Lyle Burkhead and that "nit-brained newbie"

Billy Brown (
Wed, 7 Apr 1999 13:38:45 -0500

Lyle Burkhead wrote:
> A few days ago it came to my attention that some nit-brained newbie had
> mentioned my name with disrespect, and I thought I had better make a
> comment. Now that thatís done, I am going to keep my promise to myself.
> note that Billy has started a new thread about Geniebusters. I have no
> intention of getting into a flame war with him.

and, in another post:
> I like the adrenaline rush from a flame war as much as anybody.
> (Meet me after school, Billy, in the parking lot behind the gym ;-)

The offending passage of mine appears to be the following:
> Maybe you should - although I hope you'd do
> a better job of it than he did. Mr. Burkhead seems to be
> fond of making sweeping statements about what is possible
> in fields he obviously doesn't know anything about.

Which was made in reference to Mr. Burkhead's web site,, which is devoted to debunking various nanotranscendance memes. While my statement was perhaps a bit sharp, it is mild compared to those Mr. Burkhead makes on his site. It is also accurate, IMO, at least with regards to his ideas about artificial intelligence. I refer interested readers to parts 15-21 of Geniebusters, where Mr. Burkhead argues without evidence that no possible AI system can ever result in dramatic cost savings for any kind of organization. His arguments may sound reasonable to a non-specialist, but if you actually know something about AI (or even programming in general) they make no sense at all.

Now, Mr. Burkhead, if you are actually interested in discussing the issue I will be happy to do so. If, instead, you prefer to devote your time to other activities, then that is certainly your prerogative. However, sniping at me in other threads while ignoring the actual issues is not a productive response.

Billy Brown, MCSE+I