Emergence of behavior through software

btanksley@hifn.com btanksley@hifn.com
Wed, 4 Oct 2000 12:51:27 -0700

From: Alik Widge [mailto:aswst16+@pitt.edu]
>btanksley@hifn.com wrote:

>> Therefore, I would rather either

>> 1) Claim that Tunes cannot be started until volition is achieved, and
>> divert all work to discovering how to create software volition.

>> 2) Base Tunes on something else.

>Ah. That's another matter entirely. I do not hack on Tunes, 
>and thus I can offer no definite opinions on how it should be built.

I share your advantage, although I lack the ability to repress my opinions
on the topic.  :-)

>My argument is solely to establish the idea that sentient software 
>remains theoretically possible although highly difficult and unproven. 

I'm not familiar with any work which showed that sentient software is
theoretically possible.  There is some work which attempted to show
impossibility, but I don't buy it.

>It is my highly uninformed opinion
>that if you want to see actual progress on a system anytime in the next
>twenty years, scrap volition and just implement some decent adaptive
>heuristics with a good UI.

That's one way to do it.

IMO, a better way is to scrap all of the talk about AI, and instead
implement Intelligence Amplification (IA).  People are already smart and
already have volition and sentience.  Let's just build software which
conforms more closely to how they work, so that it can help them with data
lookup, precise reasoning, math, and so on.  In the process of making the
software more usable for humans, we're going to have to make software which
displays certain aspects of human behavior -- for example, it's going to
have to recognise when the human's expressing a vision, and "buy in" to it.

So to some people, some of the software will look intelligent some of the
time -- except that it'll never disagree with anything you say (except
perhaps the most prosaic points of fact), and of course it'll never initiate