RE: JOIN: Matt Arnold

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Fri Feb 11 2005 - 14:59:39 MST


You mention Lojban ... I am curious about this language; I have read about
it but haven't learned it...

Do you find it's pragmatically possible to express a wide variety of things
in Lojban? -- including ambiguous emotional, intuitive, creative and
speculative things, i.e. things which are far removed from the formal-logic
foundation of Lojban semantics?

I have often wondered if it would be a good idea to use Lojban to help teach
an AI system.

For our Novamente AI system (,, we have an interactive user interface
that allows the system to understand English sentences correctly after some
interaction with the user who corrects the system's misinterpretations, but
this is a cumbersome process. Of course, the system's comprehension
improves gradually, but we're not sure how fast this will be....

I suspect that if we made a Lojban version of our interactive English
system, the system would pick up the language a lot easier.

I understand that Lojban has a completely formal syntax, but syntax
processing isn't all of comprehension -- I don't have a good sense of how
easy a time Novamente would have with Lojban semantics.... I imagine it
would have a pretty easy time since Lojban is loosely based on predicate
logic and Novamente's probabilistic term logic knowledge representation also
shares a lot of aspects with predicate logic.

I stress that this is just a speculative discussion -- being as profoundly
resource-starved as the Novamente project currently is, we're not about to
undertake a speculative side-project like this, but it's interesting to
think about...

Novamente's current treatment of syntax is based on a modified version of
the Link Grammar

If a similar grammar were created for Lojban then it would be relatively
easy to make a Lojban interface for Novamente. I wonder if you have a sense
for how hard a job it would be to make a grammar of this form for Lojban.
It seems to me like it should be fairly simple -- though NOT trivial --
given the existing yacc parsing rules for Lojban.

-- Ben

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf Of Matt
> Arnold
> Sent: Friday, February 11, 2005 3:41 PM
> To:
> Subject: JOIN: Matt Arnold
> Hi, I'm new to the list. A resident of the suburbs of Detroit,
> Michigan, I have been a transhumanist since almost back to the turn of
> the twenty-first century. I am more or less the same age as Eliezer
> Yudkowski. To find my tastes in reading, turn to the bibliography in
> David Pulver's GURPS Transhuman Space main sourcebook. I help to run
> the science fiction conventions in the area, ConFusion and Penguicon.
> (This last is a combination free/open-source software and SF
> convention.) I'm trying to install Linux and learn how to run a web
> server, but I'm not yet a tech geek and possess more of an artistic
> than an engineering mindset. I am a Universist and a member of the
> Fellowship of Reason and the Church of Virus. I speak the artificial
> language Lojban passably well and continue to improve. If any of you
> are on the Lojban mailing list, I'm the one who signs "la epcat". My
> website is
> I finally signed up to the list to get some advice about preparing for
> a singularity or technocalypse, so that I can improve the rules to a
> little game I'm creating which crudely represents terraforming and
> pantropy and is played on a Hoberman Sphere. More about that later.
> -Matt Arnold

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