Posts Tagged ‘thought and action’

What is “meaning” in questions such as: what is the meaning of life? It is the same as asking what is the truly real significance of life. Any answer is only theoretical.  Intuitively, any answer must be universal.  The truly real significance must, by definition, be significant for everyone.

That makes the notion appear to be either exaggerated or rather improbable.  The universality of such a theory of meaning would rest on the multitude of “real” things that are perceived by the theory as salient, pertinent properties and relations in “real life” and to humanity in general.  It would have to include everything we can imagine in experience.  How could it be possible?

This would also make it necessary to correspond with every “real” experience, in just enough (and no more) dimensions, necessary to make such experience “really” meaningful.  Intuitively, it must capture or cover any continuous or discrete distributions or extensions of “real” natural structure, elements or processes, in three dimensions of space and one dimension of real presence or immediate existence x.

It is very complex but not impossible.  On the one hand, one cannot help but wonder how to deal with such complexity.  On the other hand, we notice that very young children do it. Four-year old children seemingly adapt to complexity, with very little problem.  It is sophistication and obfuscation that comes later in life with which they have problems.  At four, children are already able to tell the differences in sensible and nonsensical distributions and extension of reality,  irrespective of whether they are the continuous or discrete variety.

These continuous or discrete distributions and extensions bear some additional explanation mainly due to the overarching significance to this context. First, they establish a direct correspondence with our most immediate reality. For every time we open our eyes, we see a real distribution of colored shapes.  Such a real distribution is nature’s way of communicating its messages to consciousness, via real patterns.

Second, perceived distribution patterns directly suggest the most fundamental ontological concept in theoretical physics: a field configuration, which in the simplest example of a scalar field can be likened to a field of variable light intensity.  That life is intense and that meaning is intense is not something one ought to have to prove to anyone. I will come back to intensity in another post, as I want to continue commenting on presence or real and immediate existence x. We must, in practice and in effect, solve for the real meaning of x as you see.

Meaning in this case, so defined, is literally the significance of truth, or more appropriately, what one interprets as significant or true within the dimensions of intense messages or information pertaining to real life as specified above. So, we must begin, undoubtedly, by defining what true is, then proceeding to the next step, we ought define the elements and structure to one’s interpretation of this truly significant nature of life. I did it a little backwards in this respect and this has always created a bit of a confusion that I did not see until recently.

One begins any such analysis by examining a subject’s real elements and structures. For the subject of truth, one also searches the literature where it is well represented. Such a search conducted on the subject of truth brings a broad range of ideas. To try and make a taxonomy of ideas from the varied opinion found there would turn out to be an exercise in incoherence, But it ought be acceptable to reference some theories and practices that have been adopted.

Ibn Al-Haytham, who is credited with the introduction of the Scientific Method in the 10th century A.D., believed, “Finding the truth is difficult and the road to it is rough. For the truths are plunged in obscurity” (Pines, 1986, Ibn al-Haytham’s critique of Ptolemy. In Studies in Arabic versions of Greek texts and in medevial science, Vol. II. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. p. 436). While truths are obscured and obfuscated; there can be no doubt that the truth does exist and the truth is there to be found by seekers. I do not accept views or opinions that the  average layman is too stupid or are otherwise not equipped to figure it out by themselves.

The Modern Correspondence Theory of Truth.

While looking for the truth it helps to know what shape it takes or what it may look like when one happens upon it or finds it lying around and exposed to the light. According to some: truth looks like correspondence between one thing or element and another, Scientist have long held a correspondence theory of truth. This theory of truth is at its core an ontological thesis.

It means that a belief (a sort of wispy, ephemeral, mostly psychological notion) is called true if, and only if, there exists an appropriate entity—a fact—to which it corresponds. If there is no such entity, the belief is false. So you see, as we fixate on the “truth of a belief” –a psychological notion such as a thought of something —to be sure —but some concrete thing, nonetheless, we see that one thing —a belief— corresponds to another thing —another entity called a fact. The point here, is that both facts and beliefs are existing, real entities — even though they may also be considered to be psychological or mental notions — beliefs, ideas –they– are reality.

While beliefs are wholly or entirely psychological notions, facts are taken to be much stronger entities. Facts, as far as neoclassical correspondence theory is concerned, are concrete entities in their own right. Facts are taken to be composed of particulars and properties and relations or universals, at least. But universality has turned out to be elusive and the notion is problematic for those who hold personal or human beliefs to be at the bottom of truth.

Modern theories speak to “propositions” which may not be any more real, after all. As Russell later says, propositions seem to be at best “curious shadowy things” in addition to facts. (Russell, Bertrand, 1956, “The philosophy of logical atomism”, in Logic and Knowledge, R. C. Marsh, ed., London: George Allen and Unwin, 177-281. Originally published in The Monist in 1918. , p. 223) If only he were around here now; one can only wonder how he might feel or rephrase.

