Posts Tagged ‘Intelligence’

By using the term ecology, I mean the study of the interaction of people with their environment: the environment of human awareness and knowledge.

I think that most people, feel that they are aware of their surroundings.  Psychologists say that because you feel as though you are aware, you assume everyone else is as aware as you; more or less.  Unfortunately, it does not turn out that way.  There are a host of ill effects because  there seems to be very little in our awareness that any few people can agree upon.  The lack of shared knowledge, the lack of shared intelligence, have an affect on the different level or type or kind of awareness in societies of people everywhere.  If everyone were (explicitly) conscious of one and the same thing, then we could say that everyone is conscious of such and such.  But we cannot make such a statement or claim in this day and age.   A day and age of modern communications, computers and “open information” mind you.

Nonetheless human beings are modelers in this world or environment in that we build or construct models of it that suit us or satisfy us either by explaining or predicting the circumstances in which we find ourselves.  I should say that I take it for granted that there are both good and bad models.  I want to introduce you to a good model of the organism of intelligence (mentioned in my last post) that each of us use, even though most of us are not very conscious of it.  I expect that anyone can tell a good model from a bad one.  A good model is one that stirs or moves your awareness. It affects you in such a way as you are disposed, obliged even, to pay closer attention, as it obliges one to think more exactly about someone or something; it is one that warrants becoming more aware of it;  conscious of it, learning it: ultimately using it for enlightenment and for gain.

A model M is equivalent to a knowledge K. M=K because we employ models in making predictions about certain attributes just as we employ our knowledge. The term “attribute” is used here as a noun in an ordinary way to signify a quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something. Every environment has attributes that are characteristic of it.

For example, the ecosystem is an environment that has the attributes of air, water, earth and fire. The goal is to find just those attributes (and no more) that are enough to quantify the valuable or significant changes that make a substantial difference; affect our surroundings in some way. That is, to generate or induce knowledge and awareness we must perform a transformation: we must transform (what is recognized to be) an attribute of the environment into a personal or individual affect. That may sound strange, so let me explain it a little further.

In the case of the ecosystem, the attributes air, water, earth and fire can affect us, and one might readily imagine how the presence or absence of water or air can induce different states of mind. In any case, they may be the cause of some serious condition that could affect any one of us; imagine the situation where there is no air to breath. This quality makes air a good attribute of this environment (the ecosystem) because we can readily imagine and predict how we could be affected given some arbitrary change in the situation. But: — are these attributes sufficient and all that is necessary to predict all possible changes in the environment that might affect us?

Imagine now, how difficult it must be for scientists, for anyone, to build a model of the environment of human knowledge, awareness and consciousness. In some circles of research, that is what AI and AGI engineers are trying, have been trying to do. It is true the engineers and programmers have not been up to the daunting task of it. Yet that does not diminish the fact that it is what needs to be done in order to produce an AGI, after all: we need to be able to model our own situational awareness.  By doing so, we may become better equipped to anticipate and reduce the affects of unwanted and harmful eventualities of which many people are all too aware.

For example, economists create models of economies with certain attributes and premises. For better or worse, this is done in order to deduce conclusions about possible eventualities. Economic models are useful as tools for judging which alternative outcomes seem reasonable or likely. In such cases the model is being used for prediction. Thus the model is part of some knowledge about the environment.

The model embodies the knowledge because it is itself a capacity for prediction. Thus, a model M can be considered to be fully equivalent to a knowledge. Therefore we can assume here that a model is synonymous with a knowledge. More specifically, it appears that a qualitatively relative definition of knowledge is warranted: “A Knowledge K is a capacity to predict the value which an attribute of the environment will take under specified conditions of context.”

Now let’s talk about people (sapients) and frame a model of their environment, that is, the environment of their awareness; of which they are aware (sapient). We can assume that everyone’s awareness changes in regular and predictable ways and each person has some knowledge that allows them to predict the value of attributes in their own awareness. Here, as you see, an awareness is equivalent to the environment in which we abide. We are intuitively surrounded by or abiding in the environs of sapience.

