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Oct 12, 1986, 3:18:22 PM10/12/86

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> l...@galbp.UUCP

> Lisa Meyer has requested information on expert systems, PD and PC related

> tools.

Lisa,

I suggest that you start with Waterman's "A Guide to Expert Systems", as

well as looking in your University book store and local commercial

book stores and computer stores. This will give you a working bibliography

to pursue.

Most tools listed in the Waterman book are public domain and can often

be obtained from the respective institution for a nominal price (usually of a

tape).

Periodicals include IEEE Expert (quarterly), AI Expert (monthly), SIGART

(ACM Sig on AI), and AI Magazine (AAAI, quarterly). Also, see the July 86

issue of Computer (IEEE Computer Society).

There are a number of PC tools and languages available. Best place to look

is Byte magazine and various PC magazines. There are a number of LISPs,

PROLOGs and a good Smalltalk available. TI has SCHEME and 2 levels

of Personal Consultant. Insight-2+ has also received good reviews.

For Public Domain PC software, I suggest the CompuServe Information

Service (CIS). There is a Forum sponsored by AI Expert magazine which

has a great deal of PD tools. It's also a great place for getting information

oriented towards PC's.

Also, the following BBS'es:

Boston, Mass. (Common Lisp Group) (617) 492-2399

Woodbury, Conn. (203) 263-5783

Jeffrey M. Jacobs

CONSART Systems Inc.

Technical and Managerial Consultants

P.O. Box 3016, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

(213)376-3802

CIS:75076,2603

BIX:jeffjacobs

USENET: well!jjacobs

Oct 12, 1986, 3:26:35 PM10/12/86

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I. What is "understanding", or "ducking" the issue...

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and

quacks like a duck, then it is *called* a duck. If you cut it open and

find that the organs are something other than a duck's, *then*

maybe it shouldn't be called a duck. What it should be called becomes

open to discussion (maybe dinner).

The same principle applies to "understanding".

If the "box" performs all of what we accept to be the defining requirements

of "understanding", such as reading and responding to the same level as

that of a "native Chinese", then it certainly has a fair claim to be

called "understanding".

Most so-called "understanding" is the result of training and

education. We are taught "procedures" to follow to

arrive at a desired result/conclusion. The primary difference between

human education and Searle's "formal procedures" is a matter

of how *well* the procedures are specified . Education is primarily a

matter of teaching "procedures", whether it be mathematics, chemistry

or creative writing. The *better* understood the field, the more "formal"

the procedures. Mathematics is very well understood, and

consists almost entirely of "formal procedures". (Mathematics

was also once considered highest form of philosophy and intellectual

attainment).

This leads to the obvious conclusion that humans do not

*understand* natural language very well. Natural language processing

via purely formal procedures has been a dismal failure.

The lack of understanding of natural languages is also empirically

demonstrable. Confusion about the meaning

of a person's words, intentions etc can be seen in every

interaction with your boss/students/teachers/spouse/parents/kids

etc etc.

"You only think you understand what I said..."

Jeffrey M. Jacobs

CONSART Systems Inc.

Technical and Managerial Consultants

P.O. Box 3016, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

(213)376-3802

CIS:75076,2603

BIX:jeffjacobs

USENET: well!jjacobs

"It used to be considered a hoax if there *was* a man in the box..."

Oct 13, 1986, 6:07:54 PM10/13/86

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In article <19...@well.UUCP>, jja...@well.UUCP (Jeffrey Jacobs) writes:

> Mathematics is very well understood, and

> consists almost entirely of "formal procedures".

> Mathematics is very well understood, and

> consists almost entirely of "formal procedures".

I infer from your comment that you're not a mathematician.

As a practicing mathematician (amongst other things), I'd

like to ask precisely what you mean by *well understood*?

And I would like to strongly disagree with your comment that

doing mathematics consists almost entirely of formal procedures.

Are you aware that one of the biggest problems in formalising

mathematics is trying to figure out what it is that

mathematicians do to prove new theorems?

Peter Ladkin

lad...@kestrel.arpa

Oct 14, 1986, 10:39:29 PM10/14/86

to

In <13...@kestrel.ARPA>, Peter Ladkin writes:

>In article <19...@well.UUCP>, jja...@well.UUCP (Jeffrey Jacobs) writes:

>> Mathematics is very well understood, and

>> consists almost entirely of "formal procedures".

