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Learn About the FRDCSA 'Weak AI' Project (Video)

Roblimo posted about a year ago | from the let-us-run-your-life-for-you dept.

Perl 52

Today's interviewee, Andrew Dougherty, has a Web page that says he is "...an autodidact mathematician and computer scientist specializing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Algorithmic Information Theory (AIT). He is the founder of the FRDCSA (Formalized Research Database: Cluster Study & Apply) project, a practical attempt at weak AI aimed primarily at collecting and interrelating existing software with theoretical motivation from AIT. He has made over 90 open source applications, 400 (unofficial) Debian GNU/Linux packages and 800 Perl5 modules (see http://frdcsa.org/frdcsa)." Tim Lord says Andrew's project "brings together a lot of AI algorithms, collects large sets of data for those algorithms to chew on, and writes software to do things like ... guide your whole life." As you might guess, Andrew occupies a pretty far edge of the eccentric programmer world, as you'll see from this video (and transcript). He calls himself "a serious Stallmanite" (his word), and has chosen the GPL for his software in the hopes that it will therefore help the greatest number of people. (Speaking of help, he's looking for interesting data sets and various "life rules" that can be integrated with his planning software, and one of the reasons he presented at the recent YAPC::NA was to solicit help in putting his hundreds of Perl modules onto CPAN.)

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I'm confused. (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43997705)

did the weak ai write the summary and the perl packages?

Re:I'm confused. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43997941)

How do you feel about the summary and the perl packages?

Re:I'm confused. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44002965)

Come, come, elucidate your thoughts.

Re:I'm confused. (2)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year ago | (#44009081)

Why do you ask how I feel about the summary and the perl packages?

Re:I'm confused. (1)

tgd (2822) | about a year ago | (#43998047)

did the weak ai write the summary and the perl packages?

It's still superior to the "slashdot_editors" package.

Cool (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43997713)

Very interesting topic. There is another great initiative going on to help abused women recover. Check it out! Visit everysecondmatters.ca for details

Slashdot-slashdotted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43997743)

The video seems to be hosted by slashdot, but if I try to watch it it fails to load.
Did Slashdot slashdot itself?

Weak Al (5, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year ago | (#43997755)

Weird Al's lesser known brother!

The girl with the green tshirt and black shorts (0)

atom1c (2868995) | about a year ago | (#43997775)

I gotta admit, that's he only thing that REALLY caught my attention.

This guy's approach to Weak AI is "meh" at best. There's nothing that he's said which hasn't already been done before.

Re:The girl with the green tshirt and black shorts (3, Insightful)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#43998759)

Here's the lesson to take from this folks: Never listen to the Internet, because no matter what you do, there will be a gigantic dick on the Internet who responds with "meh."

Re:The girl with the green tshirt and black shorts (1)

atom1c (2868995) | about a year ago | (#43999957)

...there will be a gigantic dick... who responds with "meh."

Your comment is clearly overrated and should be construed as flame bait. It also deserves a "meh" since it adds nothing to the topic of AI and whether the individual profiled in the story is contributing something novel in the general quest for improvements in artificial intelligence -- or the availability of open source software which can be amalgamated into an AI-related project.

Re:The girl with the green tshirt and black shorts (1)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#44004033)

We all want to be just as smart as you

Re:The girl with the green tshirt and black shorts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44004351)

Hmm, so instead of proving him wrong you're just going to double down? The solution to people being off-topic dicks is to just pile on and be another off-topic dick? Well, might as well start following your example then.

Re:The girl with the green tshirt and black shorts (1)

atom1c (2868995) | about a year ago | (#44019965)

We all want to be just as smart as you

That's terrific! You can start that quest by staying in school... and learning to read academic journals about subjects affecting the real world -- not just the comics page in your community newspaper.

Re:The girl with the green tshirt and black shorts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44001137)

no matter what you do, there will be a gigantic dick on the Internet who responds

That seems to be the essential part. You could have likewise done something constructive, but instead made a couple posts trying to one-up others in asshole-ness.

Re:The girl with the green tshirt and black shorts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44005989)

a gigantic dick

You say that as if it was a bad thing.

I happen to have a gigantic dick, you insensitive clod!

Re:The girl with the green tshirt and black shorts (0)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year ago | (#44009121)

Here's the lesson to take from this folks: Never listen to the Internet, because no matter what you do, there will be a gigantic dick on the Internet who responds with "meh."

No, the lesson is "If Tim Lord phones asking for an interview, be insulted, because he never interviews anyone interesting or newsworthy."

Re:The girl with the green tshirt and black shorts (1)

idontgno (624372) | about a year ago | (#43998761)

But he'll make it work. Because he's an autodidact.

/rolleyes

I was an autodidact too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44003035)

But the nuns at my elementary school told me if I didn't stop I'd go blind.

Skynet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43997811)

Knitting existing code together... yikes.

What? (2)

OverlordQ (264228) | about a year ago | (#43997859)

So he can write hundreds of Perl Modules, but not a single script that can automate the upload process?

