Sunday, November 28, 2004

mm, mostly through my trip... still alive... haven't heard from the friends really.. I'll try to see if anyone here in SLC wants to hang out today or tomorrow... I've been very busy with family and thanksgiving activities, and hanging out with crystal..

I'll be back online soon. Some interesting ideas I may blog about some in a bit, or publish elsewhere and link to, in my copious free time.

Monday, November 22, 2004


An appropriate link for a traveling day. As more computer interfaces begin to bring usefully indexed and more massive amounts of data, we're really going to see the rubber hit the road in terms of large scale integrated analysis. Expect efficient extraction of significant features from large datasets(like maps, statistics, advertising data, financial records, text databases, traffic data) to be increasingly significant to business. The rise of researchers and supercomputing for hire will only increase as organizations begin to realize how much value they're drowning in, but can't realistically get at without searching, interface, and filtering.

Google is a very visible, very public front-runner here, but most of their services are very unsophisticated. Other firms, like Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, and CAS in many cases have much deeper search problems, and much more established revenue streams. Google is certainly increasingly dangerous to these markets, and is aggressively expanding their dataset, likely betting that a crosslinked, massively indexed series of search services will be more valuable than a more deeply searched, or better annotated one.

It's perhaps characteristic of Computer Scientists to overgeneralize, and for Artificial Intelligence researchers to do so in a manner bordering on the ridiculous. The search problem certainly seems like a weaker version of the perceptual issues in cognitive science to me, though. I anticipate that these fields will, at the highest levels be interlinked in theory, if not in practice.

I'm going to Salt Lake City, to visit with friends, and connect with family for a short time. I'm looking forward to it.

I'll be back the 30th. Please behave yourselves in the meantime.

Some status updates, I managed to finish the integration framework for all our virtual world testing for the next few steps. This is basically the system we'll use to transition from disconnected cognitive testing to a continous, task switching, big brain kind of model.

Whereas before we were testing specific ability in repeatable tests, and establishing the perceptive categorization, the learning algorithms, the exploration routines in separate domains, we're now upping the complexity and the richness, by jamming all these tasks into a big messy place, more like the real world.

There are several problems with this, the first being the difficulty of testing, which we've actually got a model to reduce this, by isolating particular tasks at particular moments, and generating baselines to compare against on the fly. It will really be interesting over the next month as we get our first experience with how all these capabilities interact in an unplanned fashion. I am cautiously optimistic. Many of the cognitive algorithms we have would operate better in a more data rich, and varied environment than the rather sparse controlled situations we've been using up to now.

a key point in cognitive design is that brains are supersystems, and it's very artificial to imagine that each module would be able to operate on it's own. Seperating out for testing and development is fine, but the capabilities and sections of intelligence must exist in an expanding ecology of goals and functionality, or the whole things falls apart very quickly, because of the complexity of the interactions.

Getting to this point before my vacation was a purposeful thing, as during the trip I plan on thinking through the more theoretical issues that face us now that we are in this expansion, scaling, and integration phase.

We're going to be dealing with much bigger brains, far more mental objects, and many many more patterns and actions to be correlated. All good things, but their effect on the system, and the development they will push us into must all be considered, lest we waste time. Ideally of course, we would push in all directions at once, perfectly co-ordinated, with no duplication of effort, but we dont' have either the manpower or the telepathy to do that. So we need to proceed piecewise, with some overall prospectus.

pity the poor man who is not confused by his job and his tasks. for he is either blind, or miscast in his role. and for either, he is learning nothing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

K, news:

Progress continues at a2i2. I am pleased with the direction the project is going, and some few details I can give here, we are finally moving in the direction of integration, extension and scaling, which will (I believe) show us the value of the cognitive abilities we have been developing thus far in a much more unified and applicable way.

Also, the project has swung a bit away from biological inspiration(a good metric, but a poor teacher of structure), which I think will allow us faster progress, if we can stay grounded and pragmatic. There are simply many shortcuts that nature couldn't, or had no reason to take, that we may have been missing.

I am visiting SLC for the holidays, a whole week, in fact(don't ask me why, but airline prices being what they are, there are some odd deals).

I'll be around Nov 22nd to Nov 30th. I'm afraid I won't be visiting for Newtonmas(X-mas), so get your Justin while he is available! Family members and my girlfriend have first dibs, but I'd like to see friends and cohorts too.

The field of AI in general seems to be heating up a bit. There still aren't any projects that are general and ambitious, but there are more players, narrow AI funding and commercialization increases unabated, we have the relative newcomers of RNI publishing things now, and more activity on the conference and publishing front as well.

As supercomputers and custom software become the norm for people who need intelligent data handling, we'll see more and more interest in the direction of machine learning, adaptive systems, and other approximations of intelligence.

Starglider(Micheal Wilson), of sl4 fame, has an interesting new AI application to an ancient game. The perennial computer challenge of a decent Go player has been picked up again, and his attack is interesting. I've investigated GnuGo, a relatively strong open-source player in the past, and am very interested in his new computational statistics approach. I'm afraid I don't really understand enough of it's structure yet to comment intelligently, but I think he may be on to a structure general enough to allow large gains from what is essentially a standing start. Even achieving parity with more established Go programs from such a theoretical standpoint would be very impressive to me. Most of the current crop are very practical designs forged in constant ladder play tweaking and special case operations. DestinyGo(following some naming convention of his own) will probably be more widely available sometime relatively soon, but I wouldn't want to put words or plans in his mouth. Contact him for more details.

