiasms but it's
          > funny. I believe it's not really possible to develop an human-like "AI"
          > system by trying to solve a single problem. You will need to create
          > theaories, proofs and solid algorithms. Lots of people have wasted
          > their life by writing ad-hoc code that looks smart to solve one single
          > problem. Don't be the one of them!


          1. Please RTFA, posting 1616 from the archive of this very group.

          2. Immagine that you knew exactly how the AI algorithm worked. How would
          you test it? What kinds of things would you need to see if it worked and
          put it to practical use, A key subgoal being your ability to communicate
          with the AI. If you follow this train of thought far enough you'll
          arrive at a much more gramaticly correct version of the very post you
          dismiss in this response. ;)


          --
          pain (n): see Linux.
          http://users.rcn.com/alangrimes/
        • T @ MacT
          Alan this sounds like a good idea but you will need partners who have the same vision and passion for the development and remember to make a contract between
          Message 4 of 11 , Nov 29, 2002
            Alan this sounds like a good idea but you will need
            partners who have the same vision and passion for the
            development and remember to make a contract between
            each of you before starting. A partnership with a
            computer firm would resolve the problem of the
            hardware. Let me think more about this on a business
            level.


            --- Alan Grimes <alangrimes@...> wrote:
            > om
            >
            > In this posting I will try to walk you through a
            > fairly complex and, in
            > some places tenuous, chain of reasoning related to
            > my own personal
            > attempt to develop an AI. My motovation in writing
            > this post is to seek
            > out people who might be interested in this venture.
            > And, ofcourse, this
            > will serve as a sanity check for myself.
            >
            > I know that people skim longer postings however I do
            > have some very
            > important things to say, skim to the second 'om' in
            > the posting for the
            > skinny...
            >
            > ===
            >
            > For the last month I have been trying to put
            > togeather a box for
            > research. The USPS lost the ram and its going to be
            > a while before I
            > will be able to afford it again =(. In the mean time
            > I am trying to
            > sketch out my research agenda.
            >
            > To start with I need an OS and develment
            > environment. It can't be linux
            > because I am building the machine with my old 850MB
            > HD (I spent all my
            > money on the Mobo). That's not a real reason,
            > ofcourse, because I could
            > put any HD I want in it, if I had the money. The
            > real issue is that
            > Linux is not a real-time operating system. Its
            > simply the wrong solution
            > for this job. I'm not going to use windows, for
            > obvious reasons.
            >
            > My immediate plan is to put BeOS on the machine cuz
            > I have the disk on
            > hand. Unfortunately Microsoft killed Be Inc, so I
            > will probably switch
            > to QNX or some other real-time platform at some
            > point. Other options
            > include using DOS to boot the machine then run the
            > AI as a
            > self-supporting system providing its own OS
            > functionality.
            >
            >
            > These platform issues seem to be minor but I will
            > demonstrate their
            > importance presently.
            >
            > I have chosen a cybernetic approach to AI because it
            > makes the most
            > sense to me. I don't think I could work any other
            > approach. A cybernetic
            > approach is one that is based on a cybernetic loop
            > between actor and
            > object. Where the AI is designed in the context of a
            > problem to be solved.
            >
            > To develop an AI based on this approach one first
            > sets about to
            > construct a problem domain for the AI to work on.
            > For general AI one
            > requires an open problem space such as a box of
            > Legos. Today's computers
            > already come with a broad selection of software that
            > would be suitable
            > for this purpose. The problem then becomes how to
            > make it so that the AI
            > can see and use these applications just as the human
            > user does? One
            > would like to create a virtual desktop which is
            > mirrored to the physical
            > console and then have the AI take its input from
            > what it displays. On
            > this desktop the AI can run games and other
            > instructional software as
            > well as communicate with the human operator.
            >
            > The development of such a system is still very
            > chalenging as nobody
            > writes software to run in the configuration I just
            > described. This
            > problem is not insurmountable, it will only require
            > a great deal of
            > money. Here is where I make my make my first logical
            > step. I have
            > concluded that to get the money and resources I need
            > to develop the AI
            > training software I will need to launch a commercial
            > venture either
            > under an existing company or organization or as a
            > new business.
            >
            > So I start to sketch out a business plan. My idea
            > would be to produce AI
            > development tools. These would include software
            > adaptors to let the AI
            > use Mozilla or sumpfin as well as two lines of
            > robotic systems. The
            > first line would feature laboratory rigs that
            > include white-boxes for
            > controlling stimulii. In that system, the AI would
            > be given Fischer
            > Price toys to play with. It would have a camera and
            > a dexterous
            > high-feedback robotic arm. Basically a pre-fab
            > version of the type of
            > laboratory that has been in use for years...
            >
            > The higher line would be a mobile platform with a
            > big honkin on-board
            > computer and a dexterous manipulator.
            >
            > So how do I market this? Could I match expenses? The