In my view, the key features of the “realism” of correspondence theory are:

  1. The world presents itself as “objective fact” or as “a collection of objective facts” independently of the (subjective) ways we think about the world or describe or propose the world to be.
  2. Our (subjective) thoughts are about the objective fact of that world as represented by our claims (facts) which, presumably, ought be objective.

(Wright (1992) quoted at the SEP offers a nice statement of this way of thinking about realism.) This sort of realism together with representationalism is rampant in the high tech industry.  Nonetheless, these theses are seen to imply that our claims (facts) are objectively true or false, depending on the state of affairs actually expressing or unfolding in the world.

Despite the fact of one’s perspective, metaphysics or ideals, the world that we represent in our thoughts or language is a socially objective world. (This form of realism may be restricted to some social or human subject-matter, or range of discourse, but for simplicity, we will talk only about its global form as related to realism above.)

The coherence theory of truth is not much different than the correspondence theory in respect to this context. Put simply, in the coherence theory of truth: a belief is true when we are able to incorporate it in an orderly and logical manner into a larger and presumably more complex web or system (sic) of beliefs.

In the spirit of American pragmatics almost every political administration since Reagan has used the coherence theory of truth to guide national strategy, foreign policy and international affairs. The selling of the War in Iraq to the American people, is a study in the application of the coherence theory of truth to America’s state of affairs as a  hegemonic leader in the world.

For many of the philosophers who argue in defense of the coherence theory of truth, they have understood “Ultimate Truth” as the whole of reality. To Spinoza, ultimate truth is the ultimate reality of a rationally ordered system that is God. To Hegel, truth is a rationally integrated system in which everything is contained. To the American Bush dynasty, in particular, to W.: truth is what the leaders of their new world order say that it is.  To Adi, containment is only one of the elementary processes at work creating, enacting (causing) and (re)enacting reality.

Modern scientists break the first rule of their own skepticism by being absolutely certain of information theory.

Let me be more specific.  Modern researchers have settled on a logical definition of truth as a semantic correspondence by adopting Shannon’s communications theory as “information” theory. Those object-oriented computer programmers who use logic and mathematics; understand truth as a Boolean table and as correspondence as per Alfred Tarski’s theory of semantics.

Modern computer engineers have adopted Shannon’s probabilities as “information theory” even though, on the face of it: the probabilities that form such an important part in Shannon’s theory are very different from messages; which stand for the kinds of things we most normally associate with objects. However, to his credit, the probabilities on which Shannon based his theory were all based on objective counting of relative frequencies of definite outcomes.

Shannon’s predecessor, Samuel Morse, based his communication theory, which enhanced the speed and efficiency with which messages could be transmitted, on studying frequently used letters. It is the communications theory I learned while serving in the United States Army. It was established by counting things — objects in the world — the numbers of different letter-type in the printer’s box.

When I entered the computer industry in 1978, I was somewhat astonished that Shannon’s theory of communications was already established in the field of information science — before word processors and “word” processing were common. I confirmed that belief by joining with information scientists for awhile, as a member of the American Society of Information Science (ASIS).

While at ASIS, I found out that Shannon’s probabilities also have an origin in things much like Morse code: although they in no way ought be considered to be symbols that stand for things. Instead, Shannon’s probabilities stand for proportions of things in a given environment.

This is just as true of observationally determined quantum probabilities (from which Shannon borrowed on the advice of the polymath John Von Neumann) as it is for the frequencies of words in typical English, or the numbers of different trees in a forest, or; the countable blades of grass on my southern lawn.

Neither Morse Code, nor Shannon’s Communications theory, nor any “information” theory, directly addresses the “truth” of things in or out of an environment –save Adi’s. The closest any computer theory or program gets to “interpretation” is by interpreting the logical correspondence of statements in respect to other statements — both with respect to an undefined or unknown “meaning” — the truth or significance or unfolding of the thing in the world. It takes two uncertainties to make up one certainty according to Shannon and Von Neumann– who had two bits of uncertainty, 1 and 0, searching for, or construing, a unity.

That is not us. That is not our scientific program. Our program was not to construe a unity, or “it” from “bit.”  That is the program of the industry, because, almost like clocks, everyone in industry marches in lock step by step, tick by tock, take-stock.

Adi began with the assumption that there is an overarching unity to “it.” He then studied how a distribution of signs of “it” (i.e., symbols that make up human languages describing “it”) manages to remain true to the unity of “it,” despite constant change. Such change, it can be argued, arrives in the guise or form of uneven or unequal adoption, selection, and retention factors, as seen in the overwhelming evidence of a continuous “morphogenesis” in as much as the formation, change and meaning of wordsfacts and other things, over eons.