Before I begin the example let me reveal that I have a knowledge of the attributes of a denotative awareness that includes and subsumes all possible connotative environments. I will say there are eleven attributes to this environment of awareness but I will only introduce two of them we call “Self” and “Others” in this example. Like all the attributes of this rather explicit awareness, these two attributes, Self and Others, correspond with the real entities and their activities, self and others, in the world of ordinary affairs and situations. I am only using these two in order to keep the explanation simple and real and because that is all that is necessary to demonstrate the meaning of intelligence, which I will now define as: the organism or mechanism of the attributes of the environment to affect awareness.

So, to be clear, I am not going to give the complete specification of that organism or mechanism here, but I will show you how two of the attributes of the environment I have clearly in mind “affect” both my predictions and yours.  Incidentally, let me also define a “mind” as a (psychical) state space (e.g. abstract and mental space).  So we begin with an assertion: Besides my own self, there are others in my environment; the environment in which I exist and of which I am aware.

I embody the organism we call  intelligence (as do you)  and I have a knowledge K to predict that the value of a single measurement of the attribute Others, equivalent to and connotative of “wife” will be Gloria, just in case I am asked about it. This prediction is observed to be a transformation of the state space of the attribute Others, just like the state space of the attribute Self.  Under the specified conditions and in the context of my own environment, the state space is transformed, by my own knowledge K to be equivalent to my name=Ken. Under the same specified conditions of context: the connotative context “my wife” is connected to the denotative context (observable yet normally left tacit or unemphasized) by taking successive measurements (e.g. making interpretations) of these explicitly shared attributes of the environment of my awareness. I believe that once consumed, that much ought to become clear and self-evident, that is: I take it as being axiomatic.

I can also predict that additional measurements of the attributes Self and Others will yield different values equivalent to the connotative appearance of several other self-organized entities, things or activities, that become salient to my own environment from time to time. In this way (and only in this way) my Knowledge K is different than your knowledge T. It is peculiar to my thoughts and perceptions in the context of the environment situated where I live, i.e; to my awareness of that environment. You will have a similar situation –your own “context” (the particular circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed) of the environment of your own awareness. We don’t know each others knowledge or awareness. We (may only implicitly) know and share the explicit attributes of such a (sapient) awareness.

That is to say that I live in the same environment (of general awareness and sapience) as you. And I have a knowledge K of Self and Others, as attributes of this environment that (the relevance or significance of which) you may only now be becoming aware of. Both Self and Others are clearly attributes in our shared awareness. In fact, they are attributes of a universal environment for homo sapients. Remember that a knowledge T, K, …, or M is a capacity to predict the value which an attribute of the environment will take under specified conditions of context. Everyone has their own name, knowledge (whether implicit and explicit) and their own conditions of context. This is the private knowledge held inside them and perhaps also by relatives and friends.

Now we are able to make some observations and see some of the implications that flow from what has been stated above. We can intuit, for instance, that a wholesome knowledge K is evidenced whenever an organism produces information or reduces a priori uncertainty about its environment. I realize this is incomplete, though it demonstrates that (connotative and social) knowledge, text and all computer data is synthesized from (the transformation of) valid attributes A, which cannot be construed as being contained in or patterned by (computer) data nor by modern language.

Any invariant or regular and unitary attribute A (whereby individuals are distinguished) ought be seen as a continuity to be treated as valid– and used as a handy and trustworthy rubric for making or producing transformations (in the state space of a mind) applied in a context of the environment.  Each measurement produces a single valuation, that could be the same or different at any moment and from place to place –only appearing to be impossibly chaotic or complex.  For those that understand such things, such an attribute may be considered a correspondence.  This correspondence may be formalized as a functional mapping of the form A: Ɵ → Ɵ where Ɵ is the (denotative) state space of the environment mapped to the (connotative) state space of the environment.  We found more than a dozen types or configurations of functional mappings that are applied in variant connotative contexts.

So, to conclude: an environment of human awareness can be understood simply as the denotative and connotative surroundings and conditions in which the organism of the attributes (and capacity of independent awareness with a knowledge) operates, is asserted and is applied.

