Re: Educating an AI.

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Tue Jul 09 2002 - 16:06:53 MDT

Stephen Reed wrote:

> Interesting.
> A thought exercise carried out from time to time among my co-workers at
> Cycorp is to imagine an AI that can read. Consider how and if the
> vast IP tied up in text can be protected from a non-human yet
> intelligent reader. Discard for a moment the difficulties of scanning
> and OCR - assume them solved.
> 1. Does copyright keep an AI from perceiving, understanding and making
> use of the knowledge content of a book? We think not but have not reached the point
> where we need a lawyer or court test.

I believe that ultimately the only workable approach is to make
most types of information part of an information commons.
Certainly this is much more doable and many times more useful in
the digital age. Copyright is not on the knowledge content of a
book but on that particular embodiment of content as I
understand it. IANAL. I don't expect the laws to change
favorably any time soon. What I do expect is that eventually
copyright of information will become impractical and incapable
of being enforced except through means quite draconian that will
incite rebellion.

In principle there is no difference between an AI reading books
and having
much more perfect retention and access than a human with a
photographic memory reading the books. The AIs information is
simply more complete and much more accessible and possibly more
shareable. This is one of the places where current copyright
notions are obviously faulty. Is copyright dependent on
relative weak understanding, retention and ability to reproduce
information? Will clinging to copyright cause us to limit our
own augmentation and the abilities of AIs?

Very interesting indeed.

> 2. Would a knowledge economy replace or supplement the bookselling
> business? The reduction in friction would address the point of your post.

If you mean an economy based on ownership of
knowledge/information, that is the last thing I want to see.
Its implementation would cause much more friction than what we
have today.

- samantha

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