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AI

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  • Mike Beedle
    Just sharing some views on distributed AI, and trying to get some support against using XML as a good technology to do this, - Mike AI made The Economist
    Message 1 of 6 , Apr 1 2:58 PM
      Just sharing some views on distributed AI, and trying to get some
      support against using XML as a good technology to do this,

      - Mike


      AI made The Economist recently.
      http://www.economist.com/science/tq/displayStory.cfm?story_id=1020789
      and The Economist predicts a strong future AI prescience:

      Why is this interesting? Because, by definition if The Economist
      plays to it... it has to be big enough, at least in perception.

      These are some of the drivers:

      1) "The semantic Web" and related technologies:
      http://www.sciam.com/2001/0501issue/0501berners-lee.html
      http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/
      http://www.semanticweb.org/
      http://www.w3.org/RDF/

      2) Darpa with DAML:
      http://www.daml.org/

      3) Microsoft with .NET, check:
      Actively advertising "intelligent" technologies.
      http://www.gotdotnet.com/terrarium/
      http://www.gotdotnet.com

      4) Intelligence required for B2B, ebXML, RosettaNet, EAI, etc.
      http://www.rosettanet.org/rosettanet/Rooms/DisplayPages/LayoutInitial
      http://www.ebxml.org/
      etc.
      EAI/Workflow: App Servers, EAI, Queues (MQ, Open JMS, etc.), Web Services,
      Workflow, and Business Process Management (Vitria, etc.)

      5) IBM's biggest iron is advertised as "intelligent":
      http://www-1.ibm.com/servers/eserver/introducing/eliza/

      6) Lifestreams, Linda on the Web, etc.; all requiring some basic
      AI techniques like pattern-matching, and distributed agents that
      know about ontologies.

      So, AI seems to be coming back from many but _major_ different areas:

      IBM,
      Gates/Microsoft,
      Darpa,
      W3C,
      Gelertner,
      Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of HTTP/HTML)
      Business Standards (B2B, ebXML, EAI, RosettaNET, etc.)
      Research Projects (aLife, Biological Metaphors, Digital Life)
      etc.

      But help me cut through some Gordian Knots... why does AI have to
      be implemented through RPC, client-server, XMLish technologies, that:

      1) have many layers of bloat (serializations/deserializations),
      2) bring discomfort and confusion by introducing
      "disconnected layered languages", and
      3) don't have the appropriate semantics, facilities, libraries
      and power to do AI jobs?

      As early as 1975, (written in 1975, published in 1982), "intelligent"
      business exchanges have been proposed like the "The Common Business
      Communication Language":
      http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/cbcl2/cbcl2.html

      where basic exchanges like:

      (REQUEST-QUOTE (ADJECTIVE (PENCILS #2) YELLOW)
      (GROSS 100))

      have replies like:

      (WE-QUOTE (OUR-STOCK-NUMBER A7305)
      (QUANTITY 100)
      (DELIVERY-DATE 3-10-77)
      (PRICE $1.00))

      Even KQML and other ACLs are LISP-like.

      You can also do this with X12 and now XML, but using a LISP-like syntax,
      we can _also_ send rules, computable things (classes, functions, patterns,
      etc.), do pattern-matching, send/share ontologies, do knowledge exchanges,
      etc. So, imo, the infrastructure that LISP provides is superior
      to do AI because it:

      1) provides a larger number of existing resources available: libraries,
      programs, etc.; for:

      a) knowledge representation
      b) reasoning
      c) logical programming
      d) expert systems
      e) genetic programming
      f) game playing (plans, strategies, intentions, actions, etc.)
      g) parsing natural languages
      etc.

      this is important we want to implement:

      a) voting
      b) auctions
      c) coalitions
      d) negotiation
      e) bidding/awarding
      etc.

      2) requires the least amount of conversions
      (serialization/deserialization) when the app servers are
      LISP based

      3) provides the greater amount of computational power
      and flexibility

      4) it is more intuitive since the parsing language can be
      the same as the exchange language.

      To me, it doesn't make any sense to reinvent the AI wheel with
      XMLish technologies ..... this may in fact contribute
      to the second commercial failure of AI,

      - Mike
    • Logan, Patrick D
      Thanks for all that great information, Mike. Another entry high on my list is Understanding Computers and Cognition, Winograd and Flores.
      Message 2 of 6 , Apr 2 6:55 AM
        Thanks for all that great information, Mike.

