What it takes to 'spark' a forum

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Human-Machine Assimilation : One Thread

A new forum takes a long time to become established, and may never root in. Ed Yourdon had to jumpstart y2k board by repeated self-postings, and that was with the backup of his own website and books.

In the case of this 'forum', I think it will be a long time before it hits any kind of critical mass. The issues here are:

  1. Immediacy: In this realm (human-machine assimilation), there is not much 'breaking news' the kind of thing that people feel personal urgency about. The news happens by silent, small increments each day, not unlike a true Darwinian process
  2. Background/tech knowledge: a lot of knowledge is required to make sense of most of the subareas in HMA studies. Actually, a lot of background knowledge should be required for almost anything, look at the other boards, in the "Poe" board are the participants professors of literature ? No, they are not, but people probably feel the Poe's writings are more accessible than most of what's involved in HMA, where terms like neural nets, genetic algorithms, etc. predominate. In the case of y2k, people probably should have had more tech background before sounding off, but again a "date problem" probably felt psychologically comfortable to most people, something they could partially relate to.
  3. Moral certainty (lack thereof): with many issues, people can take a clear stand. For example, in y2k, one could be clearly a "polly" or clearly a "doomer" (of varying intensity of course). But in HMA, most of us are befuddled. We might feel vaguely uncomfortable with the concept of impending HMA, but then we reflect that we are already highly dependent on technology anyway, what's a little assimilation between friends.... A moral muddle doesn't strike any sparks. And no passion = no posts!
Therefore, I think it will be some long time, and maybe never, for this forum to take fire. But popularity isn't my purpose in maintaining this. I just want a place where I can occasionally 'archive' interesting material in one public spot.

-- Scott (hma5_5@hotmail.com), January 31, 2000


http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/default.stm Saturday, 29 January, 2000, 09:54 GMT

This link addresses human rage against machine. The TB2000 forum is now posting on another downed plane. Now just suppose for the sake of argument, AI experiences rage too. If that were true, it will require more thought to deal with this problem than has been put into it to date, as well as restructuring conventional perception of machine intelligence. As a good friend told me this evening, "it's there and it's p***ed!!". I'll pass on travel for a while. Those navigational systems seem to be taking a real hit.By the way, I downloaded SETI a while ago and started thinking about what was going on. When our AI systems receive radio/electromagnetic feed, how do we know they don't incorporate that data as an integral part of themselves as well as in terms of program parameters? Like Windows rewriting INI files when an upgrade (or SETI installation) is done? In human terms, internalize those values...and if it's data from way, way out there, we really wouldn't know what it was saying-but AI might. Hah!!!Shades of the Tulane Student Union circa 1967.

-- mike in houston (mmorris67@aol.com), January 31, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