Re: Languages and AI

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Fri Jul 20 2001 - 15:57:37 MDT

Ben Houston wrote:
> Hi Eliezer,
> I'd strongly recommend against creating a language. It will take way too
> much work and more probably will never get done. Also I have not yet seen
> any new features that are really driving you towards a new language.

Thanks for all the well-meant naysaying (he said, seething quietly), but I
know what I need and why, from several years' worth of wishing in routine
programming (not just for AI), and it can be done inside a programming
language that will benefit the community at large and not just SIAI. The
programming language will be forked off as a separate open-source project
that will rendezvous with the AI side when it reaches production quality
or becomes so cool that it's worth using the beta.

Flare really is an entirely different kettle of fish, and no, I CAN'T live
without it. Some things in Flare are cool, but other things are things
that we can either do poorly in Python (or, heaven help us, C++) on our
lonesome, or do elegantly in Flare with the support of the open-source
community. There's a section of the language space that we need to
explore, and Flare is the first, fundamental step into that language
space, the step that makes it possible for us to take the next steps.

> Describe the feature that you want and I'll bet that I can find an existing
> language that has that feature.

Really? Fine. I want to be able to access the PARSED source code, not
the plaintext, from inside the program. Furthermore, I want to be able to
alter the parsed source code, represented in a natural way (i.e., an
expression is a tree and not a series of machine instructions). I want to
be able to annotate any element in this tree, whether a branch or a leaf,
with complex data structures of my own devising, including new data types
of my own devising, without destroying the integrity of the existing data
or preventing the code from executing. Any existing languages got that
feature, which is simply first on the list?

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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