        Another entry high on my list is Understanding Computers and Cognition,
        Winograd and Flores.

        http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0201112973/qid=1017757360/sr=1-2/ref=
        sr_1_2/104-1193081-9073537

        Regarding what's happening with AI and the current XML & RPC technologies...
        I wonder if there is some value in looking at this in a static vs. dynamic
        dichotomoty. Kind of a "BIG AI UP FRONT" vs. "DO THE SIMPLEST AI THAT COULD
        POSSIBLY WORK" dichotomy?

        The latter can be seen in this collection of papers, Cambrian Intelligence
        by Rodney Brooks...

        http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0262522632/qid=1017757865/sr=2-2/ref=
        sr_2_2/104-1193081-9073537

        XML technologies in general seem to fit in those two buckets, static and
        dynamic. Some uses of XML appear to be "HEAVYWEIGHT XML". More complicated
        uses of SOAP, WSDL, UDDI, etc. Maybe RDF, but I have not read too much about
        it. "LIGHTWEIGHT XML" could include XML-RPC, etc.

        In general each generation of software technology seems to reinvent a lot of
        ideas, for better or worse. Rather than build the same ideas into the
        current layers of technology (DotNet, Java, SOAP, XSD Schema, HTTP, etc.)
        maybe it would be useful to view these technologies as a "NEW ASSEMBLER
        LANGUAGE"?

        Instead of PDP-11 assembler or worse, and building from the bits up, we get
        to build a new dynamic base on top of some fairly powerful components.
        Rather than building "In Java", we get to build "On Java". I've been doing a
        good bit of programming in JScheme, which is "On Java" and so can take
        advantage of every Java class on the Internet. It has a simple syntax using
        Java reflection to make this simple and painless. Java and all those classes
        are the assembler language. (To the point where JScheme code can be
        "compiled" to a .class to remove the reflection overhead.)

        The result is powerful *and* lightweight. I think the simplest AI that could
        possibly work could be built on this platform. Perhaps more emphasis is
        required on simplicity, pulling us up out of the complexity of the current
        popular technology. Today's technology is some much better than yesterday's,
        I think we forget how complex it *still* is nevertheless!

        -Patrick Logan
      • patrickdlogan
        Understanding Computers and Cognition Winograd and Flores. Using MakeAShorterLink... http://makeashorterlink.com/?I34A12E9 Cambrian Intelligence Rodney Brooks
        Message 3 of 6 , Apr 2 8:39 AM
          Understanding Computers and Cognition
          Winograd and Flores.

          Using MakeAShorterLink...
          http://makeashorterlink.com/?I34A12E9

          Cambrian Intelligence
          Rodney Brooks

          Using MakeAShorterLink...
          http://makeashorterlink.com/?U25A22E9
        • Mike Beedle
          Patrick D. Logan wrote: [snip] ... [snip] Patrick: Thanks for the links. I do believe in evolutionary design but I don t believe in choosing the wrong tool
          Message 4 of 6 , Apr 3 7:46 AM
            Patrick D. Logan wrote:
            [snip]
            > Regarding what's happening with AI and the current XML & RPC
            > technologies... I wonder if there is some value
            > in looking at this in a static vs. dynamic dichotomoty.
            > Kind of a "BIG AI UP FRONT" vs. "DO THE SIMPLEST AI
            > THAT COULD POSSIBLY WORK" dichotomy?
            >
            > The latter can be seen in this collection of papers,
            > Cambrian Intelligence by Rodney Brooks...
            >
            > http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0262522632/qid=1017757865/s
            > r=2-2/ref=
            > sr_2_2/104-1193081-9073537
            >
            > XML technologies in general seem to fit in those two buckets,
            > static and dynamic. Some uses of XML appear to be
            > "HEAVYWEIGHT XML". More complicated uses of SOAP, WSDL,
            > UDDI, etc. Maybe RDF, but I have not read too
            > much about it. "LIGHTWEIGHT XML" could include XML-RPC, etc.
            [snip]

            Patrick:

            Thanks for the links.

