relationship with our tools? NO.

Mon, 7 Dec 1998 09:05:29 -0800 (PST)

I'm sorry I'm not commenting much on your arrow structures.  I'm not sure
what to say.

On Mon, 7 Dec 1998, RE01 Rice Brian T. EM2 wrote:

> should stick around during its infancy and childhood to guide it and protect
> it from cybernetic harm.  The Linux community will educate it in the ways of
> the world, in coordination with the theoretical types, who will teach it how
> better to reason.  I warn you to respect this being we make, to treat it
> with the dignity and reverence you would give to an intelligent 'alien'.
> Fear it as well, because the cybernetic nature of the thing makes it an
> intrinsically directionless power, although it already carries baggage from
> our Western minds and our English-wagging tongues.  Although you should
> avoid harming _it_, also remember that it can harm _you_.  You may not like
> all of the things this project might bring into being, and you do not have
> to accept all of them.  If the thing controls you, then our purpose is
> defeated.  We are not here to make something to _absolutely_ change mankind,
> but to start a new partnership which has not been seen since the first
> humanoid awoke to the idea of a weapon (yes, it is indeed a reference to the
> primeval scene from the movie _2001_ and the casual reference I once made
> about the fundamental relationship between human and tool. (Yes!  I have
> closed yet another loop!)).

TUNES is not a being.  It isn't any more alive than Linux is.  TUNES is a
dynamic, evolving software project.  That means it only evolves at the
whim of its users and coders.  We should not desire the computer to take
control of its own evolution.  It might be a fun experiment, but the
purpose of TUNES is to make a useful system.  If the system is not
completely controllable by the user at all times, how is it useful? 

The desire to create artificially intelligent (autonomous) computer
software is the REASON why existing systems are so stupid!  If you assume
your product will be SELF CAPABLE, why make it easy for the user to get
inside it and change what's going on?  Programmers design their programs
to be complete solutions to a problem, unchangeable by users, because of
their ego!  So the moment things change, their work is obsolete.  This
could be as soon as a user gives the program some input the coder didn't

I think, like TV, many people get confused about computers.  They believe
their TV is a real person.  They have a relationship with it.  It teaches
them.  These people are deluded.

HAL is the worst example to use if you are wishing to emulate sentience. 
HAL was a murderer.  Because the designers tried to make it/him
autonomous.  They should have known better than to not send someone who
knew everything about the inner workings of HAL, so it/he could be
reprogrammed when problems came up.

Tools are an extension of thought (in the reaching out sense, not in the
truth value sense).  If you depend on your tools without thinking (HINT: 
Worship them), then you bring ruin, because the tools depend on thought.

TUNES is not about establishing a "partnership" with the computer.  It is
establishing new partnerships with other *people*.  The computer is a
means to an end, not an end itself (the only thing that is an end in
itself is a human being, said Kant).  The computer should be as invisible
as the telephone.  The telephone transports a person's voice as if it were
in the room.  Likewise we should think of our software as transporting
people's ideas to us.  The mechanism to do such should be invisible, and
that mechanism is what we are designing now.  We need to minimize
interaction with the computer itself and allow direct access to ideas and
people.  Otherwise computers are useless.

David Manifold <>
This message is placed in the public domain.