To determine how people interpret the intensity and sensibility or “information” projected with language by means of speech acts (with messages, composed of words) — Adi investigated the sounds of symbols used to compose a real human language when most people were inventing artificial, specialized, logical and less general languages.  Adi chose to study the unambiguous sounds of Classical Arabic that have remained unchanged for 1400 years until present day.  That sound affects what we see is in no way some incidental trivia or minutia.

At the least, it helps truth break free of being bound to mere correspondence, a relegation reminiscent of mime or mimicry. Adi’s findings set truth free,  liberates truth, to soar to heights more amenable — such as high-fidelity,–  than those that burn out in the heated brilliance of spectacular failure.  In fact, in early implementations of our software we had an overt relevance measure called “fidelity” that users could set and adjust.  It speaks to the core of equilibrium that permeates this approach to conceptual modelling, analysis, searching for relevance and significance, subject and topic classification and practical forms of text analytics in general.

Tom Adi’s semantic theory interprets the intensity, gradient trajectory and causal sensibility of an idea presumably communicated as information in the speech acts of people. This “measure” of Adi’s (or we may call it “Adi’s Measure”) can be understood as a measure of the increase in the magnitude (intensity) of a property of psychological intension. (e.g., like a temperature or pressure change or change in concentration) observable in passing from one point or moment to another. Thus, while invisible, it can be perceived as the rate of such a change.

In my view, it is in the action of amplitude, signifying a change from conceptual, cognitive or imaginative will or possibility, to implementation or actualization in terminal reality. Computationally, it is and can be used as a vector formed by the operator ∇ acting on a scalar function at a given point in a scalar field. It has been implemented in an algorithm as an operating principle, resonating —   acting/reacting (revolving, evolving) as a rule, i.e.; being an operator: conditioning, i.e., coordinating/re-coordinating,  a larger metric system or modelling mechanism (e.g., Readware; text analytics, in general).

I mention this to contrast Adi’s work with that of Shannon, who, in order to frame information according to his theory of communications, did a thorough statistical analysis of ONLY the English language. After that analysis, Shannon defined information as entropy or uncertainty on the advice of Von Neumann.  The communications of information (an outcome) involves things which Shannon called messages and probabilities for those things. Both elements were represented abstractly by Shannon: the things as symbols (binary numbers) and probability simply as a decimal number.

So you see, Shannon’s information represents abstract values based on a statistical study of English. Adi’s, information, on the other hand, represents sensible and elementary natural processes that are selected, adopted and retained for particular use within conventional language –as a mediating agency– in an interpersonal or social act of communications. Adi’s information is based upon a diachronic study of the Arabic language and the confirming study in fourteen additional languages, including modern English, German and French, Japanese and Russian, all having suffered the indisputable and undeniable effects of language change — both different from and independent of the evolution of language, or the non-evolution, as-it-were, of Classical Arabic.

Adi’s theory is a wholly different treatment of language, meaning and information than either Shannon or Morse attempted or carried out on their own merits. It is also a different treatment of language than information statistics gives, as it represents the generation of salient and indispensable rules in something said or projected using language. It is different from NLP or Natural Language Processing which depend (heavily) on the ideas of uncertainty and probability.

A “concept search” in Adi’s calculation and my estimation, is not a search in the traditional sense of matching keys in a long tail of key information.  A “concept search” seeks mathematical fidelity, resonance or equilibrium and symmetry (e.g., invariance under transformation) between a problem (query for information) and possible solutions (i.e., “responses” to the request for information) in a stated frame or window (context) on a given information space (document stack, database).  A search is conducted by moving the window (e.g., the periscope) over the entirety of the information space in a scanning or probing motion.  While it ought be obvious, we had to “prove” that this approach works, which we did in outstanding form, in NIST and DARPA reviewed performances.

Adi’s theory is not entirely free of uncertainty as it is, after all, only theoretical. But it brings a new functionality, a doctrinal functionality, to the pursuit of certainty by way of a corresponding reduction of doubt. That is really good news. In any case, this is a theory that deserves and warrants consideration as a modern information theory that stands in stark contrast to the accepted norm or status-quo.

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In a 2008 post, Semantics Maps, Meaning and Other Nebulous Notions, I described how an alphabet represents a set of sound symbols that are interpreted as word formulas in readware technology. If you skip over my long-winded ranting about what is called semantics and ontology in the computer industry, you will see that I included Adi’s matrix for English near the bottom. This matrix semantically maps the (atomic) sound symbols of the language from the creative powers and substance of thought (a creative soul).