Re:What? (1)

atom1c (2868995) | about a year ago | (#43997915)

Apparently he doesn't know how to configure an Apache's DocumentRoot, either (see http://frdcsa.org/ [frdcsa.org] )

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43998153)

Sorry about that, it's back up.

Re:What? (1)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#43998807)

You're so fucking cool. I wish I was just like you and could find the flaws in everyone else. You must be a right fucking howl at parties, huh? Do you go around insulting all the cute girls at the parties too?

Write a book, man. There are a lot of people in the world who want to be bigger dicks.

Re:What? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44006219)

Please tell me how you're not at all a complete loser with less confidence than a four year old girl in orc battle, who bursts into tears when anyone even hints at him not being mommy's perfect little angel, parroting the same stupid pseudo-cool pseudo-victim shit every time anyone criticises anyone anywhere, not even realizing how much he *himself* validates his own inferiority with that every damn time.

PROTIP: Normal people either know everyone knows the criticism is nonsense and hence laugh, or are *happy* they learned something new and are a little less dumb now. ("Insulting"?? WAT?? How old are you?)

You on the other hand, never learn anything, bitch, whine, are a giant dick, and only reinforce your self-induced stereotype of how much of a failure you are.

Well... I can only agree with you on that. :P

Stallman? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43997891)

I saw a video of that disgusting fuck eat something off his god damn foot. Didn't even try to be discreet about it as if it's a perfectly normal thing for disgusting fosstards to do.

Well, kiss his ass goodbye. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43997945)

After reading the summary, I see him getting and offer he can't refuse from some Wall Street firm.

Like unlimited underwear from the K-Mart of his choice!

What? (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | about a year ago | (#43997949)

Ok so maybe his past couple albums weren't the best, but he is still as "weird" as ever... What's that, oh weak "AI(as in artificial intelligence"), sorry /. Mobile's shitty font got me confused there for a second.

Slashvertisement (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43997963)

Look, a cook masquerading as a great researcher! Who paid for this ad?

Fund now!! It may be too late to lose all of your money!!

To be a Stallmanite. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43998111)

Do you have to eat the dead skin from between your toes or is that optional?

Clearly weak AI: FRDCSA? (3, Funny)

schlameel (1017070) | about a year ago | (#43998187)

Any respectable AI would suggest a better name.

Tim Lord... (1)

Picass0 (147474) | about a year ago | (#43998201)

Am I the only Doctor Who fan that did a double take on that name?

Wow. Through dint of cut-and-paste... (1)

Slartibartfast (3395) | about a year ago | (#43998235)

Roblimo has posted a story that I almost care about.

I don't mean to wale on the guy, but after over a decade, I get kinda tired of One Single Person who continually annoys me on Slashdot. And... somehow, I don't think I'm alone.

-Slarty

In English? Please? (3, Interesting)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#43998739)

... a practical attempt at weak AI aimed primarily at collecting and interrelating existing software with theoretical motivation from AIT

<stares blankly>

Re:In English? Please? (1)

oreiasecaman (2466136) | about a year ago | (#44010907)

<stares blankly>

</stares blankly>
Close your tags please...

Greatest number of people...? (0)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year ago | (#43998767)

He calls himself "a serious Stallmanite" (his word), and has chosen the GPL for his software in the hopes that it will therefore help the greatest number of people.

Then he's a fool. All things being equal, a non-copyleft license will always benefit more people than a GPL license, because more people can use it. Don't get me wrong, I agree with copyleft, but the only justification is reciprocity (my work's free, so yours must be too). If that's not your justification, GPL is the wrong license for you.

Re:Greatest number of people...? (5, Insightful)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year ago | (#43998819)

Sorry, there's one other good justification for GPL: if you're reusing other people's software that's already GPLed. Which is basically what he's doing. He didn't chose GPL, the authors of the software he's combining did.

dumbass submitter.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44000007)

It's WEIRD AL, not WEAK AL.

Dumbass

Perl? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44000203)

It should be done in Go or at least Ruby to get today's kids on board. This is doomed.

What's up with the web site? (1)

talexb (223672) | about a year ago | (#44000371)

Confusingly, the web site http://frdcsa.org/frdcsa/ [frdcsa.org] is full of broken links. And how hard is it to sign up for a PAUSE id and upload modules to CPAN? About the only difficult part of that is picking namespaces for the 800 modules that he's written.

Re:What's up with the web site? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44001989)

This details some of the difficulties in releasing it.

http://news.perlfoundation.org/2010/08/2010q3-grant-proposal-frdcsa-i.html

Where have all the nerds gone? (3)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about a year ago | (#44000713)

Seriously?
A fascinating interview, a fascinating person, a fascinating project.
And this is all we can muster? A few jokes about Weird Al, complaints about not putting his modules up on CPAN...
And not a single person is interested in an open source AI project that seeks to build up a comprehensive ontology from the crap scattered across the web?
The deafening silence in the comments is hurting my head. It's like all the nerds left, and we're now left with a SlashBI crowd.

The least we could do is imagine a beowulf cluster of these, shit.