            I do believe in "evolutionary" design but I don't believe
            in "choosing the wrong tool for the job".

            The major problems, that I see, are related to constraining
            the very thing we are proposing in the first place
            (distributed AI) from the get-go -- and with no clear ways
            to fix them.

            For example, you can't do mobility because you can't migrate
            an agent, or any "executing" part of an agent through DAML
            to another location because you can't send functions,
            classes, patterns, rules, etc. This means no
            "genetic programming" over the network, for example; no
            true distributed BPM (business process management), where
            the workflows, and the business and workflow rules travel
            and compete and execute elsewhere; no ontologies rules dynamically
            installed "as is" by being transferred over the network; etc.

            I could go on, and on, and on.

            10 years down the road I have a strong feeling we _will_
            want to do something else, more advanced, but then we
            will realize that we chose the wrong paradigm to implement
            "distributed AI". Our code will look ugly, messy and it
            will be a nightmare to debug. The equivalent AI knowledge
            in terms of code and libraries will be "unusable" and
            only a small fraction of it will be reproduced in
            the "Semantic Web". But worse of all, we won't have a
            way to go. Once you choose XMLish technologies your
            only programming choice, to be able to do mobility or
            such, is to put XSLT on steroids (Yuck!!).... make
            it do what LISP does so to speak.

            I personally don't like to see that future. I think we
            can do much better than that:

            we already have the tools...

            They are just not all that popular.

            The way I make this comparison, is as if you asked
            someone to choose between a free, available, 1958
            Porsche with a good engine still; or an expensive
            1991 skateboard needing a small gas engine to
            run up to 30 mph. that is hard to use and that
            includes no safety warranties. (I like this analogy
            because no matter what you do, you won't be able
            to fit a much larger engine on the skateboard...)

            Which of the two would rather take out for a drive?

            - Mike
          • patrickdlogan
            ... I am with you and the 1958 Porsche to ride alongside the skateboard.
            Message 5 of 6 , Apr 4 8:23 AM
              --- In feyerabend-project@y..., "Mike Beedle" <beedlem@e...> wrote:
              >
              > Which of the two would rather take out for a drive?

              I am with you and the 1958 Porsche to ride alongside the skateboard.
            • Mike Beedle
              ... Patrick: These are good examples of such fast running vehicles. This _is_ the semantic web now ... All of these applications are INTERNET killer apps
              Message 6 of 6 , Apr 7 4:27 AM
                Patrick wrote:
                > >
                > > Which of the two would rather take out for a drive?
                >
                > I am with you and the 1958 Porsche to ride alongside the skateboard.

                Patrick:

                These are good examples of such "fast running" vehicles.

                This _is_ the "semantic web" now ... All of these applications
                are INTERNET killer apps built on LISP and I doubt any
                of the upcoming "semantic web" apps could ever do better than
                this in functionality, performance, maintainability, features, etc.:

                ITA/Orbitz:
                http://www.itasoftware.com/
                http://www.paulgraham.com/carl.html
                http://www.franz.com/success/customer_apps/data_mining/itastory.lhtml

                Yahoo Stores (was Viacom):
                http://www.paulgraham.com/lib/paulgraham/sec.txt
                http://www.paulgraham.com/lib/paulgraham/bbnexcerpts.txt

                Overture:
                http://www.franz.com/success/customer_apps/data_mining/cadabra.lhtml
                http://www.overture.com/

                Ascent:
                http://www.franz.com/success/customer_apps/scheduling/ascent.lhtml
                http://www.ascent.com/

                Northwest Airlines:
                http://www.franz.com/success/customer_apps/scheduling/nwa.lhtml

                British Telecom:
                http://www.franz.com/success/customer_apps/it_management/btlabs.lhtml

                Fujitsu's INTERSTAGE AGENTPRO:
                http://www.franz.com/success/customer_apps/intelligent_agents/
                http://software.fujitsu.com/en/INTERSTAGE/products/as/seihin_joho/agentpro/a
                gentpro.html

                FAQFinder
                http://www.franz.com/success/customer_apps/natural_language/uchicago.lhtml
                http://www.ics.uci.edu/~burke/faqfinder/

                etc.

                There's a few more ....

                - Mike
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