The good news is that now that we know that it is the organism of the attributes of the environment of awareness, consciousness, that is both explicit and universal (not connotative belief,  knowledge or perception or conception –which are all relatively defined) we can get down to resolving differences while  accommodating everyone.  To be specific, we can seek better understanding and control over perceptual and conceptual states of awareness in a decidedly invariant environment (awareness) of continuous change, where intelligence is any organism or mechanism of the attributes of an environment that affects such awareness and consciousness.


We can also define semantics as the correspondence of both the denotative and connotative states of conception to the set of all possible functions given the attributes of the environment.  Now, if you want to know more details you will need to put me on a retainer and pay me.

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The world is lacking an operational definition of intelligence that can lead to more exact thinking and to computer systems that help people to think more clearly and effectively. A good operational definition ought to be:

  1. Specific enough to be implanted as a procedure one that can be easily and readily followed.
  2. Motivational, manageable, measurable such that it leads to invention, progress, successful outcome.
  3. Attainable such that any baby can use the organism to sense and control entities and activities in its world or environment.
  4. Relevant, in that it is determinate of what is to become significant, or;
  5. Timely, and
  6. Salient

This definition (stated below) addresses two questions:

  • Where do we get the intelligence to deal with a growing, changing reality?
  • How does intelligence work to make changes in our favor?

Most researchers agree that human intelligence is observed in behavior, in particular, in language and through speech acts. The Sapir-Whorf theory of linguistic relativity, was summarized by the semanticist Stuart Chase, when he stated:

“First, that all higher levels of thinking are dependent on language. Second, that the structure of the language one habitually uses influences the manner in which one understands his environment. The picture of the universe shifts from tongue to tongue.”

Restating this linguistic theory as a systems theory and in terms of analytic and computational engineering, notational engineer Jeffry Long wrote:

“First, that all abstract thinking is dependent upon the existence or invention of notational systems. Second, that the underlying ontological inventions of the notational system one habitually uses influences the manner in which one understands his environment. Acquiring literacy in a major notation causes us to add a new dimension to our picture of the universe.”

Based on twenty-seven years of intimate experience, I can restate Tammam Adi’s theory of semantics based on Classical Arabic, in this way:

First, living in the world is a growing, expanding experience or (ontogenic) process in which we make things (speech, nouns, names; things, artifacts, etc.). The words of language are made of abstract structures referencing bits or segments of this growing/making reality that we construct and utilize for common edification and understanding.

Second, the growth in common and social sense, along with modern languages, rests on ontogenetic intelligence in the organism of mind and on the success of its notational system: its elementary (ontogenic) processes and semantic rules, and its recognizable symbols (e.g. alphabets) and system of writing. Collectively, we call these “ontological inventions” for making progress.

Thirdly, word structure is composed of clusters or configurations of ontological inventions involving and representing both real and abstract entities and activities, arranged in such way as to be productive (of making sense, meaning, things) of understanding.

With Adi’s theory of (algebraic, axiomatic) semantics, it is possible to specify the ordinary conditions and ontogenic controls of sapience in the following concise and formalized way:

There is a self-organizing mechanism (regulating schemata) comprising:

  1. the polarity of an abstract entity, representing engagement conditions, (G) distinguishing the involvement and participation of oneself and others, (G={Self, Others}) in;
  2. a symmetrical relationship (R) crossing the polarity of an abstract procedure, representing an ontogenic orientation and boundary conditions
    (T={Open, Closed}, and R=T X G) for;
  3. a set of invariant and elementary processes
    (P={assignment, manifestation, containment}) being structured by the abstract entity, using the polar procedure for growing and making (sense, understanding, artifacts etc.) and;
  4. which schematic arrangement of such entities and activities generates symbolic and semantic operations (syntactically) carried out or produced (i.e. interpreted) by enacting them (via speech-acts, etc.).

We call this intelligence and we say: “Intelligence is the organism of a mind uniting (abstract and real) entities and activities in such a way that they are productive of regular changes from the beginning until the end.”

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Albert Einstein wrote: “Computers are incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid. Human beings are incredibly slow, inaccurate, and brilliant. Together they are powerful beyond imagination.”

The partnership between human beings and computers is long and enduring and there are so many examples of just how powerful the influence of computers really is. This was especially true after the debut of the personal computer, and again after the debut of the Internet that gets us connected today.

