All posts for the month August, 2002

Read the Apoorva Patel article (tough going for a non-physicist), and had one of those WOW! moments. Just like one I remember in schooldays when I came across that integral that links e, i and pi in a single equality – spooky how three seemingly independant irrational numbers can co-exist in a single concept, I thought (and strangely still recalled the impression 30 odd years later.) Well Apoorva’s ideas have a similar spooky trilogy – can quantum mechanics, DNA and information processing really be unified – could this really be how meat thinks ? WOW!
[The original “Thinking With Meat” link from Terry Bisson.]

Thread on compai.nat-lang looking for predictive Markov Chain s/w to look for misinterpretation in the text of jokes, draws a humourous reponse from Darryl McCullough.
They all laughed when I said I wanted to build a joke-telling machine.
Well, I showed them! Nobody’s laughing now !
Actually the post is quite interesting. (Strangely, Jim Balters threads on all now becoming US Political flame-wars, not helped by George / Hoo Hoo.)

Reading Michel Foucault’s “The Order of Things” (1966) first published in English in 1970, and came across his reference to “The Semantic Web”. Seems this is the origin of the expression ? A good read so far, about history and culture of language in classifying things. Interestingly in French the title is “Les Mots et les Choses” – words and things, pretty close to “word and object” (Ref Quine below) – I wonder how the translation became “The Order of Things” ?

Following-up google search on Foucault and Semantic Web I hit this interesting Philosophy Loft site at Centroid Cafe. Interesting content on Critical Thinking, Reasoning (rational, binary, dialectic) and General Philosophy, including a link to Sasha’s page (see side bar).

General Knowledge Machine Research. Link picked-up from
Also Generic Artificial Consciousness (GAC) and MindPixel projects. Unfortunately statistically based on the “average” mind – collecting concensus from web contributors – but interesting. Mindpixel is overtly competitive with CYC.
(Mindpixel’s featured book is Wolfram’s – New Kind of Science.)

Quote from Charles Richmond in the Thinking with Meat thread on
I believe that we should work harder to get people to think.
I heard a comedian say once that he thought the little tags on hair-dryers that say “DO NOT USE WHILE SHOWERING” should be removed. His reasoning was: If you are stupid enough to use the hair dryer in the shower, then the world would be better off without you.
Example of the humour thread, but interesting how this little thread has grown almost into a flame war. Jim Balter got into a US attitude generalisation about litigious society aspects – which he is defending as not particularly American (anymore). Jim’s point is being missed I feel. The serious thread is the positive evolution in knowledge when people learn from exposure to risks, rather than being protected from them – see earlier post on BBC story on boringly safe school playgrounds and Dutch experiments without road traffic priority signs. Also buried in this thread are some interesting thoughts on causal relationships limitations in programming AI.

[Terry Bisson’s “Thinking Meat” original.]