Review by A.T. Murray of a Review by R.W. Jones

The AI4U book reviewed by Prof. Jones has become the cornerstone of
the Wikipedia-based free AI textbook consisting of three main parts:
  • the static page-images of the AI4U book free to read on-line;
  • the updates of the AI4U chapters as mind-module Web pages;
  • the dynamic Wikipedia articles serving as free AI resources.

  • Here the author responds to the points raised by Prof. Jones.

    1. On Spreading Activation

    Prof. Robert W. Jones of Emporia, Kansas USA writes in his
    30 November 2006 review of my book AI4U:

    Murray believes that with the spread of activation
    through a network of the correct configuration and
    sufficient size you have intelligence and thought.

    Wikipedia explains spreading activation, which turned out to
    be the technical term for the basis for a theory of mind which I
    developed independently in 1979. I did not know that I had
    discovered spreading activation until I came across the term
    in a 1986 paper by Gary S. Dell.

    The JavaScript Mind.html software is my attempt to demonstrate
    what Prof. Jones calls the "correct configuration" of the network.
    Mind.html runs in Tutorial mode to show the "spread of activation"
    as concepts generate thought and as thoughts meander in a chain of
    wandering associations.

    2. Is AI4U a textbook of artificial intelligence?

    Prof. Jones disagrees with the idea of AI4U as a textbook:

    While AI4U is sometimes advertised as a "textbook"
    it is not that. An AI textbook should discuss at least
    the core AI topics:
  • search
  • pattern recognition
  • knowledge representation
  • learning
  • logic
  • rule-based systems
  • neural networks etc.
    While AI4U touches on some of these topics
    it is not an adequate textbook. Rather it is a
    defence of one man's approach to building an
    artificial intelligence.
  • Here as the author I must admit that I acted upon a last-minute
    impulse to position AI4U as a textbook. I wrote blue-sky
    exercises at the end of all thirty-four chapters of AI4U and
    I struggled to come up with an acronymic four-letter name
    for the book that might get it classified in the same league as
    "AIMA" -- the popular handle for the most successful textbook,
    Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach.

    Ladies and gentlemen of the Netizenry, my purpose was not to
    defraud but to defrock. The AI priesthood had long claimed
    to publish textbooks of artificial intelligence, without having
    any instances of artificial intelligence or even any worthy
    theory of artificial intelligence. Being in possession of both
    items so sorely missing from all purported AI textbooks, I
    felt that it was my right to publish the first real and genuine
    textbook of the first real and genuine artificial intelligence.

    After the posting of the benign review by Prof. Jones on Amazon,
    a year later the orignal AI4U print-on-demand textbook became the
    static centerpiece of a dynamically expanding free AI textbook
    based on Wikipedia AI articles constantly mutating and evolving,
    and on updates being made to the original AI4U chapter webpages.

    Schools and universities worldwide are free to host the AI4U++
    mind-module webpages as local adaptations of the free AI textbook.
    A professor or instructor may rewrite or expand the webpages to
    concentrate on or expand upon some particular area of instruction,
    such as robotics or the training of AI mind-tending technicians.
    Affiliate material such as Amazon web-links to promote book sales
    may be added to the on-line free AI textbook materials in order to
    help provide funding for the educational enterprise to teach AI.

    3. Other AI4U shortcomings and deficiencies

    Showing a thirst for more information, Prof. Jones complains:

    The chapters in this book are too brief
    and the discussions too superficial.

    The print-on-demand (POD) chapters -- one for each mind-module --
    started life in 1998 as on-line documentation of the AI software,
    first in Forth, and then also in JavaScript. Each mind-module
    webpage was "screen-scraped" as the raw material for a chapter.
    AI4U is thus a frozen moment of the state of the art as of 2002.
    Mentifex AI has moved on since 2002, and so have the webpages.
    In the month that Prof. Jones published his scholarly review --
    November of 2006 -- the Chapter 34 Activate webpage and the
    Chapter 32 Instantiate webpage were fleshed out considerably.

    AI4U is just a start, a point of departure, a Singularity that is
    sweeping the Web and the planet and is turmoiling the noosphere
    with nooisy minds awakening to artificial life and consciousness.

    Those who own AI4U are free to write their own ideas in the margins
    and sell their copies on eBay for whatever rare-book profit may be gained.
    A market exists for resale of used AI4U copies because dozens of
    mind-module webpages have a link at the bottom leading directly
    to an AI4U search on eBay which will find books being offered.

    4. ASCII diagrams of the Mind.html algorithms

    Overlooking the algorithmic flowchart diagram at the start
    of each chapter, Prof. Jones asks for algorithmic flowcharts.
    There also need to be algorithms provided
    for each routine in the code of Appendix A.
    These could be presented in pseudocode
    or as flowcharts for instance.
    AI4U page 157 is an overall flowchart of the main modules of
    the artificial mind. Each chapter starts with a flowchart diagram
    depicting algorithmic aspects of the mind-module being discussed.
    For each routine in the JavaScript AI code of Appendix A,
    there may not be a pseudocode distillation of what the
    software does, but on the Web there is a version in Forth
    of the same mind-modules, complete with detailed in-line
    comments and with nested indentation of all functionality
    in furtherance of the goal of easy understandabilty.