            > market for the lab
            > equipment would be fairly narrow... Maybe a few
            > dozen universities would
            > buy it. Probably not enough to achieve an economy of
            > scale and make it
            > affordable to a broader market of hobyists and
            > entheuseasts. In other
            > words the hardware angle of the venture would not do
            > much to advance the
            > cause of AI develment.
            >
            > The software, however could be produced for
            > practically nothing. So what
            > kind of software would be able to make it big enough
            > to justify a
            > price-drop into hobyist teritory? The most advanced
            > AI available to
            > consumers today are in games such as Creatures and
            > "Black and White".
            > A game engine architected to support general AI
            > actors would be close to
            > ideal.
            >
            > The Sims Online is only the latest example. That
            > kind of game would be
            > great for teaching an AI to be good citizen. I,
            > however, have a great
            > bias against virtual communities beacuse it makes me
            > nervous that it
            > might one day gain a status above the real world,
            > creating a situation
            > inimical to someone, such as myself, who has an
            > interest in real-world
            > things. I used to have a "reality engine" project on
            > my website but I
            > withdrew it after reading Egan's Diaspora. So my
            > first choice would be
            > to go with a mobile platform or implement some
            > in-house application for
            > the job. No matter how attractive that approach is,
            > it is still most
            > problematic.
            >
            > om
            >
            > Software is too hard to develop. The curent state of
            > software is that
            > there are high barriers to entering the circle of
            > developers.
            > Furthermore once one has made a comittment to devel
            > software you are
            > faced with C++ which I have been told requires 7
            > years of daily
            > experience to truly master or with the nightmare of
            > getting a better
            > language to work with an operating system which is
            > literally built to
            > support C and C++. Switching to a better OS makes
            > things worse because
            > once you get out of the mainstream you can't find
            > support and you find
            > yourself having to write/port more of your
            > applications. While the OS
            > you choose may be much much better than linux (which
            > isn't hard at all)
            > such as BeOS your costs will go up because you have
            > to do alot more from
            > scratch.
            >
            > [damn, I'm having trouble writing streight today;
            > not enough sleap cuz
            > I've been downloading 5.5GB of leenooks over 56k...]
            >
            > YES, it is technically possible to nuckle under and
            > work linux. When one
            > thinks of an application such as the internet one
            > looks at the work and
            > what it takes to do the work. In all cases you want
            > to maximize the
            > ratio of work to overhead.
            >
            > Lets think of software as a pyramid. The simplest
            > softwarez are at the
            > bottom, and AI is the little point at the very
            > top...
            >
            > ^ < AI.
            > /_\ < applications.
            > /___\ < operating systems.
            > /_____\ < languages
            > /_______\ < raw computation.
            >
            > The ease of developing AI is a function of how well
            > the lower levels
            > support the next level. This isn't strictly the case
            > but given my state
            > of tiredness, it makes perfect sense. ;)
            >
            > To give you a better feel for what exactly is going
            > on here let me try,
            > in my over fatigued state, to relate the core of
            > what is going on here
            > through an anictdote that happened to me a week or
            > so ago.
            >
            > I have a long-time pen-pal, David G. Shreeves (
            > shreeves@... ). He has been a
            > Slackerware (linux) user
            > for many years and reccomends it highly. On his
            > advice, six months ago,
            > I had a friend of mine (who has DSL) burn me the
            > discs. He, most kindly,
            > provided me with all three disks. My HD had
            > reciently been slaughtered
            > by an asshole after 6 years of uninterupted
            > operation and I was in need
            > of a new OS. When I tried to install the OS, it
            > didn't work, it simply
            > couldn't handle the optimal configuration of my HD.
            > I asked around and
            > they told me that it was a bug in the kernel and the
            > work-around was to
            > change a setting in the BIOS to a lower setting and
            > later to recompile
            > the kernel with the correct driver.
            >
            > I use DOS as a benchmark for OS quality. Since this
            > problem _NEVER_
            > happens in DOS, linux is clearly inferior.
            >
            > So I was talking with Shreeves about it a few days
            > ago and he knew about
            > the bug too and suggested that its just a hacker's
            > OS and that these
            > inconveniences are minor.
            >
            > He, and many like him overlook a critical fact. That
            > being that the
            > _USER_, and in this case AI researcher, was forced
            > to take time and
            > mental resources AWAY from his work on AI to handle
            > these linux "quirks".
            >
            > While it is theoreticaly possible for someone to be
            > such a strong
            > programmer that he can put up with linux and still
            > have some time left
            > over on the weekends to solve the AI problem, I hope
            > the people
            > receiving this message will see that to be a real
            > problem. Humans are
            > finite creatures. You can't keep piling stuff on
            > them and expect them to
            > be just as fast.
            >
            > The burdeons of using linux have gotten to the point
            > that its
            > development has been thouroughly arrested by all the
            > cruft that has
            > built up around it.
            >
            > Our basic goal here is to make computing much easier