Essentially, this is a mapping from a unified awareness, or the essence of a world-building thought or mind, into the atomic symbols of the language. On the other hand, one might see it is a mapping of the symbols we use to make language about the world onto any resident human’s thoughts of the world. I did not characterize it in this way, as the formulable essence of a world-making soul, as I did in the post previous to this one. Instead, I just put the definition out there relating it to the ways words and thoughts represent the world, i.e., their semantics. Yet, no one seemed to understand the semantic functions of Adi’s elementary processes and polarities; at least few people shared any comments with me.

In the later half of this decade, I found that many computer professionals, especially writers and promoters in the field, were expecting breakthroughs in semantic technology, from existing efforts, and did not have the time of day to entertain something so different as the software we created.  Instead, they stayed with the status quo –which is how it has been for the last few decades. Nearly everyone, it seems, has taken up a position on the sidelines –waiting for the next big thing.

Now here we are in 2010 and I am here talking about the same things I was ranting about from 1998 to 2008, because there are serious problems with the way people seem to be thinking. When you mention “creative thinking,” for example, people tend to think of brainstorming and executive retreats with NLP.  This is so wrong-headed that it is just one more thing that tears us down. You don’t have to take my word for it.

In a recent Newsweek article about the crises in creativity, authors and writers talked about the fact in some detail, there is also an audio interview with the writer. While they mentioned that so-called “brainstorming,” practiced by corporations and educational facilities, does not work, they were not able to say how thinking works. They were reporting that, using the Torrance Creativity Quotient (CQ) scale, they could definitively show that creativity is on the decline –and has been since 1990– while the IQ scores of children are increasing about 10% per year due to the Flynn effect (where each generation of children show an increase in IQ score).

My experience is not with education but with reading and processing information and semantic recognition. In the process of implementing a semantic recognition system, for reading and understanding the meaningful relations of the expressions of a text, I learned about the powers of creative thinking, directly, by trial and practice. And I believe I understand creative thinking correctly when I characterize it as the intellectual power of a world-building soul. Calling it a world-building or world-making soul is a way of representing the necessary processes of creativity. It does not matter what we call it, as long as everyone understands what it is we are doing here (with language or with thought).

No one would debate that people do represent the world of experience with language, but the formal methods of functional grammar and lexical semantics seem only to help determine if a statement meets the truth conditions covered by a rule. Scientist and logicians in this field do not concern themselves with what is in the world or with the way the world works, the way thought works or with how the world is represented in thought. If you ask them, they proudly say –that’s not our call or concern.

Instead they concern themselves with structuring and mapping the logic of a belief, proposition or “speech acts” and with the sentimental composition of particular statements about some thing (usually in or related to the content or context), where such logical strictures are then related to each other and proven true or false either by logic or by contest.  If it is language or even knowledge that describes the way the world works, then the problem with linguistic, lexical and logical semantics is that there is no semantic thesis that adequately defines the all-important relationship that holds between one’s thought of the world and one’s language of the world.

Thought, it seems, does not represent the world in the same way as does a natural language –or even with a private language of thought as philosophers once mused. No scientist or layman familiar with this topic would deny that there is a transformation of structure between thought and language. The semantics of the symbol must capture this transformation and account for all its values.

This post will review, for my readers, the central premise of the search for artificial intelligence and recast the character of Adi’s semantic thesis: explaining how world-making is empowered by the intellect, enacted by thought or mind; revealing the semantic relationship between thought and symbol and the means to objectively interpret the meaning of words, phrases and other expressions of any natural language.

Apparently, very few authorities recognize the phonemes of language as symbols. There is no mention of phonemes or morphemes in the examples of symbols in the physical symbol system page at Wikipedia.  For computer scientists, the symbol functions as a representation according to a computational or representational theory of mind (CTM/RTM).  In this regard, a phoneme qualifies as a symbol.  In addition, the number and range of the inventory of phonetic sounds of the human language is relatively stable over a much longer period than some of the other symbols listed as examples.

This CTM-based approach has survived years of enormous effort. With more than fifty years of support, it has enjoyed large amounts of funding and a take-up in every computer science department at every university. Students and their professors and all manner of well-funded AI researchers have been working on CTM/RTM-driven efforts under the premise of the Physical Symbols System Hypothesis (1976, PSSH; original paper by Alan Newell and Herbert Simon).

Their hypothesis is that a physical symbol system (such as a computer system) has the necessary and sufficient means for intelligence.  That thesis has been hotly debated and any development of a general “intelligence” has remained illusive, but you needn’t have my word about it. Nils Nilsson’s 2007 paper is a good view on the status of PSSH since 1976, and its prospects today, where he writes:

Newell and Simon admitted that
The hypothesis could indeed be false. Intelligent behavior is not so easy to produce that any system will exhibit it willy-nilly. Indeed, there are people whose analyses lead them to conclude either on philosophical or on scientific grounds that the hypothesis is false. Scientifically, one can attack or defend it only by bringing forth empirical evidence about the natural world.