When spreadsheets came out we became better tabulators. When word-processing and spell-checkers arrived we became better writers. The widespread use of relational databases made it easier to collect, store and manage information making us more intelligent about larger collections of data.

Over the decades of computing the costs of storing data have dropped to nearly nothing.  In many cases storing data on the Internet is free.  The costs of collecting data has dropped significantly.  There was a time, not so long ago, that the 300 baud modem was the most common way to connect or be “on-line” with another computer.  The costs to download 10 megabytes over long distance telephone lines was not inexpensive.  Now people connect to the Internet over public wireless networks in most cities. It is offered free by many business establishments. People now download a thousand times the amount of data moved in 1985.

But something went wrong. The five basic means and capabilities needed for intelligence are collection, storage, retrieval, analysis and dissemination. We have systems of collection, storage, retrieval and dissemination but the systems we do have for analysis are not generally something anyone can run on their personal computer.  Even if we can run them on a desktop pc, they are complex systems that require significant expertise to make them work well in limited areas of specialization.

Analyzing the patterns and ordering the data helps us learn about the world and obtain to better and more complete theories.  Albert Einstien wrote:  “Concepts that have proven useful in ordering things easily achieve authority over us that we forget their earthy origins and accept them as unalterable givens.  Thus they might come to be stamped as “necessities of thought,” “a priori givens,” etc.  The path of scientific progress is often made impassable for a long time by such errors.  Therefore it is by no means an idle game if we become practiced in analyzing long-held  commonplace concepts and showing the circumstances on which their justification and usefulness depend, and how they have grown up,  individually, out of the givens of experience.  Thus, their excessive authority will be broken.  They will be removed if they cannot be properly legitimated, corrected if their correlation with  given things be far too superfluous, or replaced if a new system can be established that we prefer for any reason.”

Yet, still, here and now as we are in the twenty-first century we are lacking knowledge of those things that are given in our individual, private, and our public, social experience.  There is no model, no theory by which we can know, count and measure the givens of experience.  Einstein also wrote that: “It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience.”

So, it is a fair question to ask after the adequate representation to the givens of experience.  It is reported that in a letter to his son, Einstein wrote that: “Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance you must keep moving.”

Isn’t it time to move on to a new way of thinking about intelligence and our means and capability to alter the structure and order of our independent, yet collective reality?  This video below defines simple basic and abstract elements of thinking that could make it possible for computers to do more intelligent analysis in much simpler ways, and to help us become better thinkers in the process.

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Scientists say the brain is the organ of intelligence and imagination and the human soul or psyche is widely understood as the wrapper or envelope for a singularly distinctive intellect often simply called: the mind. By way of stating the obvious, I wish to underline that the powers of the human intellect and the capacity to think, calculate and reason, are attributes of beings with a particular kind of soul (a psyche) with a perceptive mind of a certain kind of character.

I am someone who would not dispute that all living things in this world of experience partake in amounts, more or less, of a single soul-substance on the basis that there is only way of being alive in this world. That is the genesis and evolutionary trajectory of the biological process of life. Together with life itself, there are a multitude of ways of life (deen in Arabic) and living things. The unity of these might comprise what I will call here, the World Soul – or the World-Making soul. The purpose of making up the world is part of the topic of this post.

On this stand, each living thing, then, should also have or display some aspect of life of only one kind or mind, that is, a world-making mind. The implications of such a view could be the subject of some debate, although; I wish to narrow this discussion to the subject of the human variety of souls, and; the kind and character of mind and intellect we might enjoy from any fellow human being, irrespective of their language or society.

I beg my reader will allow the loose definition of the mind as a unity, an intellectual potentiality or intellect united with will; both necessary and functional parts of life as a human being. I can further define the intellect as being a cognitive power sufficient for the making/creation of all manner of intelligent dispensations and dispositions –both actual, and only imagined or potential.– as it is, in any case, quite truly a topic more involved than my topic here.

