RE: flare and SIAI

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sun Jul 29 2001 - 17:17:28 MDT


> Like Eliezer said, it would be very, very difficult (if possible
> at all) to
> create an AI that effectively modifies its own source code
> without certain
> facilities in the programming language (such as annotation).
> Again, this is
> an assumption related to the general design of our AI. A
> different AI might
> be able to be written in Java (or C) but our design requires certain
> features that will be present in Flare.

My feeling is as follows:

1) simple examples of self-modification can more easily be done in a
language like Flare or LISP than in, say, C or Java. Whether Flare is
really easier than LISP for such simple examples, I'm not sure yet, but the
claim is believable

2) goal-driven, intelligence-amplifying self-modification involves so many
hard AI tasks that the task of dealing with a tough programming language
like C is basically trivial by comparison.

In support of claim 2, I observe that, for humans, learning to write complex
AI code well involves many, many things more difficult than mastering a
programming language. I suspect it will be the same for a
code-writing/modifying AI.

> Also, as I am by default a programmer and not a cognitive
> scientist (along
> with the others on the Flare project), our efforts would be
> largely wasted
> on the AI project right now (as we come closer to writing code,
> things will
> change).

I'm hoping that Eli's AI project will reach the coding phase *well before*
the Flare project is done. If this happens, then there will be a time when
your effort will be going to Flare when it could have been going to Eli's AI
system itself. Whether this sucks or not depends on how many others are
working on programming his AI system, obviously. A handful of people on his
prototype AI system is surely going to be enough for a while, so if there
are more volunteers than that, it makes total sense to have some people
working on side projects. I hope it comes out that way, and there are more
than enough expert coders to go around!


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