Re: Languages and AI

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Fri Jul 20 2001 - 16:20:15 MDT

Ben Goertzel wrote:
> > 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?
> If I understand what you're asking correctly, I believe this sort of thing
> is fairly easy to do in LISP, but not in other standard languages

Unless there's been a fairly major improvement to LISP recently, it's not
possible to do even what I just quoted above, much less the other features
of Flare. I checked out a whole mess of languages (admittedly, back in
1999), including Common LISP, Scheme, and a couple of other LISP dialects
whose names I forget.

Not to mention that coding in lists is awkward, especially if you're used
to Python. (Several attempts to build a language with more reasonable
syntax, that could be compiled to LISP, failed.)

Ben Goertzel wrote:
> Do you actually want
> a) Flare to *use* XML internally, or
> b) just for there to exist a 1-1 mapping between the space of its internal
> representation and some subspace of the space of well-formed XML
> expressions?
> [Hint: the right answer is b ;) ]

"B", of course. There is no conceivable benefit to internally
representing the brackets and so on. "XML", for our purpose, means "tree
structure in which adding new nodes or new node types does not destroy the
integrity of existing data".

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

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