Re: Is Software Generality Overrated?

Damien Broderick (
Thu, 15 May 1997 13:50:46 +0000

At 02:34 PM 5/14/97 -0700, Robin wrote:

>People have a huge
>"common sense" knowledge base to draw on, and writing it all down for
>computers is a daunting task.

Yes, and maybe `writing it down' explicitly is the wrong way to go, but
hey-- The CYC system, last time I looked, was said to have swallowed a
human-century of input, and not yet got all that far. Still, using an
amazingly rich organic neural net a human takes between 7 and 35 years to
absorb the tacit knowledge needed for true functioning intelligence.
That's *every single human*. Once the knowledge base is compiled,
compressed and debugged, AIs can (presumably) be die-stamped. That might
lead to dangerous conformity, so their common sense paradigms will need to
be kept somewhat labile, but the advantages of xeroxing over long drawn-out
experience seem to me to represent a truly gigantic jump forward in low
cost utility.

Damien Broderick