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January 24, 2008


Allison Fishman

Hmmm. Sounds like you need a secretary or a wife, someone to do all the annoying things you don't want to do. As I recall, we call this folks interns...or recent college grads? While we underestimate the challenge and sticktoitiveness required to address the mundane.

Javier Ruiz Aranguren

Hi, Nova. A great post.
I wanted to reply you properly, so I have used my own blog to do it:
The Artificial Mediocrity, The Next Necessary Thing (http://www.geospatialmeaning.eu/2008/01/28/artificial-mediocrity-the-next-necessary-thing/)
Best regards.


Very interesting... I suggest a twist to your perspective which I believe will be more digestible.

In my opinion, even doing routine things you mentioned require some artificial intelligence. For e.g. "organizing emails" require some basic intelligence. I do agree that rather than focusing on higher level intelligence like chess game etc, we should *first* focus on simpler things and move upwards to higher level stuff.


Very interesting... I suggest a twist to your perspective which I believe will be more digestible.

In my opinion, even doing routine things you mentioned require some artificial intelligence. For e.g. "organizing emails" require some basic intelligence. I do agree that rather than focusing on higher level intelligence like chess game etc, we should *first* focus on simpler things and move upwards to higher level stuff.


This is really the way to approach the issue. Makes a lot of sense to me. There is a semantic difference between intelligent and smart! The next web is more about smart agents rather than AI.

James Taylor

Love it. This, in fact, was the basic premise behind my recent book (with Neil Raden) called "Smart (enough) Systems". While others research truly "intelligent" systems, what mot of us need is systems that are just smart enough. Smart enough to point out drug interactions, smart enough to detect fraud, smart enough to route an email appropriately, smart enough to see how likely someone is to be who they say they are.
It's a great book, though I say so myself!

James Taylor
Author, with Neil Raden, of Smart (Enough) Systems
Blog at http://www.smartenoughsystems.com/wp


While this might me a worthwhile endeavor such complicated tasks may one day elicit the creation of A.I. to deal with the evolution of the more complicated tasks computerization of everyday life will inevitably bring within a continually cyberized world? is not you twine program designed to serve that very purpose? at what point does a level of programming surpass the threshold of simple instruction into the realm of conscious discretion?

james shamenski

Ray Kurzweil will have you know that machines will replicate and pass human intelligence in this century. Reading up on the singularity paints a grim outlook of the future. If anything, a semantic web will greatly aid in this transition.

The covered wagon was necessary in helping people move west but like any tool, eventually it will be seen as obsolete. The semantic wave is necessary to progress forward but once robots take over the earth, RDF will be seen as a waste of code.

Dan Tecuci

I agree that smart systems need to help us deal with the stuff that they're good at and we're not. In that sense, they're not AI. However, more generally, as soon as a task that was considered "hard" for computers is "solved" (e.g. chess), suddenly it's no longer AI. Maybe we're getting better at defining AI or maybe we're just biased by the lofty goals of AI that were passed down to us...

Arjun Ram

A well written post. However, who would have dreamnt 15 years ago that computer would be able to recognize semantics! Dream leads to innovation..I would even contend that "finding things that are of interest" isnt much of a stupid task - recommendation and personalization are still tough problems to crack.

As your title mentions the next web is definitely is getting machines to handle our stupid tasks .. Hail Roomba!

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Nova's Trip to Edge of Space

  • Stepsedgestratosphere
    In 1999 I flew to the edge of space with the Russian air force, with Space Adventures. I made it to an altitude of just under 100,000 feet and flew at Mach 3 in a Mig-25 piloted by one of Russia's best test-pilots. These pics were taken by Space Adventures from similar flights to mine. I didn't take digital stills -- I got the whole flight on digital video, which was featured on the Discovery Channel.

Nova & Friends, Training For Space...

  • Img021
    In 1999 I was invited to Russia as a guest of the Russian Space Agency to participate in zero-gravity training on an Ilyushin-76 parabolic flight training aircraft. It was really fun!!!! Among other people on that adventure were Peter Diamandis (founder of the X-Prize and Zero-G Corporation), Bijal Trivedi (a good friend of mine, science journalist), and "Lord British" (creator of the Ultima games). Here are some pictures from that trip...


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    Kim is my girlfriend and partner, and also a producer of 11 TV movies, and now an entrepreneur in the pet industry. She is passionate about animals. She has unusual compassion and a great sense of humor.
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    Adam Cohen is a long-term friend; we were roommates in college. He is a really talented composer and film-scorer. He doesn't have a Web site but I like him anyway! He's in Hollywood living the dream.
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