There has certainly been no shortage of intelligent, even brilliant, computer, cognitive and brain scientists working from this premise and the counter premise –that there is no “intelligence”; it is just a bunch of patterns, neurons and chemical reactions.  Unfortunately neither approach is completely satisfying or demonstrative of more than a kind of mechanical or algorithmic reckoning; acting out of a specific rule, or from initial conditions. These are so specific that these “physical symbol systems’ tend to break unless they are narrowly focused in a well defined domain. People, the other example of “physical symbol systems” in evidence, are far more resilient.

In my last post, I argued that the empirical evidence is that people have a soul (naturally) and computer systems don’t.  I hope that I identified that as the main problem in the field, and if not, I am doing so here and now.  I described the character that Tom Adi and I were looking for when we began our work on search and the semantic recognition problems in 1984. Tom and I had both been working in the computer industry since the late seventies, but not in AI and outside of university settings, and so I was not familiar with the PSSH or with Jerry Fodor’s Language of Thought Hypothesis (LOTH) from the same time period (at the time).

For different reasons, the affinity that Tom and I shared, was that: linguists, philosophers and logicians, and psychologists, had so far failed to give an adequate account of concepts.  None offered a semantic thesis sufficient to explain the way people represent the world in thought and language. Both of us saw this as a reason for the “meaning” failure in automatic translation systems. That is the problem that prompted Tom to organize and undertake an original semantic study into the roots of meaning –so to speak.

While I previously believed otherwise, since then, I have found that the conventions of language are not part of the foundations of thinking. According to Adi’s research and findings, they may be derived directly from Adi’s elementary objects of thought.  It not only seems right, as it is in one’s own experience, it makes sense that first comes the orderly form of thought then comes language.

Some writers seem to confuse the power to synthesize and generate ideas with mental faculties used in the production of language out of the human disposition (claims/conclusions) and the ensuing expression and discourse in the chain of events.  I did that myself in the early part of my career. What took years of reconciliation for me to learn (in light of Adi’s results), is that: each and every true thought is an enactment –either the act of enacting, or the state of being enacted– an activity that is quite apart from but linked (through the disposition) to the faculty of language in people.

I want to now introduce readers to a fresh application of the psychological notion of thinking; how human thought (or mind) operates, and; what mind operates on (Adi’s objects and processes); how Adi’s semantics link those intellectual processes –the objects of thought– to language, and; how this formative intellect is encoded and carried by the physical symbols of the world of experience. In that regard, let me first define what I mean here by the term thinking.

I don’t mean to define the mental faculties, such as pattern recognition, memory, logical reasoning and the rest; this post is not about those mental faculties and processes.  I will not bring out Adi’s formal definitions here as they are available on another page (accessible using the tab at the top of this blog). Here I will attempt to characterize the activity of thinking as the transformation and synthesis of sensation, information and perception into the substance of the universal essence –the intellectual power of a world-making soul.

At the end, I hope to have demonstrated how it is this essence, this formulable essence found by Tom Adi, that is the essence of ANY material or matter, indeed, any phenomena within the psychological world of experience. For if this notion were not so; if the essence of world-making were not so formulable –so capable of being easily formulated– how could any child represent the world in their thought and thinking –either with or without language.

I hope to demonstrate to my reader not only that the intellectual powers and essence to thought are formulable, functional and instrumental to symbolic representation, but how so. I will show that it is the true thought’s substantial essence and intellectual power that becomes, as it manifests itself in every disposition and dispensation (i.e., the intellectual power of thought issuing from the authority to use it; e.g., the authority to assign a name) every inference we make and all the reckoning we do.

Before I do that I want to explain why the objects in the psychological world of experience, including natural languages, logical propositions and other accepted physical symbols, are insufficient for general intelligence in our artificial symbolic processing systems.  Because, by focusing on words and ungrounded propositions in a psychological world that is in flux with emotion and full of uncertainty, scientists seem to have reached a dead-end.  No amount of sequencing can straighten it out. This is because the world of experience is to thinking (and intellectual thought processes) what the quantum world is to the world of classical mechanics.

In the Ontology of Action/Enactment below, we have the universe of action and reaction represented by the science of physics and its major fields or divisions. Opposite, as if a mirror image on the right, we have the universe of enactment (and the state of either enacting or being enacted) and reenactment (and the state of either reacting or being re-enacted).  One side is material, the other immaterial.  Both sides (along with the nature of each respective universe) are implicated in the world-building nature to life.