The psyche or soul can be demonstrated to be the immaterial part of the body, (a purposeful) part of us (persons, individuals, human agents) that imbues us with intentional knowledge and perception and a unified awareness of mind and movement. What is called the human soul or psyche is that part of the living creature that accommodates a mind. The soul, mind and body comprise a unity, achieving the instrumentality of a cosmic syzygy –the form of a natural body having life potentially within it. Together they comprise the object of a unified awareness that does think and has intention, knowledge and perception along with the powers to create, and the reason to make dispensations and dispositions.

In that sense what we call the psyche is a composite of soul, mind or intellect, and the body with which it unites for a time. The soul-substance can be understood as the incorporeal yet purposeful part of the material body for what follows here below.

It is my claim here that such a substance as a soul is necessary for any natural or artificial body, for any reckoning agent, to be capable of comparing (grasping/holding, recognizing) that which is befitting the natural intellect or mind –available upon recall just in case of one’s pending disposition or dispensation. Before anyone raises the objection of soul as substance or that computing machines can not have a soul of any kind, let me offer up Aristotle’s definition of kinds of bodies and the all-important soul, found in this translation of his treatise on the soul:

“Among substances are by general consent reckoned bodies and especially natural bodies; for they are the principles of all other bodies. Of natural bodies some have life in them, others not; by life we mean self-nutrition and growth (with its correlative decay). It follows that every natural body which has life in it is a substance in the sense of a composite. But since it is also a body of such and such a kind, viz. having life, the body cannot be soul; the body is the subject or matter, not what is attributed to it. Hence the soul must be a substance in the sense of the form of a natural body having life potentially within it. But substance is actuality, and thus soul is the actuality of a body as above characterized…”Aristotle, De Anime, Book II, Chapter 1: (translation by J. A. Smith)

Aristotle might not have imagined a composite body quite like a (non-intelligent) computer system, an artificial body –composed of a central processor or CPU, memory and I/O devices, software applications and programs — although his definition allowed for reckoned bodies –of which a computer system is an exemplar in both the potential and actual sense.

Yet, here, it is the necessary and sufficient actuality –that substance or formulable essence “of a natural body having life potentially within it” – that is absent of the “intelligent computer system”. The correct kind of soul is altogether absent from this otherwise stellar exemplar of the whatness of a reckoning (yet neither thinking nor perceiving) body that we refer to as a computer or system, and also as a “search engine” when applied as such.

I have argued that if we intend our computational or reckoning bodies (our search engines) to become intelligent, or become capable of intelligent behavior, and if we also desire them to think as any layman does, then they must be given the same formulable essence as has a natural human body. This should not be seen as a strange claim or new idea as it is an ancient and well-accepted one. A little farther on from the passage above, Aristotle continues:

“…the soul is the first grade of actuality of a natural body having life potentially in it. The body so described is a body which is organized.”

This hints at what one might look for –that is, a body (a self-contained computing system) organized by the soul-substance (a composite and formulable form) of a natural (living) body. That formulable essence might be called the semantic matrix of life, a unified composite of being in existence and having intention (a directive-mind). This form of being, by way of orientation and creative powers, would have all the knowledge necessary to (imaginatively) actualize being; not just a passive being; a thriving actuality (a well-ordered, organized, and cultivated being) able to acquire, possess and use knowledge. The master, Aristotle, goes on to define a soul:

“What is soul?-an answer which applies to it in its full extent. It is substance in the sense which corresponds to the definitive formula of a thing’s essence. That means that it is ‘the essential whatness’ of a body of the character just assigned. Suppose that what is literally an ‘organ’, like an axe, were a natural body, its ‘essential whatness’, would have been its essence, and so its soul; if this disappeared from it, it would have ceased to be an axe, except in name. As it is, it is just an axe; it wants the character which is required to make its whatness or formulable essence a soul; for that, it would have had to be a natural body of a particular kind, viz. one having in itself the power of setting itself in movement and arresting itself.” – Aristotle, De Anime

This is what the “intelligent computer” cries out for. As it is, the computer is just a computer, the web is just a web, and networked intelligence is just a dream. Artificial Intelligence has no soul and it has all but ceased to be, except in name, “intelligence” at all. For most practitioners, it has already thrown off the name and put on the new moniker: the semantic web –not being any the more intelligent at all. It is the same for the body social. That crowd calls out for a soul.