            > so that AI
            > researchers can jump right in and start working the
            > real problems of AI
            > rather than spending all their time and mental
            > resources getting their
            > flaming hard drives working. By making AI research
            > dramaticly easier to
            > accomplish we can dramaticly improve the chances
            > that someone out there
            > will "get it right", and that's a Good Thing (tm).
            >
            > The easier computing systems that I am talking about
            > already exist. One
            > of the most shining examples of these is the Squeak
            > environment. (
            > www.squeak.org ).
            >
            > The question now is, what is the killer app that can
            > bring Squeak into
            > the mainstream and encourage the open source
            > community to give it the
            > functionality that it needs to really succede
            > without having to make a
            > massive initial investment in that same
            > functionality?
            >
            > I think the answer is this:
            >
            >
            http://www.business2.com/articles/web/0,1653,45665,FF.html
            >
            > A game is not like traditional open source. Very few
            > people will work on
            > the real problems in the linux system, the core of
            > GNU software that it
            > is based on, because it is difficult and because, as
            > humans, they don't
            > have sufficient emotional motovation to work on such
            > projects.
            >
            > A MMORPG based on Squeak can solve that problem.
            > While the details of
            > the virtual world I propose are beyond the scope of
            > what I want to say
            > here. I feel that I have an excelant chance at being
            > extremely sucessful
            > in this venture. I will just have to set asside my
            > fears and go whole
            > hog on this because these on-line games have such an
            > enormous potential
            > for driving development of the cultural and
            > technical foundations of AI
            > development.
            >
            > The economic value of virtual communities is only
            > now beginning to be
            > realized. The on-line RPGs we see today are merely
            > experaments to find
            > the right set of concepts that will make it big. I
            > can project from the
            > recient trends in the field and I am very confidient
            > in my ability to
            > design a virtual world with great potential.
            >
            > I know how to do it.
            >
            > I do face a significant challenge in getting it off
            > the ground. While it
            > has a clear mission, its qualities as a piece of
            > software are not
            > readily apparent. Investors have been mistaking
            > complexity for
            > sophistication for quite a while now and I don't see
            > that changing any
            > time soon. They will look at the Squeak package and
            > won't see its true
            > value because it looks too simple to them. ;)
            >
            > The Virtual world I propose, the first generation at
            > least, is quite
            > obnoxious in that it will be a simple 2-D system. It
            > is 2-D for very
            > good reasons but investors will look at it and balk.
            > =(
            >
            > For an AI focused institution they will look at it
            > and say "What value
            > does this bring us? It has nothing to do with AI!"
            > While, on the
            > surface, they would be right, they will fail to see
            > that promoting the
            > virtual world I here propose, is what I call an
            > "indispensible luxury".
            > Its something that you don't really really need, but
            > is a real pain in
            > the butt to do without. Let me try to sumarize the
            > payoff here. Squeak
            > today is a wonderful system but it is immature and
            > not yet sufficient
            > for major projects. Today's operating systems have a
            > massive ammount of
            > inertia behind them and that won't change unless
            > major effort is put
            > into displacing them.
            >
            > Through the virtual world squeak can become a major
            > factor in the future
            > of computing. In five to seven years, my virtual
            > world system can be in
            > a position to begin to displace these entrenched
            > monopolies. The payoff
            > comes on the day when system administrators are
            > fired because the
            > computers are simple enough for even the boss to
            > configure. ;) The
            > payoff comes when all the hours spent maintaining a
            > windows or linux
            > installation and doing day-to-day chores can be put
            > into pushing the
            > frontiers of the art. While all this liberated
            > effort won't be going
            > into AI directly, it will be put into software that
            > AI researchers will
            > use in their daily work and thereby form the
            > foundation on which AI will
            > be built.
            >
            > It is apparent to me that AI is, and has been for
            > some time, strictly a
            > software problem. The time it will take to solve
            > this software problem
            > will depend on how much overhead and complexity the
            > AI researcher has to
            > deal wtith _BEFORE_ beginning his work.
            >
            > WE CAN MOVE THE SINGULARITY FORWARD BY YEARS JUST BY
            > FIXING THE PROBLEMS
            > WITH TODAY'S SOFTWARE.
            >
            > om
            >
            > In conclusion, I am about to go against my
            > reservations and fears and
            > plunge head-long into a virtual world project
            > because I beleive, by this
            > convoluted logic, that it is vital to advancing the
            > development of AI.
            >
            > Bottom line: I need $5,000,000 to start, and another
            > $10,000,000 to go
            > on-line.
            >
            >
            > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
            >
            artificialintelligencegroup-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
            >
            >
            >
            > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
            > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
            >
            >