While quantum mechanics is rendered below the horizon and opposite consciousness it can only be associated for a short time.  It is a transformation of thinking to consider and realize how classical mechanics is more descriptive of the nature of thought or mind than quantum mechanics.  In a sane person, the mind is as decisive, orderly and determined as our solar system in spite of current experience that is so often disorderly and absurd.

Being in the world of experience is unpredictable; it is full of uncertainty. There are swarms of composite particulars and indefinite substance made up of all kinds of individual and material particles and immaterial ideas –ambiguity at every turn– corresponding to visible and invisible particles, attractions and repulsions. That everything has a spin, including language, should not be lost on the modern individual in tune with events of the last decade.

True and considered thought, on the other hand, must summon from the disposition of a world-building soul, the powers of world-making –for discovering the set of laws or principles and the physical operations– the powers for enacting the set of forces and constraints, those governing the lawful composition and destruction of bodies, along with the operations for moving, aggregating and separating them. These are the powers the human race needs to survive.

The human mind seeks to control the character and motions of the bodies that are distributed within the boundaries and in the domain and range of things in the psychological world of experience. Thought works through the action and the force of intellectual and creative powers. It is a biological function: to think is to become, to be –to manifest thought and make manifest its grand schemes. Thinking with the objects of thought produce the symbols, words, sentences and statements, science, art, and all manner of institutions along with the rest of culture.

Thinking is a creative and evolutionary procedure. Aggregated true or provisionally-true thought –some might call that a meme or a unit of cultural transmission– progresses along the onto-genetic trajectory of a world-making soul. It should be no surprise that thinking, like life, is a biological process on an evolutionary path. Life is the union of both passable and impassable aspects to being.

The intimacy everyone knows and feels with thought and art is the indubitable knowledge people have to rise above other creatures (and creature-habits). The power to become cultured and to build a world suitable and similar to one’s most cultured ideal of being. This is about wielding the power that once was the exclusive domain of the Pharaoh’s of Egypt, the Princes of Arabia and Persia, India and China, the Emperors of Rome and all the Popes and Kings that came before us.

If I were to carry this metaphor out, one might imagine a combination of powers to be required, including the power of dominion: authority and control. It is necessary to have authority (or control) over the necessary functionality as well as all internal or external constituents in the function, domain and range of one’s thought, for reason of establishing the identity, appearance and order of authority; for example.

One would need the power and authority to name, assign, dispose or dispense with any matter. One needs be capable of decreeing any event or occurrence, either actual or potential, or material or immaterial, to be, happen or to take place. This, for the sake of the unified control over the distribution of functions of the human imagination (and motor skills) and one’s reason and power to distinguish and determine the constituents, including the language, in the function, domain and range of one’s thought. Thirdly, one would need the power and ability to accommodate, order and unify all the external and internal constituents determined to be relevant, into the unification function, domain and range of one’s thought. I call this unity and these powers the power of thought.

These powers are credible enough to explain how things come into being, and; in the formal semantic theory proposed by Tom Adi, they comprise the formulable essence of the psychological experience of all the things we find in material existence. They are: the power of assignment, the power of manifestation, and; the power of containment. Adi calls these elementary processes implicating the process of assigning, the process of manifesting and the process of containing, without commenting further. I identify them with the intellectual powers of thought (mind or consciousness). Let’s examine them one by one.

The Power of Assignment:  The power, authority, faculty and liberty and the necessary and sufficient process to confer status (such as equality, e.g., A=A) property, rights or truth, to confer is to bring together and also to compare; it is a movement (to give) to name, to identify, to indicate, point to, attend to, etc. In business, the power of assignment is indispensable, as it is in nearly all aspects of one’s own life and personal affairs.

The Power of Manifestation: The power, authority, faculty and liberty and the necessary and sufficient process to create, project, appear or make some thing or entity to appear, happen or take place. Just like one manifests one’s own thoughts in their behavior. When you make a decision to go to a location different from where you presently are, you use this power to enact that disposition and make it actually happen. Your motor functions react to your intellectual will power. If your intellectual will power is strong it will happen.

The Power of Containment: The power, authority, faculty and liberty and process necessary and sufficient to accommodate, quantize, structure, frame and otherwise create order out of chaos.

According to Adi’s theory, assignment, manifestation and containment are elementary processes. They combine into a power set (the formulable essence of the set of intellectual powers) available to the consciousness of any individual. It is my view, that Adi’s processes are consumed by the mental (cognitive, imaginative, rational) faculties of thinking by splitting them into formative functions (e.g., thinking as an influential experience).

