Re: Questions about any Would-Be AGI

From: Stephen Reed (
Date: Tue May 21 2002 - 11:07:12 MDT

On Tue, 21 May 2002, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:

> If you stripped away all the English names from all AI content and replaced
> them with randomly generated strings, so that the AI could no longer handle
> human-supplied problems and human-supplied data which required
> identification or invocation of concepts by English name, what capabilities
> would the AI still possess?

Could you clarify a bit in light of how Cyc handles term names? In Cyc,
to allow easy renames, the term name is not the identity of the term, it
is merely an attribute. The Cyc term identity is a GUID (128-bit
universally unique id) generated by the operating system upon term
creation. We have considered an internal test, what we call the GENSYM
test, that follows your outline:

Take a term, replace its name with a GENSYM (sequentially numbered
meaningless string), and with its comment hidden, try to identify the
concept. We would also hide the English words that lexify the term.

If we went beyond this test in Cyc, and replaced all the concept names
with random strings, but kept the lexical information, then Cyc would
operate fine. In that the Knowledge Entry and Query tools based on the
lexicon would still function. But if the lexical information were
removed, then you would be unable to easily work with Cyc, but would have
to reconstruct a mental model of the concept hierarcy from the top down.


Stephen L. Reed                  phone:  512.342.4036
Cycorp, Suite 100                  fax:  512.342.4040
3721 Executive Center Drive      email:
Austin, TX 78731                   web:
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