>I infer from your comment that you're not a mathematician.

>As a practicing mathematician (amongst other things), I'd

>like to ask precisely what you mean by *well understood*?

I'd like to answer precisely, but one of the problems with

English, as opposed to mathematics, is the difficulty of answering

precisely. Let me instead give you an example; which do

you understand better, a proof of a theorem, or the lead

story in today's paper, describing why the summit, (which

wasn't a summit), failed?

I don't intend to imply that the field of mathematics is

in any way *completely* understood or running out of new things

to do.

>And I would like to strongly disagree with your comment that

>doing mathematics consists almost entirely of formal procedures.

What you are disagreeing with is a misinterpretation on your part.

I didn't use the term "doing mathematics", and didn't intend to. I

was speaking on the nature of what it is that mathematics consists of.

"doing mathematics"has many aspects; it may be a "canned"

procedure, or it may be an incredibly tough, creative, intuitive

effort.

>Are you aware that one of the biggest problems in formalising

>mathematics is trying to figure out what it is that

>mathematicians do to prove new theorems?

That's not a problem in mathematics, it's a problem in psychology!

The end result of mathematics is "formalism"; well defined, algorithmic

procedures to transform a set of symbols into a different set of symbols

(or to describe the transformations, etc). It is much more rigorous

and well defined (aka understood) than other realms of human

endeavor (such as psychology, or even physics).

>Peter Ladkin

>lad...@kestrel.arpa

"He only thought he understood what I wrote :-)"

Oct 16, 1986, 5:51:18 PM10/16/86

to

In article <19...@well.UUCP>, jja...@well.UUCP (Jeffrey Jacobs) writes:

> [..] which do> you understand better, a proof of a theorem, or the lead

> story in today's paper, describing why the summit, (which

> wasn't a summit), failed?

If the theorem is the Four Color Theorem, Friedman's theorem

on the four-sphere, or any of many others,

then I understand the newspaper story much better.

What do you intend to conclude from your example?

> >Are you aware that one of the biggest problems in formalising

> >mathematics is trying to figure out what it is that

> >mathematicians do to prove new theorems?

>

> That's not a problem in mathematics, it's a problem in psychology!

Have you heard of the `definition' of mathematics as whatever it

is that mathematicians do?

> The end result of mathematics is "formalism"; well defined, algorithmic

> procedures to transform a set of symbols into a different set of symbols

> (or to describe the transformations, etc). It is much more rigorous

> and well defined (aka understood) than other realms of human

> endeavor (such as psychology, or even physics).

So mathematics consists of procedures?

Neither theorems nor proofs are procedures.

Should I conclude from this that theorems and proofs are not

mathematics?

Or should I conclude that you don't really mean this?

Peter Ladkin

lad...@kestrel.arpa

Oct 21, 1986, 9:29:09 AM10/21/86

to

In article <19...@well.UUCP> jja...@well.UUCP (Jeffrey Jacobs) writes:

>

>Most so-called "understanding" is the result of training and

>education. We are taught "procedures" to follow to

>arrive at a desired result/conclusion. Education is primarily a >

>Most so-called "understanding" is the result of training and

>education. We are taught "procedures" to follow to

>matter of teaching "procedures", whether it be mathematics, chemistry

>or creative writing. The *better* understood the field, the more "formal"

>the procedures. Mathematics is very well understood, and

>consists almost entirely of "formal procedures".

>or creative writing. The *better* understood the field, the more "formal"

>the procedures. Mathematics is very well understood, and

>consists almost entirely of "formal procedures".

This is contentious and smacks of modelling all learning procedures

in terms of a single subject, i.e. mathematics. I can't think of a

more horrible subject to model human understanding on, given the

inhumanity of most mathematics!

Someone with as little as a week of curriculum studies could flatten

this assertion instantly. NO respectable curriculum theory holds that

there is a single form of knowledge to which all bodies of human

experience conform with decreasing measures of formal success. In the

UK, it is official curriculum policy to initiate children into

several `forms' of knowledge (mathematics, physical science,

technology, humanities, aesthetics, religion and the other one).