The semantic matrix at the top represents these ontic and formative functions distributed over the potential of perceived relationships within the domain (of thought, mind) and ranging over all world-making operations. These are expressed with operations typical of simple and compound and polarized actions, reactions, interactions, and bonds; enabling simple and compound compositions, and so forth. This is part of Adi’s semantics and derives from the semantic matrix where each phonetic symbol is taken as the sign of a specific, selective and formative operation or function in the domain and range of one’s own thought.

In one language study conducted in English, Tom Adi compiled statistics of the distribution of these ontic functions over about 30,000 frequently-used words; (complex lexical symbols) expressing such polarized actions and interactions using the English language. Every part of speech was represented according to how commonplace each part of speech is in regular use. All the words included in the study had three or more letters. We found out many interesting things, not the least of which is: there is an absence of action and interaction by containment (there is no word in English expressing a containment mapping applied to a defined domain set) in any of the vocabulary we tested.

Tom interpreted this as a natural law of complex systems. As a law of system control– there is no direct control. That is: No process or object can directly control (exercise a mapping of containment on) another process or object. Control of others (other interacting objects) is either enacted by assignment (control by instruction, the most common form) or by manifestation (control by action causing a reaction).

Adi found that control, in the great majority of interactions (925/991 or about 93% of the vocabulary falling into this group), is enacted by assignment, i.e. by issuing instructions that others execute (machine control, obedience, cooperation in good faith). In a small percentage (66/991 or about 7%) of interactions, control is the enactment of a manifestation causing a reaction (e.g., a behavior causing a reaction: imitation, following a leader, reacting to a catalyst or provocateur). This has interesting personal and social implications. For example, a human community is never directly coerced to do anything.

I would like to go further but, seeing as this post is longer than the last, and having laid out the link between thought and the symbols of language, I will leave my reader to absorb these notions and to sort out some of the rest of the implications.  While this post has been mainly about the semantic link between (atomic) thoughts and atomic symbols. In the next post, I will get to the semantics of molecular symbols (words). I will show some examples of how they influence the disposition and how we learn from them.

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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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I would like to address the few questions I received on the three parts 1,2 and 3 of the semantics of interpersonal relations. The first and most obvious questions was:

I don’t get it. What are the semantics?

This question is about the actual semantic rules that I did not state fully or formally in any of the three parts. I only referred to Dr. Adi’s semantic theory and related how the elements and relations of language (sounds and signs) correspond with natural and interpersonal elements and relations relevant to an embodied human being.

Alright, so a correspondence can be understood as an agreement or similarity and as a mathematical and conceptual mapping (a mapping on inner thoughts). What we have here, essentially, is a conceptual mapping. Language apparently maps to thought and action and vice-versa. So the idea here is to understand the semantic mechanism underlying these mappings and implement and apply it in computer automations.

Our semantic objects and rules are not like those of NLP or AI or OWL or those defined by the semantic web. These semantic elements do not derive from the parts of speech of a language and the semantic rules are not taken from propositional logic. And so that these semantic rules will make more sense, let me first better define the conceptual space where these semantic rules operate.

Conceptually, this can be imagined as a kind of intersubjective space. It is a space encompassing interpersonal relationships and personal and social interactions. This space constitutes a substantial part of what might be called our “semantic space” where life lived, what the Germans call Erlebnis, and ordinary perception and interpretation (Erfahrung) intersect, and where actions in our self-embodied proximity move us to intuit and ascribe meaning.

Here in this place is the intersection where intention and sensation collide, where sensibilities provoke the imagination and thought begets action. It is where ideas are conceived. This is where language finds expression. It is where we formulate plans and proposals, build multidimensional models and run simulations. It is the semantic space where things become mutually intelligible. Unfortunately, natural language research and developments of “semantic search” and the “Semantic-Web” do not address this semantic space or any underlying mechanisms at all.

In general when someone talks about “semantics” in the computer industry, they are talking either about English grammar, rdf-triples in general or they are talking about propositional logic in a natural or artificial language, e.g., a data definition language, web services language, description logic, Aristotelian logic, etc. There is something linguists call semantics though the rules are mainly syntactic rules that have limited interpretative and predictive value. Those rules are usually applied objectively, to objectively defined objects, according to objectively approved vocabulary defined by objectively-minded people. Of course, it is no better to subjectively define things. Yet, there is no need to remain in a quandary over what to do about this.

We do not live in an completely objective, observable or knowable reality, or a me-centric or I-centric society, it is a we-centric society. The interpersonal and social experience that every person develops from birth is intersubjective — each of us experience the we-centric reality of ourselves and others entirely through our own selves and our entirely personal world view.

Perhaps it is because we do not know and cannot know– through first-hand experience at least– what any others know, or are presently thinking, that there is this sort of dichotomy that sets in between ourselves and others. This dichotomy is pervasive and even takes control of some lives. In any case, conceptually, there is a continuum between the state of self-realization and the alterity of others. This is what I am calling the continuum of intersubjective space.