Nonetheless, the science of AI wants the character which is required to make its whatness or its formulable essence characterize a human psyche –the form of the human intellect. This may not be just any kind of soul, it is worth repeating, but a soul with a particular kind of character –that of a living, cultivating, directed/oriented human being. This, of course, is paramount to one “having in itself the power” (or power schema) “of setting itself” (a natural body) “in movement and arresting itself”. That power would be the form of the intellect or the mind.

Notwithstanding certain progress in the field of robotics, sometimes called nouvelle AI, and other than the language and semantic research of Dr. Tom Adi and our work together on semantic recognition and intelligent search systems, there has been very little R&D along these lines. Philosophers have been unable to define mind. What is called cognitive psychology or cognitive science is not the same thing at all. The closest field of psychology to this school of thought would be that of the ecological psychology espoused by James, Gibson and Shaw.

Ecological psychology is characterized by the interdependence of living organisms in an environment. An ecologically minded soul is concerned with preserving the environment and natural resources so that such resources are used in sensible ways (e.g., not to profit the few). This is the character of a mind and intellect involving a soul in intelligent action and movement in a sensible direction.

Such a disembodied mind needs the sensitivities and effectivities of a body to process information. It needs to learn or know that (for the effect to transpire) there needs be cooperation of the natural body (independent agents, people) and in the appropriately tuned soul (cultivated persons, societies, culture) to institute and realize such interdependence in the world of individual experience and ego.

Returning now to the semantics of such a soul; it is the formulable essence –the form and field– of being a World Soul, then, what is missing from Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is what continues to be absent from the “semantic web” and “semantic search engines,” and all manner of software agents and expert systems.

This claim is based upon the long-lasting definitions above and the following observations of the research and developments in the computer industry that have stood since (at least) 1975.

–The arithmetic logic unit, truth table and memory of the modern microprocessor is not a soul (of the character described).

–A set of physical symbols is not a characteristic soul. The so-called physical symbol system is, to-date, a poorly fashioned conglomerate of socially unstable and unsuitable symbols (or psychological propositions) miming (by heritage alone) some expressed, and largely (to-date) unformulated, yet believed, essence of being human.

–Since 1975, the leading theories (not including but derived from PSSH), namely; LOTH and CTM/RTM have failed to fulfill the requirements for producing general intelligence in or on or with silicon or software (not to deny chess playing computers, some toys, and creeping incremental-ism seen in smart phones). Empirically, with regard to strong or weaker forms of AI, and with particular reference to the representational theory, these theories are proving to be more in error than true, thus:

–There is a set of physical symbols, processes and operations that formulate, in essence, the character we seek, and such a formulable essence has proven sufficient to bind the human intellect, as is in ample evidence. Yet there is little about its character that is compatible with the language of thought hypothesis or a computational/representational theory of mind that depends heavily on that grammar of natural language.

–Any modern computer system, also a physical symbol system –a collection of symbols and algorithms (software) running on hardware comprised of a microprocessor with I/O devices, and recordable/alterable memory –has, still, only the actuality of calculating and recording according to a rule or fixed logical procedure, and; there is no foundation to reason about the world –no sense of a world-making soul, therefore, no justifiable belief that such a “computer system” will ever become “intelligent” in the ways we human beings expect.

Today many people are occupied in an economic war, culture wars, knowledge wars and holy wars as well. Those engaging in these wars are certainly not enjoying a unified awareness of the character described or they would be more accommodating. Contrary to those who hope intelligence will magically emerge from the content on the Internet, the content is not a reflection of a unified world soul-substance but of its abuse. The reflection seen by many, comes off the much grittier cloud of confusion, doubt, depravity and inhumanity running rampant and out of control in a crowd of independent beings –some human, some not. It is getting harder and harder to know the difference.

As it is, the computer system is without the formulable essence of being human; how might it tell the difference? It is also my claim that no amount of experience will make up for the lack of a soul of the character described. That is that which I have referred to as the human soul or psyche — the form or envelope of the intellect and mind, at-one –to borrow a phrase from Aristotle– with the body, i.e.; the formulable essence of the unity and awareness of being human (and being capable of making, creating and cultivating one’s world).

