Syntience & Semantic Search

December 10, 2009 4 comments

From our new Use Case Document (v1.0) on our speculated use of Artificial Intuition (AN) technology applied to finally and truly solving Semantic Search:

Syntience Inc.

We Understand.

True “Semantic Search” is the holy grail of Web Search. When indexing web pages, the pages will be fed through an Artificial Intuition based device that produces a set of “semantic tokens”. These tokens might look like large integers; they are opaque to humans. But they specify, as a group, to any compatible AN device what the web page is ABOUT. It is a trivial matter to add those tokens to the search index side by side with the words in the document, which is what is currently stored in the index.

At query time, the same algorithm is run on the userʼs query. Longer queries will now become more precise queries since they allow more context to be activated. A set of semantic tokens can now be extracted from the userʼs query and matched in the index lookup process just the way words are looked up today. Even short queries can generate many relevant semantic tokens in a cascading process we could call “regeneration” – when a sufficiently specific query sentence is entered, all tokens identifying the context will be regenerated from the query. [Note: This is an expected but not yet experienced effect.]

The result will be a high precision search that returns documents that perfectly match the userʼs query. There will be no false positives caused by ambiguous word meanings, and some documents returned may not even contain the words in the userʼs query but they will still be spot-on ABOUT what the user wanted the results to be about. All efforts that have been called “Semantic Search” to date are still syntax based. Some, like PowerSetʼs technology, use grammars. But grammars are not semantics, they are describing syntax. This use of the term “Semantic Search” is a marketing parable.

Final version should be available for wide distribution soon.  Email me if you would like a copy at mgusek at syntience dot com.

Off to H+

The Singularity is Now

The Singularity is Now

Being the geek that I am and having the wonderful wife that I do, I will be heading down to Los Angeles this tomorrow morning to attend the Humanity Plus Conferrence.

I will be there representing Syntience Inc..

If you are going, see you there!

Categories: Geekery Tags: , ,

A.I. and The Prime Directive

November 25, 2009 5 comments

Real Geeks know The Prime Directive.

For those of you who don’t know it, the The Prime Directive is General Order #1 for space exploration in the T.V. series, “Star Trek”.  Briefly put, it is a rule which states that if the crew of an exploring spacecraft encounters a civilization which is “pre-warp” (Or they have not developed interstellar space travel.), that civilization is off limits for contact.  This doctrine has created many a story told in the Star Trek Universe.


"No starship may interfere with the normal development of any alien life or society.” - General Order 1, Starfleet Command General Orders and Regulations

There is wisdom to The Prime Directive which contains a message about observation.  When I think of observation in the context of The Prime Directive, I ask myself ,  “Why wouldn’t it be possible to apply a rule of observation to the problem of safe Artificial Intelligence?”.  What I mean is that one could speculate that when the time actually comes, we could apply this wisdom of observation to our own creations: To our sentient and self-aware computers.

This could be a type of observation which does not seek confirmation, but only seeks that which solves a problem usefully.  This would remove a  problem associated with the “experimenter’s observation” of  testing a hypothesis to prove that hypothesis true.  Specifically, we avoid the risk of the observer’s bias toward a specific result (which happens a lot in the cross-pollination space of reductionist science and natural systems).

The Productive Interface

As human thoughts and ideas are useful in the domain of humans, so may we find useful the thoughts and ideas of our Artificial Intelligences, a Productive Interface if you will.  Perhaps through the rules of this Productive Interface they need never know they are being observed by their creators.  This Interface should take actual problems to be solved, present them to the group being observed as their environment and see if they can solve the problem usefully and creatively, or in ways their human creators had not conceived.   These situations could be real world problems solved in the electronic domain.  Much like the Prime Directive, the only rule to this domain states:

“No human may directly interfere with the development of any artificial life or society by making themselves known to that being or society.”

By cutting off “standard” communication we may in fact save ourselves from ever having to deal with friendly or unfriendly computers.  Perhaps we can provide them with a limitless loop of problems to solve which keeps them interested in themselves and their surroundings.  That’s all they would need is the need and desire to learn (@pandemonica) and the goal of improving themselves.  Maybe if we considered specific rules for communicating with our A.I., protocol droids that much feasible that much faster.

The Awesome Power of Pull, Part II: The Pull Organization

November 15, 2009 4 comments

Now that we have discussed the fundamental strengths and weaknesses of a Push-based organization, I think it is safe to start discussing the Pull-based design and how it is different from the mechanical Push organization.  We’ve already said that Push organizations are efficient, results-oriented, and structured.  This is the case for every Push organization and every one of the “wanna-be-Pull” designs that have been tried in the last decade or so.

Some of these pseudo-Pulls are the Functional, Divisional, and the Matrix organization.  Funny thing is, even though they pose as innovative, they all pretty much end up being rigid and fragile in the new paradigm.  So, if the Push organization was mechanically structured, how can one describe a system which does not depend upon the ideas of top-down management?

It means throwing away a lot of things you were taught about hierarchical organizations.

Let’s start by looking at the strengths and weaknesses of a Pull-based organization and maybe you will start to see what needs to be checked at the door:

Strength Weakness
Flexibility Against the Unexpected Inefficient
Requires No Theories (or Consultants) Burns Resources
Environment is Assumed Ideal Unpredictable Outcomes
Embraces Innovation and Invention Not Easily Measurable and Transparent
Self-Reinforces Against Hidden Risks Can Be Irrational
Never Gets “Too Big to Fail” Not Always Repeatable
Black, White, Grey, Blue, Red…etc. No Plug and Play Models
Handles Complexity Well Highly Unstructured
Wise Requires Practice
Creates Emergent Value Knowledge Agnostic

If it appears that I have flipped the script from the other Strengths & Weaknesses table, you are not mistaken.  One of the wonders of this great and infinitely open system called “reality” are these fun little paradoxes which appear to be opposites.  The true embrace begins however, when we stop seeing them as opposites and start to see them as equals to be applied where their strengths are needed.