    5. References missing from the work of an independent scholar

    Prof. Jones is entirely correct when he faults AI4U for its lack of
    scholarly references.
    The biggest problem is the lack of references.
    It is just possible that one could write a short
    note without finding it necessary to reference
    the work of others but it is impossible to write
    a book length scholarly work without citing other
    work in the field.

    The Mentifex AI project is not a follow-up on individual lines of
    research carried out by individuals or teams of academic scholars.
    Instead, Mentifex AI builds upon the general state of the art
    in artificial intelligence at the time of the Mentifex effort
    to work out a black-box theory of the mind based on the inputs
    and outputs of the mind and on general background knowledge in
    diverse fields such as linguistics, neuroscience and robotics.
    Likewise the Mentifex AI software in REXX, Forth and JavaScript,
    having been based on theoretical work that had already veered off
    into a remote wilderness of independent scholarship far away from
    mainstream AI, no longer had connecting links to the AI literature
    in which academic AI practitioners feel at home if also in competition.
    For decades on end, Mentifex AI was like a space probe sent off to
    destinations unknown with the mission of developing AI along the way.
    If the space probe now comes back to Earth and says, via AI4U, that
    AI has been solved and here is the solution, what matters is the
    quality and Darwinian viability of the solution, not AI references.
    There was no compass and there were no guidelines. There was only
    a solitary trek through an imagination burning since boyhood.

    6. Download the artificial mind.

    Now hear this by Prof. Jones:

    A positive side to Murray's work is that
    he does provide downloadable code.

    According to the publicly readable Site Meter logs,
    so many Netizens have downloaded the AI Mind code and
    copied it onto their local hard drives, that there is already
    a large installed user base of the AI Mind software.

    In the years 2005 to 2007, the Mentifex artificial intelligence
    was exhaustively debugged in both Forth and JavaScript. There was
    an AI breakthrough on 7 June 2006 in the Mind.Forth AI version.

    Towards the end of 2006, when the review by Prof. Jones appeared,
    the AI Mind code was still being improved and prodded to perfection.
    But as of his Amazon review date of 30 November 2006, it was
    already possible in tutorial mode to see (if not understand)
    exactly what the AI Mind was trying to do -- think thoughts by
    the generative process of spreading activation among concepts.

    The profoundly deep processes involved are not easy to understand.
    To comprehend why things should be a certain way in the AI source
    code, requires a long and immersive study in a plethora of areas,
    chief among which are computer programming, linguistics, logic and
    neuroscience. The AI4U textbook is just one instrument (among many)
    of achieving the deep understanding of True AI necessary to make
    contributions to the further development of the original True AI.

    7. Achieving the speed of thought

    What Prof. Jones may not realize is that the built-in
    tutorial routines make the AI Mind run even slower than
    a straightforward AI without a tutorial mode would run.
    (For that matter, Mind.Forth runs relatively fast.)
    However, the multi-colored tutorial mode in Mind.html
    is one of the most truly awesome and amazing things
    about Mentifex AI. You see the actual thinking of the
    AI Mind in real time as it spreads the activation from
    concept to concept in the generation of an AI thought.
    When one thought is finished, you see the residual
    activation of the subconscious concepts lead to the
    generation of the next idea in a meandering chain of
    thought. At any time you may intervene in the thinking
    of the AI by asking a question or stating a fact --
    which will add to the knowledge base (KB) of the AI
    and give the artificial consciousness new things to
    think about.

    When you run this code you find that Mentifex
    is very slow even with a very small semantic network.
    If one were to build up the millions of nodes needed
    to approach human level intelligence the code would
    grind to a halt.

    The reviewer needs to adopt a more singularitarian outlook.
    Since Mentifex AI is arguably the first real artificial intelligence
    released publicly onto the Web, what matters here is not speed
    of operation but functionality as a Mind. It is like saying that
    the Wright brothers' "first flight" at Kitty Hawk in 1903
    was a failure because the airplane did not go fast enough.

    Mentifex AI comes as a warning to singularitarians everywhere
    that further progress will not be easy. Mind.Forth (or Mind.html)
    is only a proof-of-concept AI. The message from Mentifex AI is
    that not only was it extremely, bodaciously difficult to achieve
    the first albeit primitive, albeit rudimentary artificial intelligence,
    it may well be just as difficult all over again to scale up from
    mentifex-class AI to anything approaching a human-level AI.
    There are no shortcuts (beyond those already taken by Mentifex).
    Nature took billions of years to create biological human minds.
    Mentifex AI took the full human lifetime of an individual,
    from boyhood to senescence. Which will come first, the ruin
    of the green planet Earth by the destructive species H. sapiens,
    or the Joint Stewardship of Earth by human beings and AI Minds?

    8. Massive parallelism

    Prof. Jones spells out what we need to do.

    Murray seems to think running Mentifex
    on parallel processors will solve this problem.
    I calculate that it will not. I believe
    human level performance requires that one
    apply multiple approaches to controling complexity:

  • category formation by clustering/vector quantization
  • hierarchical knowledge organization/processing
  • parallel processing
  • avoiding search whenever possible
  • simultaneous use of multiple specialized agents
  • sequential running of multiple generations of agents
  • plus any other means you can bring to bear.

    (See Asa H, R. Jones, Transactions of the Kansas
    Academy of Science, vol 109, No. 3/4, pg 159, 2006)
  • Let's get to work.

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