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Re: A plea for peace. was: RE: DAML+OIL (March 2001) released: a correction

From: pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 23:19:44 -0500
Message-Id: <v0421010eb70214810d83@[204.214.21.206]>
To: Aaron Swartz <aswartz@swartzfam.com>
Cc: www-rdf-logic@w3.org
> > Not of their own will, of course, but nothing turns on that notion.
> > We will in the near future see refrigerators which have URIs and
> > maintain up-to-date information on them about their (the
> > refrigerator's) operating condition, dates of service, etc.. This is
> > already routine for some more expensive pieces of equipment. Never
> > mind about 'will'; the point is that the machine is the *source* of
> > the information.
>
>Sure, but the definition of these resources was programmed into the
>refrigerator before they left the factory. For each fridge, the resources
>will be essentially the same, except one will be operating condition of
>fridge 100101 and the other is of 12243.

But the fact that this particular fridge has noticed that its 
frobwidget is wearing out was not programmed in at the factory. New 
information becomes available and needs to be transmitted and 
understood by nonhuman agents, without human intervention.

>My computer has no human being at the top of its chain of command? I hope
>not, if so, I better turn it off before it starts committing crimes in my
>name! ;-)

This discussion is getting silly. If you think *you* are running your 
computer code, I wonder you have time left over from the operating 
system to send emails.

> >> The reason we seem to keep going in this loop is
> >> because I don't see what's better.
> > Its not a question of what is better: it is simply getting the facts
> > of the case straight. Machines DO communicate with each other across
> > the Web, and draw conclusions, take actions, etc., on their own
> > initiatives and without consulting human beings. RDF and DAML+OIL are
> > motivated by the need to have these machines convey useable
> > information to one another and be able to draw, check and otherwise
> > process conclusions from formally described information. No natural
> > langauge is used, and no human thoughts intervene in this process.
>
>Machines can communicate all they want and do a ton of stuff based on that
>communication -- I agree, and I find it quite useful. However, I have never
>seen a machine invent a concept or understand a concept on its own. Instead,
>it follows a continuous process of "bootstrapping" -- pulling itself up from
>the terms with which it was programmed with up to terms which hadn't been
>invented when it was turned on.
.....

>Still, we must draw a distinction between the fact that it can process these
>terms (which it can undoubtedly can, as it can do all sorts of
>processing-type things as you suggest above) and the fact that it can
>*understand* these terms, for understanding is a difficult subject which
>people cannot even agree on, but to which no machine has even really come
>close.

This is becoming a (rather pointless) debate about the nature of AI 
and the philosophy of mind. That is a large and controversial 
subject, as I expect you know, and I doubt if you and I will agree 
about it. But let us not continue that particular debate on this 
forum, as it is beside the point here. I repeat: machines do create 
new meaningful symbols, transmit them to other machines, and take 
actions on the basis of the information encoded in them. Whether or 
not there are, in some cosmic sense, human beings 'at the top', or 
whether the machine's information is somehow 'bootstrapped', is 
beside the point.

> >> I know of no language that conveys "knowledge" to machines.
> > Read an AI textbook on 'knowledge representation' to come up to 
>speed on this.
>
>I draw a distinction between information and knowledge that you don't seem
>to follow.

Probably because you havn't told me what it is. You must tell me 
about it some time. But not now, and not here.

Pat Hayes

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Received on Wednesday, 18 April 2001 02:20:59 GMT

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