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          • Jim Bromer
            ... Although I feel that there is merit to scepticism, I don t agree with your conclusion regarding the possible development of AI. I had the feeling that you
            Message 5 of 11 , Nov 29, 2002
              --- In artificialintelligencegroup@y..., "Shital Shah" <sytelus@y...>
              wrote:
              >Sorry to say this but this email doesn't have substance. You haven't
              >researched in to problem you will be trying to solve, let alone the
              >algorithm for "AI". And you are trying to decide on OS and business
              >plan and have finance venture! Not to hurt your enthusiasms but it's
              >funny. I believe it's not really possible to develop an human-
              >like "AI" system by
              >trying to solve a single problem. You will need to create theaories,
              >proofs and solid algorithms. Lots of people have wasted their life by
              >writing ad-hoc code that looks smart to solve one single problem.
              >Don't be the one of them!
              >
              > Regards,
              > Shital.
              > http://www.ShitalShah.com

              Although I feel that there is merit to scepticism, I don't agree with
              your conclusion regarding the possible development of AI. I had the
              feeling that you might be suggesting that AI wouldn't be advanced by
              writing ad-hoc code but through the construction of formal theories.
              If that is indeed similar to your thinking on the subject, I would
              point out that Thomas Edison was once quoted as saying that, 'Genius
              was two-percent inspiration and ninety-eight percent perspiration.'
              Whether AI is advanced through formal theories or by writing code,
              that advancement will come at the cost of a lot of hard work. And
              that much of that work will consist of a great deal ad-hoc trial and
              error.
              Jim Bromer
            • Shital Shah
              We should be doing AI rather then talking about how it should be done but now because this has came up may be I should spent sometime in this
              Message 6 of 11 , Nov 29, 2002
                We should be doing "AI" rather then talking about how it should be done
                but now because this has came up may be I should spent sometime in this
                not-so-productive talks. I'd chance to review lot of work done in "AI"
                (quotes are intentional) and saw the huge effort spent in writing really
                clever programs that solves single problem domains such as those written
                at MIT AI labs. I guess much of this were pure ad-hoc, trial and error,
                create patches and seal the holes type of programs. In the long run, it
                does the job but what we achieved out of it? Can I generalize those
                techniques and use it elsewhere? Answer is no because entire program is
                so narrowly focused, messy and structureless. Every time you get a
                complex problem, spend a year to write few thousand lines, fix it every
                now and then and when you get the next new problem, you start over
                again. Many bright people have wasted their lives doing this and we need
                not be the one. As you have pointed out, Edison was much of the trial
                and error man and he tested over 1000 material to decide on bulb
                filament. But your analogy is apparently flawed when it comes to AI
                systems. Euclid didn't wrote Elements out of trial and errors. Neither
                did Newton created Principia by trial and error. And do not the
                principles of Relativity came out of randomness by Einstein. These were
                some of the best, carefully crafted, well planned work done by the power
                of very firm undeniable and tactical logic. Without building these kind
                of firm logical grounds, solving a problem is like walking in a dark
                room, keep moving and hoping to find door in a long run. Even if you do
                find a door, you don't know why you did.