And who can deny the incredible world we have made for ourselves. There are many incredible man-made achievements that shine. I am here focusing on the very best computer systems we have fielded. The so-called semantic search engines (linguistic and logical algorithms and programs), Hakia, Bing (Microsoft and Powerset,) Cognition, among many others (linked are those brands that have had the time to prove themselves), have content –though they are without the necessary and sufficient soul to determine its relevance.

What they offer instead is to structure content for independent access (such as Yahoo has done with their index) or frame it in a vehicle supporting sharing and free expression (as, the Semantic Web Initiative, Google, Facebook and other social networks are doing) among groups and communities. Adding edicts and structure to confusion artificially orders it –but at what cost. Is that where the scarce resources of personal and capital should be applied? Has anyone any idea of how many trillions of dollars are spent in this regard? What is wrong with the natural order, the cosmic order –the order of things that last eons delimiting chaos in its wake?

What these modern technology vendors offer is for the better; one might argue that it is for the greater good, and that is good enough to make money for them and their shareholders. That is the object of the soul of the enterprise. It is hard for market leaders to move out of such a zone of economic certainty and confidence, to summon the courage it inevitability takes. Maybe Steve Jobs could, though few others have shown such strength of conviction towards such simple elegance in the technology business. Yet this is another topic altogether.

It is, or should be, clear that it is the embodied dispensation and disposition of things perceived –enactments of the mind– that are the causes for their public representation by way of the physical symbols we are the most familiar with, or that are found to be the most appropriate. The physical symbols, appearing here and anywhere, are the artifacts we use to convey some past intelligent action, where a text is only a passive (often confused) record of the result of some actions of intellectual actuality –it is not the intelligent activity itself, nor the form of it.

The atomic symbols of oriented speech are the only objective utilitarian representations we have (though this may be a disputed fact, it is a fact). These representations are conveniently, if not stoically, used as indicators or pointers, and signs. They represent the formulable processes and essence they are intended to represent. This is interpreted by the subject (you and I) and rendered into language and other conventional forms of art and science.

It may be that simply by way of sensing the representational appearance, occurrence or instantiation, (as information) in the flow of experience, that an original act is reformulated, re-enacted or animated using the imagination, such that the animation either impinges on conscious awareness or springs to mind and is recognized by one’s intuitive presence in the cosmic syzygy of a unified awareness. No one knows for certain, but here above is considerable doubt about a representational or computational theory of mind.

In a world full of confusion and doubts, shadows and wispy reflections, there is nothing to be-soul the network of computers we all call the Internet or the web (version whatever). It is found to be both necessary and sufficient for mind to take a form determinate in order that judgment –the true thought– may ensue. For the judgment to express its nature to be true and just, it seems to me that the form of the judgment must not be reduced and therefore lacking in definition. While the fact today, is that for the general case –there is no general form– no definition at all.

It seems that everything, whether as a matter of fact or of essence, in essence, is considered relative. The implication of this is evident on the surface of so called semantic web or AI-based systems now making their way into social computing, and by nothing more than superficial examination thereof. The sad implication is that, as a reflection, it reflects the superfluous, indeterminate, indisposed, disinterested and disengaged nature of the society and modern culture dominated by relative skeptics, dogmatic incrementalists and capitalists.

At some time it becomes necessary to take a stand and to hold a position. That takes courage, determination –indubitable knowledge– and fidelity, above all else, to the correct or higher knowledge. That is the matter of opinion that matters in many circles. Many economists as well as computational engineers, and certainly a majority of statisticians, consider the highest form of knowledge to behold is the statistical probability of the event certain. This differs from this opinion that the highest form of knowledge is that of the world-building soul.

I believe that it makes all the difference in the world. What is your opinion?

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If “literature” is “the imaginative and creative writing of a language, period or culture” the blogs, new media and web pages of (so-called) social media qualifies as the new literature. One could say that online news, health and finance sites, the “e-zines” and the several hundred million web logs or blogs comprise a growing part  of the classic literature of our time.