Monday, November 15, 2004

The Price of Loyalty: The Bush Files:

"'Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.'
-- Justice Louis Brandeis, 1913"

Monday, November 08, 2004

United States IPv6 Summit 2004 - December 7-10, Reston, Virginia

a quick note on opportunities.

Alex Lightman, CEO of this lil site, is looking for good IPv6 technologies. We came up with a few ideas and will be kicking them around to see if they have legs. IPv6 is a tremendous opportunity that US companies are ignoring out fo bystander effect, because they expect someone else to blaze the trail, and to be able to progressive upgrade.

Alex is an interesting guy, and seems like a really sharp businessman. Networking theorists note, IPv6 is severely underrepresented in new technology, despite it's advantages and relative paucity of competitors, people just aren't using it.
Back from AC 04.

I've got a lot of things to say about it, but I'm busy reconnecting with my work and such, so I'll just say this. Going to conferences all the time is probably a mistake, but going to at least one is a very good idea. I may not attend any more conferences this year, but I'm very glad I went to this one.

An additional note, if there are any young, undirected transhumans, or old undirected transhumans, try going to an Accelerating Change Con. I had people trying to hire me, business ideas falling from the sky, high powered folk, idea folk, high powered idea folk, interesting new research. If I didn't already have the most interesting job in the world, in the biggest problem area, I would have really really come back with a fistful of dollars(or contracts at least). So long as you talk. There were plenty of people who just didn't talk with others at the con, and they missed quite a bit.

As it is, I may do some after hours consulting and work with the fine people I met, just out of sheer interest. There are so many things happening, so many more near term projects, I felt like a blue-sky researcher next to many of these people who just wanted to make something cool now, or make a quick good few dollars.

Some cool people I made friends with, never mind interesting research and business opportunities, which I'll list later:

Nova Barlow, of the Themis Group, community management and state of play writer. Went to dinner with her after her talk, and she had lots of interesting ideas.

Gregor Rothfuss, met him at Tech Night, he works for Apache, and is developing some very interesting middleware, with XML and SOAPish stuff.

Jeff Shwartz, of Disruptive Strategies, we participated in a debate on Globalization, he of the pragmatic set, and me of the 'people are hurting' set. He seems like a really great guy, we exchanged business cards, and I have to shoot him a follow-up email. His concept of disruptive technologies seems to dovetail well with my idea of leveraged work. He also was very well spoken, and really pushed me during the debate.

Christopher Allen, of too many things to list, but at least go check out Life With Alacrity, we talked about many things, of security and future trends and wikis and god knows what else, I definately need to follow up, he's a guy with varied and interesting opinions and applications.

I sat during many of the presentations with Eric Nehrlich, a physicist who has jumped fields and is investigating all this stuff. He works for MDS SCIEX right now, but I'd love to hook him up with maybe these other guys as well, there are just so many interesting projects here, if I had the time. He's a very smart, very funny guy.

I also ran into a lot of my LA crew, Paul and Jeff and Durant and Troy and so on, which is always fun.

I got to meet Samantha Atkins in person, Peter C. McCluskey, Tyler Emerson, and on and on, it's lovely to match faces to names.

Two major regrets, didn't talk to Cory Ondrejka of SecondLife directly very much, and didn't talk to Helen Greiner of iRobot directly.

Of all the speakers, two major highlights, Wil Wright, creator of The Sims, BJ Fogg, of the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab. There were many many others, which I'll go into if I have more time.

more Google strings: Peter Norvig, Jamie Hale, David Brin, Shai Agassi, Peter Kaminski, Gordon Bell, Richard Marks Sony, Steve Jurvetson, Bruce Hall DARPA, Clark Aldrich.

Friday, November 05, 2004

I'm off to AC 04, and will be out of internet for a while.

stay safe kids.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Well, meeting Ben Goertzel was interesting. He's a nice guy. I know I learned a lot more about his system than he learned about mine, but I'm probably just less talkative than he is.

The interesting thing is that even though serious theory differences exist, Ben's project is probably the closest to our own that I am aware of. In some ways this is encouraging, because it means competition for early stage AI applications will be small, and also slightly worrying, as lone positions sometimes turn out to be bad ones. There is only so much you can infer about ideas from their context though.

Fun and interesting stuff.

Bruce Klein is still here, which is great, he's a really solid fun guy. He's filming more people for his documentary, as well as bemoaning the election.

I have to say I have no strong feelings about the election. It's very dissapointing that 11 states voted to ban gay marriage. Not surprising, perhaps.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

busy busy.

I'm trying to get an answer from my sister, because my family wants me to visit for thanksgiving, and I missed visiting friends in slc, so those two could be collapsed into once visit late this month.

The one and only Bruce Klein will be here again later today, and then the scourge of SL4, Ben Goertzel as well. I'm looking forward to meeting ben, we've talked online many times but never in person.

The new house is very nice and quite comfortable. I have a few things to get used to(not having the desktop in my room is a change(I need an alarm clock or similar). and a few things to get into shape(I need a better headset because there are more desks in the same place here(don't want to disturb people with my music)).