                Regards,
                Shital.
                http://www.ShitalShah.com

                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                I am always prepared to recognize that there can be two points of view,
                mine, and the one that's probably wrong.

                John Gorton.-
                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                -----Original Message-----
                From: Jim Bromer [mailto:jbromer@...]
                Sent: Friday, November 29, 2002 4:27 PM
                To: artificialintelligencegroup@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [Artificial Intelligence Group] An idea for promoting AI
                development.


                --- In artificialintelligencegroup@y..., "Shital Shah" <sytelus@y...>
                wrote:
                >Sorry to say this but this email doesn't have substance. You haven't
                >researched in to problem you will be trying to solve, let alone the
                >algorithm for "AI". And you are trying to decide on OS and business
                >plan and have finance venture! Not to hurt your enthusiasms but it's
                >funny. I believe it's not really possible to develop an human- like
                >"AI" system by trying to solve a single problem. You will need to
                >create theaories, proofs and solid algorithms. Lots of people have
                >wasted their life by writing ad-hoc code that looks smart to solve one
                >single problem. Don't be the one of them!
                >
                > Regards,
                > Shital.
                > http://www.ShitalShah.com

                Although I feel that there is merit to scepticism, I don't agree with
                your conclusion regarding the possible development of AI. I had the
                feeling that you might be suggesting that AI wouldn't be advanced by
                writing ad-hoc code but through the construction of formal theories.
                If that is indeed similar to your thinking on the subject, I would
                point out that Thomas Edison was once quoted as saying that, 'Genius
                was two-percent inspiration and ninety-eight percent perspiration.'
                Whether AI is advanced through formal theories or by writing code,
                that advancement will come at the cost of a lot of hard work. And
                that much of that work will consist of a great deal ad-hoc trial and
                error.
                Jim Bromer


                To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                artificialintelligencegroup-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com



                Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
              • Jim Bromer
                ... but now because this has came up may be I should spent sometime in ... kind ... I believe that smart theorists have to work on a trial and error method
                Message 7 of 11 , Nov 30, 2002
                  >From: "Shital Shah" <sytelus@y...>
                  >Date: Fri Nov 29, 2002 6:59 pm
                  >Subject: RE: [Artificial Intelligence Group] An idea for promoting
                  >AI development.

                  >We should be doing "AI" rather then talking about how it should be
                  >done
                  but now because this has came up may be I should spent sometime in
                  >this
                  >not-so-productive talks. I'd chance to review lot of work done
                  >in "AI"
                  > (quotes are intentional) and saw the huge effort spent in writing
                  >really
                  >clever programs that solves single problem domains such as those
                  >written
                  >at MIT AI labs. I guess much of this were pure ad-hoc, trial and
                  >error,
                  >create patches and seal the holes type of programs. In the long run,
                  >it
                  >does the job but what we achieved out of it? Can I generalize those
                  >techniques and use it elsewhere? Answer is no because entire program
                  >is
                  >so narrowly focused, messy and structureless. Every time you get a
                  >complex problem, spend a year to write few thousand lines, fix it
                  >every
                  >now and then and when you get the next new problem, you start over
                  >again. Many bright people have wasted their lives doing this and we
                  >need
                  >not be the one. As you have pointed out, Edison was much of the trial
                  >and error man and he tested over 1000 material to decide on bulb
                  >filament. But your analogy is apparently flawed when it comes to AI
                  >systems. Euclid didn't wrote Elements out of trial and errors.
                  >Neither
                  >did Newton created Principia by trial and error. And do not the
                  >principles of Relativity came out of randomness by Einstein. These
                  >were
                  >some of the best, carefully crafted, well planned work done by the
                  >power
                  >of very firm undeniable and tactical logic. Without building these
                  kind
                  >of firm logical grounds, solving a problem is like walking in a dark
                  >room, keep moving and hoping to find door in a long run. Even if you
                  >do
                  >find a door, you don't know why you did.


