RE: The inevitability of death, or the death of inevitability?

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Tue Jan 08 2002 - 09:26:16 MST

> All good points. None of this particularly concerns me, btw.
> What I'm more
> concerned with is the idea that we're going to turn the Web into
> some huge and
> fine-grained CycL KB. ;-) IMO, effort to do so is, modulo some
> high-level stuff
> of interest as mentioned above, mostly wasted effort. (I.e., the
> Web (e.g. its
> content) doesn't need a general concept of "man," something else ---
> applications that use the Web --- needs specific notions of "man.")

yes, I think we agree here. The problem is that the general concept of
"man" is a subtle and complex thing, not easily captured in a compact
formal-logic-style definition.

> Put another way, type is a slippery slope. Strong and weak
> typing don't coexist
> with each other happily. If a critical mass of applications
> begins to expect a
> certain level of structure embedded in Web content, then there will be a
> negative incentive for content that does *not* embed such
> structure. That is
> equivalent to *increasing* the friction of publication on the Web, and
> undermines the very thing that made the Web so useful (and drove
> adoption) in
> the first place.

yes, this is an excellent point as well.

> > but it certainly
> > demonstrates the existence of *memory structures*,
> Sigh. Please let's not have a semantic argument about the meaning of
> "structure." I'm specifically talking about relational
> arrangements, reference-
> and graph-based structures, semantic nets, etc. as they are
> commonly known and
> used in building information systems today. Information for
> which particular
> metadata (often of fixed schema) is known or can be directly
> deduced from the
> stored form of the information.
> We probably agree on one thing: the kind of structure that the
> human brain uses
> to store and access information is not anything that can
> straightforwardly /
> efficiently be represented in a textual medium. ;-) I.e., the
> Semantic Web is a
> graph structure because text markup is good for representing
> graph structures,
> not because semantic networks are a particularly good model of
> human information
> storage. :-)

I think that a *weighted, typed hypergraph with some static nodes and some
nodes interpreted as combinators (a la combinatory logic* is a good model of
human information storage.

However, I think that the accurate representation of a concept such as "man"
in this kind of extended graphical representation is necessarily *very very
big and complex and messy*, not something that we can easily write down in
an elegant CYC style definition. It will take a reasonably sophisticated --
but perhaps not human-level -- AI to create the definition. The reason an
AI can create the definition better than a human is that an AI has more
transparency, i.e. its brain structures can be dumped to text more easily
than ours.

-- Ben

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