"Project-Proposers Anonymous"

Mentifex mentifex at scn.org
Sun Dec 27 13:09:54 EST 1998

Hello, my name is *Mentifex, and I am an AI Project Proposer.

Jorn Barger in comp.ai on 27 Dec 1998 has called us together:
> It would be enlightening, I think, to compile a timeline
> of every over-ambitious AI project that's been announced
> on comp.ai.* in the last decade or so...           [...]

  At last!  An on-line AI/PPA support group, thanks to Jorn!

> (It's unfortunate when this sort of idealism gets attacked.  The
> programs we need most _necessarily_ take the longest to design.)

  It keeps getting worse; it's terminal.  Jorn, can any of your co-
  dependent co-pathetics top this sad narrative of how AI project-ism
  ruined a promising career in... (uh-oh, even the career is history)
  embourgeoisement (for lack of a better term)?

  My fellow stumblers on the AI heapslag, do any of you recognize
  these tell-tale signs in your own **Entgleisung approach to AI?

  For instance, not only do you spend every waking hour on your
  AI mindscheme (such as http://www.scn.org/~mentifex/ chez moi),
  but you inflict it upon hapless netnewsers who shan't escape?

  Oh, yes, and to top it all, do you have a DIAGRAM?  Gotta see
  http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Agora/7256/mindmap.html Q.E.D.

  If so, get help fast, before... before your mega-mungo-karma
  unravels into recent afflictions like sideswiping the book of
  Knuth, "The Art of Computer Programming" and meta-mangling it
  into http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Agora/acm.html "The Art
  of Computer Mindmaking" (Association for Computing Machinery).

  Whatever you do, do not FINISH your AI project (you're done,
  in more ways than one).  That's the scary part, Jorn:  Project
  Mentifex is actually drawing to a close.  Lo, the source code
  http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Agora/7256/m-forth Mind.forth
  is at Internet Web Release number eighteen (18) and counting!
  The program is about to come alive and quicken, frankly, Frank-
  ensteinically.  Remember that line in Vernor Vinge's article on
  http://www.gcs.caltech.edu/~phoenix/vinge/vinge-sing.html The
  Singularity:  "We were just tweaking some parameters..." and
  then the AI came to life?

  And fellow recovering AI Project Proposers Anonymous, have you
  ever tried to "harness the collective IQ of the Internet" as per
  http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/ Eric Raymond's
  theories about Linux and how Microsoft is afraid of free software?

  Have you proposed an AI Project like the "pdaimind" after filching
  http://www.clickshop.com/pdkb/pdkb.html the PDKB ideas of Seth
  Russell from his posts on the "Public Domain Knowledge Bank"?
  Tsk!  At your current burn rate, which will come first, AI or DOA?

> -- 
> I edit the Net: <URL:http://www.mcs.net/~jorn/html/weblogs/weblog.html>
>"The real gem among his musings is the weblog, a detailed daily account
> of Jorn's travels around the web.  Watch a highly observant and 
> thoughtful web surfer at work." -- UK Guardian, 21 October 1998

* Mentifex (Latin for "Mindmaker")
** Entgleisung (German for "derailment" -- from life, from reality)

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