                  >Regards,
                  >Shital.
                  >http://www.ShitalShah.com


                  I believe that smart theorists have to work on a trial and error
                  method just like the rest of us. Eienstein once said something to
                  the effect that he only had two original ideas in his life. (The
                  general theory of relativity and the special theory of relativity.)
                  Does that sound like a demi-god who never made mistakes? Newton was
                  a trial and error guy as well. His insights about optics, for
                  example, was the result of a lot of hard work he did with a variety
                  of lenses.

                  Emphasis on: a lot of work.

                  While I agree that continuing this argument is a waste of time I
                  appreciate your willingness to express your ideas.

                  I don't think that narrow domain problems are likely to be very
                  productive in the effort to develop solutions to the problems of
                  general learning. However, I do believe that if general learning
                  algorithms can be used successfully with a variety of problems in one
                  media, modified versions of the algorithms should be generalizable to
                  other input-output domains.

                  Jim Bromer
                • Jim Bromer
                  ... I just wanted to correct my misspelling and rephrase my thought. Einstein s theories did not just appear out of the blue. I believe that the development of
                  Message 8 of 11 , Nov 30, 2002
                    > Eienstein once said something to
                    > the effect that he only had two original ideas in his life. (The
                    > general theory of relativity and the special theory of
                    > relativity.)
                    > Does that sound like a demi-god who never made mistakes?

                    I just wanted to correct my misspelling and rephrase my thought.

                    Einstein's theories did not just appear out of the blue. I believe
                    that the development of a good theory requires a lot of hard work,
                    much of which must be accomplished through ad-hoc modifications as
                    necessary.

                    Jim Bromer
                  • Troy Kelley
                    ... From: Shital Shah To: artificialintelligencegroup@yahoogroups.com Sent: Friday, November 29, 2002 3:59 PM Subject: RE: [Artificial Intelligence Group] An
                    Message 9 of 11 , Dec 1, 2002
                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: Shital Shah
                      To: artificialintelligencegroup@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Friday, November 29, 2002 3:59 PM
                      Subject: RE: [Artificial Intelligence Group] An idea for promoting AI development.


                      We should be doing "AI" rather then talking about how it should be done
                      but now because this has came up may be I should spent sometime in this
                      not-so-productive talks. I'd chance to review lot of work done in "AI"
                      (quotes are intentional) and saw the huge effort spent in writing really
                      clever programs that solves single problem domains such as those written
                      at MIT AI labs.


                      --------------------
                      This is basically the single task, context specific problem that keeps coming back to haunt AI and psychology as well. Psychologists have also found that people behave very differently if you change just one small parameter of their task environment. In other words, their behavior is greatly tied to the situation and if you change the situation even slightly, you get different behavior. More importantly, the mechanisms psychologists use to explain behavior (short term memory, long term memory, emotions.. ) also vary greatly when the task changes even in small ways.

                      I think this is a problem with the interaction of symbolic systems and subsymbolic systems. AI is approaching the problem from a subsymbolic paradigm and psychology is approaching the problem from a symbolic paradigm, and it is the integration of these two paradigms which will help to solve this context specific problem. However, it is not quite that simple, it takes the right mix of each paradigm in order to solve the kinds of problems that humans, and many animals, solve every day. There must be just the right mix of subsymbolic systems, which are variable structures, and symbolic systems, which are hard wired structures, in order to achieve intelligent behavior.

                      Troy


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Troy Kelley
                      The real issue is that Linux is not a real-time operating system. Its simply the wrong solution for this job. I m not going to use windows, for obvious
                      Message 10 of 11 , Dec 1, 2002
                        The real issue is that
                        Linux is not a real-time operating system. Its simply the wrong solution
                        for this job. I'm not going to use windows, for obvious reasons.
                        --------------

                        I don't understand this.. most computers operate faster than brain neurons irrespective of the OS. I would imagine that Linux is real-time "enough" for most AI problems.
                        ---------------

                        I have chosen a cybernetic approach to AI because it makes the most
                        sense to me. I don't think I could work any other approach. A cybernetic
                        approach is one that is based on a cybernetic loop between actor and
                        object. Where the AI is designed in the context of a problem to be solved.