A continuum of course, is a space that can only be divided arbitrarily. Each culture has their own language for dividing this space. Each subculture in a society have their own language for dividing this space. Every technical field has their own language for dividing the space. And it follows, of course, that each person has their own language, not only for dividing this space, but for interacting within the boundaries of this space. The continuum, though, remains untouched and unchanged by interactions or exchanges in storied or present acts.

The semantics we have adopted for this intersubjective space include precedence rules formulated by Tom Adi. Adi’s semiotic axioms govern the abstract objects and interprocess control structures operating in this space. Cognitively, this can be seen as a sort of combination functional mechanism, used not only for imagining or visualizing, but also for simulating the actions of others. I might add that while most people can call on and use this cognitive faculty at will, its use is not usually a deliberate act; it is mainly used subconsciously and self-reflexively.

We can say that the quality of these semantics determine the fidelity of the sound, visualization, imitation or simulation to the real thing. So when we access and use these semantics in computer software as we do with Readware technology, we are accessing a measure of the fidelity between two or more objects (among other features) . This may sound simplistic though it is a basic level cognitive faculty. Consider how we learn through imitation. Note to self: Don’t leave out the cognitive load to switch roles and consider how easily we can take the opposite or other position on almost any matter.

We all must admit, after careful introspection, that we are able to “decode” the witnessed behavior of others without the need to exert any conscious cognitive effort of the sort required for describing or expressing the features of such behavior using language, for example. It may be only because we must translate sensory information into sets of mutually intelligible and meaningful representations in order to use language to ascribe intentions, order or beliefs, to self or others, that the functional mechanism must also share an interface with language. It may also be because language affords people a modicum of command and control over their environment.

Consider the necessity of situational control in the face of large, complex and often unsolvable problems. I do not know about you, but I need situational control in my environment and I must often fight to retain it in the face of seemingly insurmountable problems and daily ordeals.

Now try and recognize how the functional aspects of writing systems fill a semiotic role in this regard. Our theoretical claim is that these mutually intelligible signs instantiate discrete abstract clusters of multidimensional concepts relative to the control and contextualizing of situated intersubjective processes.

Like the particles and waves of quantum mechanics are to physics, these discrete intersubjective objects and processes are the weft and the warp of the weaving of the literary arts and anthropological sciences on the loom of human culture. We exploited this functional mechanism in the indexing, concept-analysis, search and retrieval software we call Readware.

We derived a set of precedence rules that determine interprocess control structures and gave us root interpretation mappings. These mappings were applied to the word roots of an ancient language that were selected because modern words derived from these word roots are used today. These few thousand root interpretations (formulas) were organized into a library of concepts, a ConceptBase, used for mapping expressions in the same language and from different languages. It was a very successful approach for which we designed a pair of ReST-type servers with an API to access all the functionality.

To make this multi-part presentation more complete, I have posted a page with several tables drawn up by Tom Adi, along with the formal theory and axioms. There are no proofs here as they were published elsewhere by Dr. Adi. These tables and axioms identify all the key abstract objects, the concepts and their interrelationships. Tom describes the mappings from the base set (sounds) and the axioms that pertain to compositions and word-root interpretations, together with the semantic rules determining inheritance and precedence within the control structures. You can find that page here.

And that brings me to the next question, which was: How can you map concepts between languages with centuries of language change and arbitrary signs? The short answer is that we don’t. We map the elements of language to and from the elements of what we believe to be are interlinked thought processes that form mirror-like abstract and conceptual images (snapshots) of perceptive and sensory interactions in a situated intersubjective space.

That is to say that there is a natural correspondence between what is actually happening in an arbitrary situation and the generative yet arbitrary language about that situation. This brings me to the last question that I consider relevant no matter how flippant it may appear to be:

So what?

The benefits of a shared semantic space should not be underestimated. Particularly in this medium of computing where scaling of computing resources and applications is necessary.

Establishing identity relations is important because it affords the self-capacity to better predict the consequences of the ongoing and future behavior of others. In social settings, the attribution of identity status to other individuals automatically contextualizes their behavior. By contextualizing content, for example, knowing that others are acting as we would effectively reduces the cognitive complexity and the amount of information we have to process.

It is the same sort of thing in automated text processing and computerized content discovery processes. By contextualizing content in this way (e.g, with Readware) we dramatically and effectively reduce the amount of information we must process from text, to more directly access and cluster relevant topical and conceptual structure, and to support further discovery processes. We have found that a side-effect to this kind of automated text-analysis is that it clarifies data sources by catching unnatural patterns (e.g., auto-generated spam) and it also helps identify duplication and error in data feeds and collections.

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