Re: [sl4] How much do languages matter for AGI programming?

From: Larry (
Date: Fri Nov 28 2008 - 09:13:00 MST

On Fri, 28 Nov 2008, Matt Mahoney wrote:

> --- On Fri, 11/28/08, Edward Miller <> wrote:
>> MapReduce does sound like a good idea. It is open source,
>> and this has allowed people to port it to Java. Thus, I
>> wouldn't feel tied down to C++, or even Java. We need to
>> find the best language. Would you want an AGI that is prone
>> to buffer overflows? These sorts of problems can make the
>> AGI very vulnerable to hacking, malfunction, or complete
>> failure. I am assuming it would be best to implement the
>> most rock-solid language(s) possible. If such a language
>> doesn't exist to fit our precise requirements, perhaps
>> creating a new language or modifying an existing language
>> will be necessary.
> I think this emphasis on programming languages is leading us astray
> from looking at the hard parts of the problem. Just because a program is
> written in Java instead of C++ doesn't make it more secure. Low level
> security vulnerabilities like buffer overflows are the easiest kind to
> fix. (For example, by setting the no-execute bit for the stack segment
> in newer x86 processors). The real security problem is intelligent
> worms, as I described in my proposal. When a worm can understand and use
> natural language, it can convince the user to do just about anything.
> (Please enter your administrative password to install 27 updates).
> Software is already too complex for people to know what their computers
> are doing. (Your computer is protected). People don't care if they give
> up part of their computing resources to botnets as long as it lets them
> get their work done.

I have to second that. Sun has done a very good propaganda job with Java
vs. C++. Java isn't inherently safer than C++ consistently used with the
STL containers and boost smart pointers. Its only inherently safer than C++
used to compile 1970s style C code with a few objects thrown in. Forget
the Sun marketing message, learn and use modern C++. Unlike Java you
won't find yourself in a straight jacket when it matters. Most C++
compilers also allow for inline assembly, want to use some odd processor
feature? Not a problem.

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