                        To develop an AI based on this approach one first sets about to
                        construct a problem domain for the AI to work on. For general AI one
                        requires an open problem space such as a box of Legos. Today's computers
                        already come with a broad selection of software that would be suitable
                        for this purpose. The problem then becomes how to make it so that the AI
                        can see and use these applications just as the human user does? One
                        would like to create a virtual desktop which is mirrored to the physical
                        console and then have the AI take its input from what it displays. On
                        this desktop the AI can run games and other instructional software as
                        well as communicate with the human operator.
                        -----

                        Good idea. The human interaction is critical.

                        I also think a computer that controls a house would be a good way to get it to interact with a person and is probably going to be a market of the future. There is also a company, X10 I think, that makes a lot of home automation supplies.

                        -------------

                        So how do I market this? Could I match expenses? The market for the lab
                        equipment would be fairly narrow... Maybe a few dozen universities would
                        buy it. Probably not enough to achieve an economy of scale and make it
                        affordable to a broader market of hobyists and entheuseasts. In other
                        words the hardware angle of the venture would not do much to advance the
                        cause of AI develment.
                        ----------

                        It would be difficult to market. The only practical AI things I have seen lately are a robotic lawn mower, and a robotic vacuum cleaner. Both basically use the same programming ideas to get the job done.

                        ---------------
                        The software, however could be produced for practically nothing. So what
                        kind of software would be able to make it big enough to justify a
                        price-drop into hobyist teritory? The most advanced AI available to
                        consumers today are in games such as Creatures and "Black and White".
                        A game engine architected to support general AI actors would be close to
                        ideal.

                        The Sims Online is only the latest example. That kind of game would be
                        great for teaching an AI to be good citizen. I, however, have a great
                        bias against virtual communities beacuse it makes me nervous that it
                        might one day gain a status above the real world, creating a situation
                        inimical to someone, such as myself, who has an interest in real-world
                        things. I used to have a "reality engine" project on my website but I
                        withdrew it after reading Egan's Diaspora. So my first choice would be
                        to go with a mobile platform or implement some in-house application for
                        the job. No matter how attractive that approach is, it is still most
                        problematic.
                        -----------

                        The lego's mindstorms products seem to be doing well. I have been meaning to buy one for awhile. That could be a marketing angle as well.

                        om

                        Software is too hard to develop. The curent state of software is that
                        there are high barriers to entering the circle of developers.
                        Furthermore once one has made a comittment to devel software you are
                        faced with C++ which I have been told requires 7 years of daily
                        experience to truly master or with the nightmare of getting a better
                        language to work with an operating system which is literally built to
                        support C and C++.
                        ---------
                        Probably closer to 10 years.. at least that is what most psychologists would say.

                        However, a strong proficiency in some kind of language is critical to developing AI. Just think - the genetic code for every creature is quite extensive - you need just as many lines of code, if not more, for a revolutionary AI contribution.


                        Troy
                        -----------




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                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Jim Bromer
                        ... plan ... funny. I ... system by ... by ... Don t ... At first I first disagreed with Shital s thoughts, but as I thought more about it I realized that am
                        Message 11 of 11 , Dec 4, 2002
                          --- In artificialintelligencegroup@y..., "Shital Shah" <sytelus@y...>
                          wrote:
                          > Sorry to say this but this email doesn't have substance. You haven't
                          > researched in to problem you will be trying to solve, let alone the
                          > algorithm for "AI". And you are trying to decide on OS and business
                          plan
                          > and have finance venture! Not to hurt your enthusiasms but it's
                          funny. I
                          > believe it's not really possible to develop an human-like "AI"
                          system by
                          > trying to solve a single problem. You will need to create theaories,
                          > proofs and solid algorithms. Lots of people have wasted their life
                          by
                          > writing ad-hoc code that looks smart to solve one single problem.
                          Don't
                          > be the one of them!
                          >
                          > Regards,
                          > Shital.
                          > http://www.ShitalShah.com
                          >
                          At first I first disagreed with Shital's thoughts, but as I thought
                          more about it I realized that am indeed developing my own theories
                          about cognition and AI. However, my theories about cognition don't
                          constitute a traditional logical collection of ideas where solid
                          proofs are possible because I do not believe that the nature of
                          intelligence is strongly logical. I realize that we use logic, its
                          just that our knowledge cannot be expressed in a pure deductive
                          system. You can not find a solid proof before you have solved the
                          problem being considered, and even if you do solve the problem, the
                          proofs may necessarily be weak.
                          Jim Bromer
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