The degree to which "understanding" is accepted as procedural rote

learning varies from discipline to discipline. Your unsupported

equivalence between understanding and formality ("The *better* understood the

field, the more "formal" the procedures") would not last long in the

hands of social and religious studies, history, literature, craft/design

and technology or art teachers. Despite advances in LISP and

connection machines, no-one has yet formally modelled any of these areas to

the satisfaction of their skilled practitioners. I find it strange

that AI workers who would struggle to write a history/literature/design

essay to the satisfaction of a recognised authority are naive enough to believe

that they could program a machine to write one.

Many educational psychologists and experienced teachers would completely

reject your assertions on the ground that unpersonalised cookbook-style

passively-internalised formalisms, far from being a sign of understanding,

actually constitute the exact opposite of understanding. For me, the term

`understanding' cannot be applied to anything that someone has learnt until

they can act on this knowledge within the REAL world (no text book

problems or ineffective design rituals), justify their action in terms of this

knowledge and finally demonstrate integration of the new knowledge with their

existing views of the world (put it in their own words).

Finally, your passive view of understanding cannot explain creative

thought. Granted, you say `Most so-called "understanding"', but I

would challenge any view that creative thought is exceptional -

the mark of great and noble scientists who cannot yet be modelled by

LISP programs. On the contrary, much of our daily lives has to be

highly creative because our poor understanding of the world forces us to

creatively fill in the gaps left by our inadequate formal education.

Show me one engineer who has ever designed something from start to

finish 100% according to the book. Even where design codes exist, as

in bridge-building, much is left to the imagination. No formal prescription

of behaviour will ever fully constrain the way a human will act.

In situations where it is meant to, such as the military, folk spend a

lot of time pretending either to have done exactly what they were told

or to have said exactly what they wanted to be done. Nearer to home, find me

one computer programmer who's understanding is based 100% on formal procedures.

Even the most formal programmers will be lucky to be in program-proving mode

more than 60% of the time. So I take it that they don't `understand' what

they're doing the other 40% of the time? Maybe, but if this is the case, then

all we've revealed are differences in our dictionaries. Who gave you the formal procedure for ascribing meaning to the word "understanding"?

>This leads to the obvious conclusion that humans do not

>*understand* natural language very well.

>The lack of understanding of natural languages is also empirically

>demonstrable. Confusion about the meaning

>of a person's words, intentions etc can be seen in every interaction

... over the net!

Words MEAN something, and what they do mean is relative to the speakers and

the situation. The lack of formal procedures has NOTHING to do with

breakdowns in inter-subjective understanding. It is wholly due to

inabilities to view and describe the world in terms other than one's own.

--

Gilbert Cockton, Scottish HCI Centre, Ben Line Building, Edinburgh, EH1 1TN

JANET: gil...@uk.ac.hw.aimmi ARPA: gilbert%aimmi.h...@cs.ucl.ac.uk

UUCP: ..!{backbone}!aimmi.hw.ac.uk!gilbert

Oct 28, 1986, 7:16:26 AM10/28/86

to

In article <19...@well.UUCP>, jja...@well.UUCP (Jeffrey Jacobs) writes:

> (or to describe the transformations, etc). It is much more rigorous

> and well defined (aka understood) than other realms of human

> endeavor (such as psychology, or even physics).

> (or to describe the transformations, etc). It is much more rigorous

> and well defined (aka understood) than other realms of human

> endeavor (such as psychology, or even physics).

`well-defined' and `understood' are not synonyms where I come from.

As an Englishman, and thus an ancestor of the folk who invented the

language, can I ask you transatlantic chappies to stop messing around with it.

English was very nice until you got your hands on it!

Seriously, science tends to generate very well-defined theories, which,

more often than not, turn out to be wrong. Under your silly synonymy,

this means that falsehood and understanding are equivalent. There is a

school of philosophy (and thus unread by the philistine (amateur?) element in

AI), which holds that `verstehen' or understanding, is wholly subjective,

a personal experience with no linguistic form. Any attempt to define

it must therefore fail. Outside of AI with its dated (Platonic?) epistemologies

and theories of mind, the logocentrism of tight definitions is

becoming something of a joke, although an unpleasant one for anyone

who has suffered at the hands of someone else's small print definitions.

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