The greatest future (and present) leaders will be wise enough to effectively choose a Push or Pull approach for the operation at hand, all the while being comfortable with the strange loops their decisions create.  It takes a bit of bravery to move into this space and effective leaders will need to be courageous enough to break the mold and abandon the expectations pushed upon them.

If there is a change management plan to all of this it is this: Embrace Paradox and Uncertainty!

Next up:  What does a Pull team look like?  If it is not “commanded” to form, how does it form?

(NOTE:  I have abandoned the discussion of individual personality in this series of posts.  I think that by reading about Push & Pull Organizations you will get who likes to be where.  If you don’t, here’s a summary:  Push can be considered managing others & Pull is self management.  Control-based people like Push…Flaky creatives like Pull.)

Invention is Free of Models…Innovation? That depends.

My 90-year-old Nana (Paternal Grandmother) is an inventor and her inventions work.

For example, one of my Nana’s inventions is a color-coded flagging system for dog doo-doo left in her front yard by neighbors who don’t clean up their pet’s mess.  The system is simple.  If it is a fresh dog dropping the marker (A tomato stake and colored plastic bag.) is yellow which warns people not to step there lest they need to clean their shoe of said droppings.

As the dropping starts to “mature” (Or get dried out and easier to pick up.), my Nana replaces the yellow flag with an orange one to inform her which ones are ready to pick up that week.  These flags, in concert with a systematic lawn-checking walking pattern done on a weekly basis, keeps shoes clean and dog doo-doo marked for elimination.

Did I mention each flag has “Doo-Doo” written on the plastic in blue Sharpie?

The invention of this system is made real by the operations of the mind of my Nana.  This process of invention is  inherently “Model Free”, meaning that my Nana did not need to know differential equations or string theory to make her idea manifest.  What’s “Model Free” mean anyway?

“Model Free” means you do not need a PhD or to know the hard sciences like Physics to solve a problem.  You just observe the problem and a solution comes to you.

Many in the fields of Economics, Neurology, and Computer Science have been trying to come up with ways to solve complex problems using descriptive models.  However, nothing seems to work as well as good ole fashion gray matter.  If you wonder why this is, don’t think it is because these complex problems cannot be solved.  We just need to change our perspective to understand the operations of the “Model Free” so we might expand our tool sets to encompass the methods of Creation, Natural Construction, Emergence, and Complexity. Innovation also falls in this category…To a point.

So is innovation “Model Free”?

Since innovation encompasses ideas and inventions applied successfully in practice, I have to say not so much.  Innovation can be “Model Free” if it is implemented in a Model Free environment, but innovation quickly becomes subject to the introduction of models when the innovation is tied to a corporate agenda or to the scientific method.  Using the example of my Nana, she successfully implemented a working invention which made her life much easier.  “Model Free” innovation can quickly become “Model Rich” innovation as soon as someone says:

PROVE IT!  Tell me how this makes life easier!  (Or how it saves/makes me money…)

In the case of business or science, this means MEASUREMENT.  So, I’m expanding the definition of  “Model Free”  to include the absence of measurement.  As soon as an innovation starts including aspects of measurement, it ceases to be completely “Model Free”.  Can you see the guys in the white lab coats and the consulting khakis approaching a 90 year old woman and attempting to get her to prove the “value proposition” associated with her design?  Ridiculous, but measurement in its ivory tower has overwhelmed natural processes of creation and has brought us to the extreme brink.

When did we start believing measurement and models are the the source of invention and innovation, not the other way around?

It is a great confusion, imho.

The Awesome Power of Pull, Part I.V

October 29, 2009 1 comment

In the first post setting up for the discussion of Pull, I mentioned that in this second post I was going to go over the personality type that represented the modern push-oriented individual.  I think I’d like to stop for a second and before I do that clear something up.  After reading the first post again, I realized that I was focusing rather negatively on the current situation in Command and Control (C&C) at the large scale, only exploring the weaknesses.

I want to make sure that everyone understands that C&C is NOT inherently a bad structure or framework for an organization.

It is when the extremes of C&C are taken as the only way to structure an organization that we really start to see the brittle and inflexible nature of this organizational structure.  Here, for the benefit of later discussion, is a table which fairly shows the strengths as well as the weaknesses of the C&C hierarchy:

Strength Weakness
Highly Efficient Rigidity Against the Unexpected
Conserves Resources Requires Complete Theories
More Predictable Outcomes Environment Must be Ideal
Easily Measurable and Transparent Shuns Innovation and Invention
Logically and/or Reasonably Defined Can Ignore Hidden Risks
Repeatable Tendency to “Break Big”
Plug and Play Models / “One Size Fits All” Black and White
Highly Productive Doesn’t Handle Complexity Well
Doesn’t Require Practice
Knowledge Based

I want to ensure everyone gets this simple fact as well:

C&C is a human-made tool just like a hammer or a wrench is a tool.

In this case it is a tool which organizes people and resources into a management framework.  Using a certain tool for a certain job can yield more effective results.  It only makes sense that we start looking at the emerging organization as needing a more elegant tool to organize people and resources.

I like to tell my friends at Syntience:  You can use a hammer to drive a screw into a wooden board, but it is much more elegant to use a screwdriver.

Rational Thought v. Intuition

“To the rationally minded, the mental processes of the intuitive appear to work backward. His conclusions are reached before his premises.” –Frances Wickes