Site Down – Drama

Site Down – Many Apologies
If you can read this it must be fixed, but as you may be aware my current ISP (ukgateway) was recently acquired by Tiscali. I guess they’re in a process of re-building servers and upgrading / replacing software, but this is the second unannounced outage – the last one a fortnight ago cut off my e-mail for two days too. Expectation is back on line mid-day Thurs 11 July UK time. Fingers crossed.
(Lousy timing as it happens, because I am in the process of migrating to a new domain anyway – watch this space for announcements.)

AI Reboots – Cyc / MIT

Some good links from the AI Reboots – MIT Article already blogged earlier.
(All very MIT-centric of course.)
Cycorp – exploiting Cyc – Foundation for common ssense knowledge (sic)
HAL’s Legacy – oft quoted in comp.ai groups.
Marvin Minsky’s home page “In recent years he has worked chiefly on imparting to machines the human capacity for commonsense reasoning” (I’d forgotten how good MM’s site was.)
And more. Looks like “common sense” needs a distinct new thread.

Galbraith – Enron and the like Beyond Monitoring

Re-read the JK Galbraith article. (Blogged earlier)
“[Corporations like Enron have] grown so complex that [they are] now almost beyond monitoring …. there was almost no criticism from the shareholders ? the owners, [until they collapsed.]”. Galbraith detects something of the conspiracy of silence he recounted so memorably in his book The Great Crash: 1929, first published in 1955 but as readable today as it was then. “They remained very quiet,” he wrote of the financial luminaries of that era. “The sense of responsibility in the financial community for the community as a whole is not small. It is nearly nil. To speak out against madness may be to ruin those who have succumbed to it. So the wise on Wall Street are nearly always silent. The foolish have the field to themselves and none rebukes them. [Just as 73 years ago] there’s still a tradition, a culture of restraint that keeps one from attacking one’s colleagues, one’s co-workers, no matter how wrong they seem to be.”
Perhaps I should rename the DeLorean effect, the Galbraith effect. Actually it’s the emperor’s suit of clothes effect anyway – the institutionalised conspiratorial cock-up. Argyris’ “avoidance-of-embarassment rationalisation of the irrational”.

Happiness Breaking Through – Noonan

Economist and WSJ Peggy Noonan
Reviews of Blogging linked from Blogger itself.
The words of a friend of Samuel Johnson quoted by Ms Noonan
“I meant to be a philosopher, but happiness kept breaking through.”

[Post-note – I notice Ms Noonan is part of the team that creates West Wing, the award winning US White House spoof drama. Intelligent stuff.]

Intuitive Knowledge or Explicit Instruction

Link via John Robb’s Radio WebLog from NY Times.
Russian Pilot Had Conflicting Orders. A Russian pilot received contradictory instructions before crashing into a cargo plane over Germany last week, German investigators said today after reviewing voice recorders from the two jets. By The Associated Press. [New York Times: International] Interesting says John Robb. “I once got a flight vector from air traffic control that would have sent me into a mountain. Needless to say, I didn’t follow the direction. Pilots need to fly the plane first and listen to controller instructions second.”
Who needs artificial intelligence when you can have the real thing. – This is the DeLorean effect – how to make a wrong decision, when you know it’s wrong – all too easy.

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