Re: [isml] Making HAL Your Pal (fwd)

From: Matthew Gingell (
Date: Tue Apr 24 2001 - 19:49:29 MDT

Eliezer, if you're taking questions about "Friendly AI" exclusively
then I'll bow out. It's not a subject I find particularly engaging.
I'm interested in why the funny rock glows. Discussing what kind of
airbag ought to go on an imaginary hydrogen bomb is handwaving on top
of handwaving. Language design, on the other hand, is concrete fun. An
annotative programming system sounds at least superficially novel, but
not nearly so deep a profundity as you seem to suggest. This being the
sort of place one does such things, I though I'd raise the issue and
see if I was missing something. I don't need a megabyte of philosophy,
I want to know if you're talking about comments, formal markup
somewhere short of a complete language, or attaching the author's mind
for subsequent use by a code inspection tool.

If you have a great idea and you've thought it through enough to
express the fundamentals - that's 100 words or less - perhaps you'd
enjoy a civil discussion. A language built by analogy to iterative
revision and cross-referencing of cognitive blobs has possibilities, if
you see a coherent and tractable way of formalizing what's otherwise
just a neat idea. I'm a student with no particularly grand delusions,
but I've written an optimizing compiler before, I've got scratch pads
full of bizarre and exotic language design, and I've lost plenty of
sleep trying to invent something I'd rather develop code in. I played
once with coding via a relational database, storing source, language
constructs (mostly at the function and type level), documentation,
macro transforms and build scripts, revisions, object files, etc, in
tables then manipulating and untangling it through an Emacs
frontend. It got complicated and I lost interest, but maybe its vaguely
relevant to the model your suggesting. The point I'm attempting being
you may occasionally bump into someone who's thoughts and background
are not a perfect subset of your own.

Anyway, you sound burnt out. Take a rest. Funding is a day job while
you play with something interesting, you're not obligated to save the
world or prove anything outside whatever you've signed. Telling me /
anyone else to fuck off is perfectly reasonable, though you might want
to find a less bridge-burning way to do it. If you get round to writing
anything up on code annotation maybe I'll take a look then.


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