Re:Where have all the nerds gone? (2)

Roman Coder (413112) | about a year ago | (#44000905)

I too was hoping for something more substantial, like a discussion on the merits of his approach to A.I., etc.

Re:Where have all the nerds gone? (1)

oh2 (520684) | about a year ago | (#44001123)

Considering the state of the AI art, any attempt at improving it is a step forward.

Re:Where have all the nerds gone? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44002063)

Part of the reason state of the AI art is where it is now is because there is so much work on it that hasn't gone anywhere. So I don't think any attempt at improving it is a step forward, as the field has already demonstrated that there is a lot of attempts that were not a step forward. I'm not trying to say the field is static, just it will take some combination of luck and insight/vision for further contributions to actually go anywhere.

Re:Where have all the nerds gone? (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year ago | (#44009189)

I too was hoping for something more substantial, like a discussion on the merits of his approach to A.I., etc.

How could we? The interview was without any real substance. I was hoping for something juicy (I've working on some funky NLG-based applications at the moment) but the interview gave no insight into what he's actually doing, and didn't motivate me to look any further.

I like the idea that someone's working on integrating existing command-line apps in novel ways — I wish more people would design their software for an old-school Unix pipes-and-redirects architecture, so that we could play computer Lego instead of fighting with libraries and APIs, but hey-ho....

Re:Where have all the nerds gone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44001043)

There isn't much meat in the interview, and trying to use the actual website is running into issues with a lot of broken links or very terse descriptions of packages. I've only gotten some odds and ends to actually open, and there isn't much to comment on. Getting through the stuff on the website seems to take a lot of effort (maybe it will improve latter if it is being slashdotted), effort which I would rather spend thinking about or working on the actual problems, instead of reading half written blurb on food ontology. And it shouldn't be surprising that nerds won't flock to something that takes too much of the wrong kind of effort, plus a lot of people already avoid Slashdot videos as is.

Re:Where have all the nerds gone? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44001347)

the content is a video.
the content doesn't have that much content.
there isn't much to discuss if anything.

so yeah, this is all we can muster. and for the record I think crowdsourcing life planning is .. well, stupid. stupid and boring. I need a computer to tell me what other people think that I should do as much as I need a heart attack or to hear about how some packages need lobbying/work to push into cpan.

did YOU watch the whole video? what did it give to you? did you miss the part where he lost the data? that is, there isn't much substance in the stuff discussed on it.. even with all that the content would have been much better to give in a structured written down format than the video, not least because the stuff that might be interesting has impossible to recognize from speech names . the guy is obviously either very tired or on acid so there's that too. it's possible that his presentation was a bit more interesting, but why slashdot didn't have that then as a video I don't know(seriously I just first thought that the summary was badly written, but it's sort of accurate summary of the thing that the video is).

frdcsa.org is just painful - PAINFUL - to read so not much to discuss about that... well maybe that it's a bit peculiar to use "capabilities" bullet points as what looks like a TODO. and mostly(if not fully) the ai project is just packaging other sw. not sure if anyone at all uses those packages. I know this comment is getting painful to read as well but damn, if the guy has made 90 applications surely one of them would be worth mentioning? I mean, who puts "90 applications" on what is practically their CV and doesn't list a single one there but has a donate button??

Re:Where have all the nerds gone? (1)

Keith Rowell (2957369) | about a year ago | (#44057429)

I think a life planning ai is a great idea, I've often wished I had one. 1. everyone is mentally in a different place (world view) and has different abilities / talents / handicaps. 2. the sum total of man's knowledge and experience is impossible for any one person to absorb. 3. an ai that could parse through it all and make useful suggestions sounds great. My vision is of a clever answer at every turn, but reality would probably be more boring. Like "recycle more".

Peer Reviewed Papers? (1)

NeverWorker1 (1686452) | about a year ago | (#44001295)

Has this guy actually contributed anything new, or is he just finding stuff he thinks is cool and cobbling it together? FWIW, I've been unable to find even a single paper with his name on it.

Had lunch with him at the conference (2)

Krishnoid (984597) | about a year ago | (#44001763)

One thing that struck me was the time and effort he put into it. He's been working on it for many years now, which is probably why he's been able to write 800 modules for the project.

Re:Had lunch with him at the conference (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44001915)

Hi Krishna!

The closest thing I have to a paper is this:

http://frdcsa.org/~andrewdo/writings/Temporal-Planning-and-Inferencing-for-Personal-Task-Management-with-SPSE2.pdf

Although the data was lost, there is a substantial amount of projects of the data (i.e. metadata) such as file listings, software names, and so on. Also earlier versions exist. So a lot of it can be reconstructed. Also the disk containing the data could still be recovered. But the code which fetches and manipulates the data is in tact. I am going to make a push to release it in a little bit on git hub. I don't think there's anything particularly special about the code, except that it tries to solve certain problems that I do not see an existing solution for, such as iterating over SourceForge and GitHub and packaging them, things like that. A lot is not done, but there are substantial components. By making APIs available we expose the capabilities of the software, for future integration.

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