[Rizzn’s Note: I happen to wholeheartedly disagree with the final conclusion reached by the quick commentary quoted below.

“Without getting too religious on you, life is more than a calculation. Life is more than A plus B equals C. There’s an angle to life that we’ll never be able to explain, much less code.”

This isn’t quite true.  Life itself consists of what are essentially ones and zeros.  Decisions that are made can be quantified on a yes/no or case statement type decision making process.  Emotions can be simulated, and the effects of hormonal and other chemical imbalances accounted for by randomizing elements.

Theoretically, I can come up with a way to code anything in life.  Do I have the time to do it by hand or singlehandedly?  Does my processer stack up with a human brain’s capacity to learn, process, or store?  Sadly, the answer to this question is no on both counts.  This will change in the future.  If I can pseudo-code it, I can real code it.  If I get a few programmers working for me, and a computer on the order of 10 or 50 times better, we can talk.

As it stands, though, we are already there as far as simulating small parts of the human experience.  All we need to eventually do is start incorporating ‘this’ ai with ‘that’ ai.  There are a million different intelligent programs out there.  Some create art.  Some creat conversation.  Some crunch numbers.  Some replace minimum wage workers.  The point is, there are a hundred thousand different little semi-intelligent, yet not yet self-aware AI’s out there.  Once they are all brought together to work together, a singular consciousness has the potential to arise.]

Shirky on The Semantic Web

The Semantic Web, Syllogism, and Worldview: Clay Shirky gets medieval on The Semantic Web.

“In an echo of Richard Gabriel’s Worse is Better argumment, the Semantic Web imagines that completeness and correctness of data exposed on the web are the cardinal virtues, and that any amount of implementation complexity is acceptable in pursuit of those virtues. The problem is that the more semantic consistency required by a standard, the sharper the tradeoff between complexity and scale. It’s easy to get broad agreement in a narrow group of users, or vice-versa, but not both.”

The guy who posted this to Metafilter, however, sums it up better:

“The most damning part of the essay is the part about languages and categories being deeply intertwined with worldview and with culture — if there’s no good definition for the word ‘bachelor’, how can there be an encoding of ‘friend’, ‘lover’ … or anything else that isn’t zipcode?”

Computers and information architecture is very rigid, and The Semantic Web strikes me an attempt to cram every bit of…life into some kind of framework. But, sadly, life is more complicated than that. This is the same way I feel about artificial intelligence and “self aware” machines. It’s not going to happen. I don’t care how fast your machine is — life is too complicated.

Without getting too religious on you, life is more than a calculation. Life is more than A plus B equals C. There’s an angle to life that we’ll never be able to explain, much less code.