According to a Nobel prize winner Issac Bashevis Singer– emotion and intellect are essential poles of literature.

“The very essence of literature is the war between emotion and intellect, between life and death. When literature becomes too intellectual — when it begins to ignore the passions, the motions — it becomes sterile, silly, and actually without substance.” –in the New York Times Magazine, November 26, 1978

It is the reason why many so-called “expert systems” and intelligent or “semantic” information systems are the way the are: they haven’t much substance. Emotional and interpersonal relevance is illogical, of course … unscientific … It explains why programmers, software developers and product engineers cannot fathom the interpersonal and social relations within the media. Search engine developers cannot capture and index human emotion.

Neither software developers nor product engineers can quantify or computationally relate the affairs of the human intellect. Logicians are not able to assign a truth value to passion, let alone determine what relations essence may enjoy or which of a myriad of ephemeral forms of matter have substance worth computing. Creating a system for indexing, searching and relating social media is not like creating an accounting system. There are no general rules of the affairs of the human imagination. It is not a membership or inventory management system and human psychology is not easily captured with traditional software engineering principles.

Therefore: No big names are researching the emotional and interpersonal structure– the powerful foundation –on which all sorts of human affairs and institutions rest. There are no big computational engineering projects designing or building parsers that can get at the emotional, perceptual and cognitive base of human reason for that would disrupt the present oligarchy.

It is the reason for the resurgence of artificial intelligence techniques in the garb of the semantic web. It is caused by an industry and academic failure: a failure to contemplate what is happening. This widespread failure is no more evident today, than in the Internet-based discussions about more intelligent and so-called “semantic search” engines.

Most of these discussions are highly charged and the noise and rampant neologism is symptomatic of the social confusion and disorder. So it is that the promise of an intelligent web and higher access to knowledge stands in binary opposition to the binds and perils of navigating the social spaces of the Internet. I even read a blog that talked about hardwiring nouns and verbs to make a semantic web.

This is the very reason why people complain about the results they get from search engines as in this recent article, and also in this article. And this video makes us think about the outcome of the superficial, artificial and logical path we are on.

Instead of supporting research and discovery we get the big search engines and major shopping destinations who form alliances to snag our attention. They are not trying to understand what we should want to know; they only want to know what we want to purchase. They vie with one another and a vast host of marketers and hucksters to be the first to offer the right price.

You can find the quote that addresses the search for “the essence of literature”only incidentally because a Nobel prize winner was quoted in a New York Times article. The only reason it shows up in the first page of a search result is because it appears on a large advertiser supported web property that is seen as an authority by the major search engines. Google supports and extends the oligarchy to all those ready and willing to pay for the use of words while claiming to do no evil.

I am pretty sure that there are plenty of authorities on “social media” if only because billions of dollars are being spent. Try searching for “the essence of social media” on Google and Yahoo. That is a kind of research-type search that could benefit from semantics. Try it on Hakia and Lexxe and PowerSet, the results are better at Hakia but still not satisfying. You can go through the entire list of alternate search engines and you will not get much better results. Speaking of Hakia, let’s look at semantic search.

While the authority at Wikipedia seems to recognize the difference between research and navigational searching, incredulously the entry for ‘semantic search‘ defines it as way of leveraging XML and RDF data from semantic networks. The ‘bark’ disambiguation example is a case in point. Do you think they might be barking up the wrong tree? It makes me wonder whether the author of this entry actually lives in the real world, having never been barked at by a boss or spouse.

I thought: Hakia obviously has a more complete semantic sense of the term “bark” than the systems cited in the ill-informed semantic search entry at Wikipedia. At Hakia I asked: “Are the democrats barking up the wrong tree?” –thinking about their plans to override the president’s veto of the bill extending the children’s health program. It turned out I was wrong. I invite you to go see for your self. The usefulness and “semantic” relevance of ad-supported search pages was characterized as well, as I captured in this clip:

Sponsored Result

There was an article that I was unable to find on any search engine. Neither the results or the sponsored links were satisfying for the big search engines or the so-called “semantic” alternates.

So that no one thinks I am just complaining and have opinions without solutions, I am beginning another article, where I will spell out a solution to the problem. In the meantime, let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

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