From: Greg A (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Apr 03 2000 - 03:11:36 MDT
I just tried to compose a message to sum the Big Idea up neatly, and after
about 1200 words I realized that it was ridiculous to think that I could
just rattle off a short version of it unless you all had the same background
That means the explanation is going to be long... REALLY long (in the
Yudkowsky sense... just kidding, Eliezer). It also means that it's going to
be necessary if we're going to get the world interested at all. You all have
to understand it as well as I do for it to sound like anything other than
more-of-the-same .com marketing hype.
To me, if I'm right, this breakthrough represents the discovery of a New
World in much the same way the Americas did in 15th century -- it's awfully
big to miss, we won't be able to imagine why we didn't come across it
sooner, and it takes one crazy dude to be that far out there in the first
On a more practical level, it's like the discovery of the America's because
there's plenty of room for everyone who wants to come over, and
near-limitless wealth to be had by those with the courage to do so.
I was in a big rush to get the idea out because this seems like the kind of
thing that more than one person "discovers" at approximately the same time,
and I don't want anyone trying to control this knowledge. Attempting to
patent this idea would be impractical, anyway, and it would probably array
the entire existing computing industry against us. Better to point, yell,
and run as fast as we can to stake out the best spots ahead of the crowd.
I'll be busy the next couple days, but part of what I have to do is get most
of the company caught up with what I'm talking about. To do that, I have to
tell the whole story from the beginning, and I'll be prepared to share it
with you guys when I'm done explaining it inside corporate walls.
To avoid the speculation getting too wild, this really isn't all that
amazing in the sense of anything magical or other-worldly. Just a semi-novel
insight and some practical applications of it.
Nonetheless, the impact on society should be extraordinary.
Try not to pay too much attention to the marketing we'll be spouting this
week. It's hyper-hype so that we can be perceived as a signal against
background industry marketing noise. It will mostly be designed for
linguistic shock effect to pave the way for a new perspective using what
I've started to call "assault memes."
Wish me luck, gentlemen. I'll get back to you soon.
P.S. If anyone objects to me discussing this topic here, I am happy to move
it to a private email list forum. Let me know.
Chief Executive Officer
Fact Technologies LLC
Giving Business A Mind Of Its Own.(TM)
----- Original Message -----
From: "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <email@example.com>
Sent: Sunday, April 02, 2000 4:51 PM
Subject: Re: [SL4] washington post article
> Greg A wrote:
> > The key element that I think you're missing, Eliezer, (and which I don't
> > blame you for, since it's intentionally withheld in the preliminary
> > announcement) is the (relatively) novel concept (at 30 hours old) of the
> > semantic network. This only makes sense if you read this:
> FYI: "Semantic network" is a term going back for forty or fifty years
> of classical AI. It has a long and hated history. If you mean
> something different, I *strongly* advise you, from a PR perspective, to
> pick a different name.
> > http://www.intelligententerprise.com/9811/online2.shtml
> > particularly the mathematical concept of "projection." Dr. Codd noticed
> > in 1969. I noticed it in 1999. I understood it about 10 days ago, and I
> > across the Codd paper (while search for the name of SQL's inventor and
> > date of origin) on Friday morning. That killed the last of my doubt.
> Well, either I have not understood your proposed use of "projections",
> or I have failed to notice projections entirely.
> > My non-linguistic math sucks. I'm sure you guys can see much bigger
> > implications after you see the link I'm talking about.
> > The essence of my idea (quickly maturing into a theory) is that the Codd
> > concept of projection is/(can be) equivalent to semantic meaning in
> > fact-based computation involving human beings.
> What kind of meaning? I use an RNUI-like scale to describe what I would
> call "representational bindings" or "semantic bindings", i.e. the degree
> to which a model represents reality.
> 1) Sensory binding. This occurs when elements of the model covary with
> elements of the external world (from a programming perspective, when
> they covary with incoming data from a sensory device).
> 2) Predictive binding. This occurs when you can use the model to
> predict what the incoming data will be.
> 3) Decisive binding. This occurs when you can use the model to
> influence external reality; that is, when you can select, of three
> possible actions, the one which will result in the most desired result
> (as incoming data).
> 4) Specifiable binding. (Or "manipulative" binding.) This occurs when
> you can start with a desired external result, and notice/invent an
> action or actions which will lead to that result ("external result" ==
> incoming data from a sensory device). The three sublevels of
> specifiable binding are qualitative, when the desired outcome is
> selected from the members of a finite set (more or less the same as a
> decisive binding); quantitative, when the desired outcome is an integer
> or real number (thus, blind search through the space of possible actions
> could never suffice to reach the desired outcome); and structural - that
> is, the specified result may consist of multiple interconnected
> If an intelligence has a representation with a structural specifiable
> binding, fully integrated with the goal system, and hierarchically
> integrated so that sub-elements of a specifiable system can be treated
> as subproblems in another specifiable prepresentation, then this is what
> we call "intelligent design". That is, this is how we get from the
> problem of "high-speed travel" to visualizing a bicycle to designing
> wheels and gears and all the little pieces to machining the parts.
> > [NOTE: There are lots of interesting fallout implications here, but I'm
> > trying to excite the world about the business implications first before
> > figure these out. SL4 is a suitably rarefied atmosphere for exploration
> > the deeper meaning in an attention-secure arena.]
> By which I assume you mean that none of your business rivals are paying
> attention, although they easily could be.
> > What THAT means, is that a team of links humans sharing fact-based data
> > perform fact-based computations much better than a pure machine will for
> > foreseeable future (i.e. the next 30 days).
> Translate, translate... "If you can use humans as primitive operations,
> you can build a 'computer program' that does cool stuff."
> > Welcome to the New World of Computing, everyone. Check what I'm saying.
> > Follow the links. Decide whether I'm crazy or genius or both, and let me
> > know.
> I followed the link. You've still lost me.
> > "Essential humanity" means what's left over as uniquely human here in
> > New World. I'm hoping it will largely be the good stuff, since the good
> > have built the first cybersocial weapon with potentially planetary scale
> > effect. I think we can stay ahead of the bad guys for long enough to
> > not matter, mainly because the bad guys won't WANT to understand what
> > talking about.
> Bill Joy wants to understand. It might work for a year, but not a
> decade. And you'd be amazed at what people are willing to understand if
> it'll make them a buck.
> What's a "cybersocial weapon"? Is that like a collaborative filtering
> mechanism designed to track movements in opinion space and steer
> participants to desired foci? (I.e., is that like a massive Web-rating
> system designed to track which pages are effective at converting
> Democrats to Republicans and steer Democrats to those pages?) I tend to
> view that sort of thing as morally unacceptable except as a special
> consequence of a morally acceptable system (i.e. a web-rating system
> which steers people to opinion-changing pages, regardless of creed).
> > If that's not good news to this group (particularly in light of Mr. Bill
> > Joy's recent Wired article), I don't know what will be.
> > REQUEST FOR INACTION: Although this idea is revolutionary, I would very
> > appreciate it if nobody took the perceived connection outside this list
> > now. I am declaring this idea humanity's first un-patent (i.e.
> > idea), in the tradition of copyleft, and Fact Technologies doesn't need
> > get involved in expensive legal games at this hypercritical early stage
> > the process. I'm counting on you guys for support in effecting this
> > explosion, so please prove to me that my decision to trust you was
> Um, please be aware that SL4 is an uncontrolled list. I do not approve
> subscriptions, as I do with the Singularitarian list. Anyone could be
> firstname.lastname@example.org Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
> Member, Extropy Institute
> Senior Associate, Foresight Institute
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