30 July 2006

AI as a design problem

a few weeks ago on slashdot
i experimentally re-tested the waters
of the semantic web community
that i'd mostly given up on ten years ago

and found them, still,


trying to solve the problem
by spanking non-conformists
until they bought into a
set of syntactic rules

which keeps them busy
and gives them someone to blame
but advances AI not a whit

a step above prescriptivism
is descriptivism
which is embodied by Lenat's Cyc
and perhaps also by 'The Sims'

trying to describe human behavior
with a definite constrained vocabulary
(Sim1 covets Furniture2)

but i fear the catch-22 of descriptivism
is that there isn't any platonic 'form', there,
waiting to be described
(as there more-or-less was
for physics, chemistry, astronomy,
and even biology)

but instead a mathematically intractable
neural 'chaos'
an everchanging hierarchy
of human moods and motives

crudely reflected in 'ontologies' like the classic
Yahoo top menu
Arts&Humanities, Business&Economy, Computers&Internet,
Education, Entertainment, Government, Health, News&Media,
Recreation&Sports, Reference, Regional, Science,
Social Science, Society)

designed entirely
to meet the instantaneous needs
of (yesterday's) web surfers

which is why i'm exploring heraldic barcodes
that try to map the top levels
of this semantic hierarchy
(for a specific subdomain)
onto an intuitive graphical equivalent

whose strengths and weaknesses
not only declare themselves openly
but also
hint at how to improve them
in graphical tweaks
that better fit the human users