Re: PROJ: Flare

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Tue Jul 17 2001 - 01:01:03 MDT

Samantha Atkins wrote:
> I have already written some time ago on what is wrong with
> basing a programming language, especially in a highly critical
> and high demand environment like an AI, in a markup language
> designed for portable data representation. I have nothing to
> add to that at this time. I hope someone talks you out of this
> as I can scarcely think of a more crippled way to attempt to
> write and maintains something as sophisticated as an SI.

Right now, if you want to write code, you have two options:

1) You can write in plaintext. ASM, C++, Java, and so on all count as
"flat text files" for this purpose.

2) You can write in LISP, a language first created during the 1950s,
using linked lists, and later updated to use other flat list structures as

(You can also write in bizarre Martian languages like APL.)

XML, for our purposes, is not a portable markup language consisting of
flat text containing angular brackets; it is a hierarchical, annotable,
extensible free-flowing tree structure in which nodes have metadata. We
need that.

Luckily, there happens to be a standard for representing these structures
as flat text files containing angular brackets. But that latter part
becomes relevant only when saving objects or programs to disk, or when
exposing Flare internals to human examination. (The programmer, of
course, usually writes in FlareSpeak rather than typing in FlareCode in

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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