The Robot Wisdom pages, a guided tour

This site has tons of text, on over 150 pages. Almost all of those pages are linked directly from this 'map' page, starting with the general interest material, and working down to the more specialized areas on James Joyce # and AI #.

Hot links: At the moment (early 1998), my liveliest pages are my daily weblogs of all the interesting reading I find around the web-- politics, gossip, humor, tech, etc. The current number covers the last few days, but there are also fortnightly archives, with lots of small images for spice, inspired in large part by Ana Voog's webcam. At the top of the current number are links to the best surfing tip ever, and a few nominations for the very best reading on the net.

Ana: My most popular page by a long shot is my fan page for Ana Voog, a courageous artist who lets her webcam broadcast her live image 24 hours a day. The 16k base page has images and links to her writings, and to a sequence of 29 images from one evening's 'show'.

Philosophy: Next-most-popular, for reasons I don't understand at all, is my 7k page of mostly obscure quotes from William Blake. NEW: Since people like the Blake quotes, I've compiled another page of quotes about art from Vladimir Nabokov.

History: My 7k account of Oscar Wilde's 1895 trial for indecent acts is next in popularity. The 38k autobiography of the original St Patrick is a surprising draw, perhaps because of its sensational elements of pirates, kidnapping, and sexual innuendo.

Wit: More obviously appealing are the 18k of haiku about Bill Bixby from a net.contest following his death. I need to re-do my hypertext version of a surreal 30-page multipath story by Kibo. There's also a tiny parable about nukes.

Anti-Math: I've recently expanded my page on my symbolic language Anti-Math into a multi-page series with many simple images, telling abstract stories in a way that some people like very much.

Love poetry: I'm also slowly posting my huge anthology of quotations about romantic love, aka Solace: a textbook of romantic psyxhology.

Net reference: A few years back I spent a long time re-sorting the hierarchy of Usenet newsgroups according to various schemes. The most interesting of these I've never posted, but this 6k index does link to a 142k sorting by US state, a 215k sorting by country of the world, a 105k sorting by historical period, and a whimsical 71k sorting by numerology. Each of these offers links not just to the group, but to various other resources like FAQs and charters.

A popular new offering along similar lines is a 23k ranking of the most popular words and phrases on the Net, as revealed by AltaVista, which I call the Elvis Index.

And I devote several megs to 200 pages that help choose color schemes for web text.

Strong opinions: My 14k annotated list of favorite authors is a good draw, along with my FAQ on Thomas Pynchon. A 7k draft about my political thinking seems to be growing in popularity.

Along with this I have an 18k ascii-art history of the world, a profile of jazz producer Hal Willner, a 6k FAQ about corporate mergers, 8k of appalling quotes from the net.villains Canter & Siegel, and the Unabomber Manifesto Made E-Z in ten 30k pieces.

I do most of my thinking-out-loud on netnews, and a selection of these thoughts are indexed from my 13k best of DejaNews page. A little autobiographical background (with some old GIFs) is supplemented by the 3k story of my journey in AI (with GIF) and 12k of my favorite newsgroups.

A failed series of four rants includes another GIF. And there's a 10k theory of ESP, and a 14k jpg image of the goddess.

Lo-tech etext: And a 37k FAQ about ascii-art, some ascii maps, a short ascii cartoon, and an 82k draft for a FAQ about etext that includes some interesting historical background.

My section on Internet culture has a 5k intro to netnews, 12k on flame theory, and 4k on heroic bozos, in addition to the previously mentioned pages for Ana Voog, favorite newsgroups, Canter & Siegel, and the etext faq.

I also have a 100k prototype best of netnews zine with ambitious ascii illustrations, a 20k outline of specs for the ideal word processor, 3k of old thoughts on the ideal newsreader, and 1k of very old thoughts on the ideal web browser.

Hypertext design

My section on hypertext design is disgracefully messy. The most uptodate page is 18k of distilled thinking about Web design, not quite replacing my old 5k overview that links to various short pages.

More specific pages include a quite popular 10k timeline of hypertext, a 6k checklist of common design errors, critiques of three sites: 6k on the Yale style manual, and 12k on a Joyce site, and 2k on Engines for Stupefaction. Also a short piece on hyperfiction.

More theoretical/technical are two pieces on integrating hypertext theory with cognitive science: a 2k intro, and a later 9k approach.


The Heavy Stuff: AI, Joyce, and Robot Wisdom

As I briefly argue on my homepage, I think the solution to social injustice will require a good computer simulation of human behavior, and that for this to work it has to be approached with a literary mindset.

A 23k critique of conventional social science explores this argument from various points of view, but the bulk of the argument is distributed thru the 'wings' for James Joyce and artificial intelligence.

James Joyce

The Joyce-wing is summarized pretty thoroughly on the 19k main page, which includes a biographical sketch and timeline, along with an ascii portrait and some tips for where to begin reading Joyce.

The 21k Ulysses page includes a detailed summary (shamelessly plagiarised from me by the Irish Times last year) and a reconstructed timeline of Bloom's life. A new 9k page details many riddles of Ulysses. And a separate 26k page covers the controversial problems of editing the text, supplemented by a 67k email thread that includes a detailed account of how one chapter of Ulysses came to print.

The summary of Finnegans Wake is much shorter, spending more of its 15k looking at the earliest stages of that book. NEW: I've added draft versions of all the early vignettes, linkd from the main FW page. The topic gets treated from many other angles, including a 19k introduction to my 2.5Mb labor of love: a 'genetic close-reading' of these early drafts, and a 31k summary of these notes and drafts, a 14k paper detailing one small part of these, a 24k technical paper on the timing of certain notes, and a 40k overview of Joycean genetics.

The connection between this research and AI is introduced in a 17k older series of posts, and a new 17k summary. A short 2k file lists many of the motifs Joyce exploited in Ulysses and his other works.

Other short pieces discuss Danis Rose's claims about "Finn's Hotel" (2k), a 5k list of Joycean vocabulary words, a 9k excerpt about the beating Joyce got at age seven, and the 38k St Patrick autobiography mentioned above.

Finally, a 17k index links to several chunks of the 100k of annotations to a single paragraph of the published Finnegans Wake (which can also be downloaded entire), and the 26k Unabridged Joycelinks page is still the most complete on the Web, though somewhat behind the times now.

Artificial Intelligence

The AI-wing, little revised in the last few years, is still one of the only places on the Web that really tries to offer a broad overview of the field, broken up into some dozen short pages (with lots of links). It starts with a slightly controversial look at the "prehistory" of AI, via various schemes for categorizing reality, including individual looks at the I Ching, the tarot, Roget's thesaurus, Mortimer Adler's Great Ideas, James Joyce's categories in Ulysses (again), and a survey of other systems.

Next come looks at the LISP programming language and AI's efforts to understand natural languages like English. A program called 'Racter' that supposedly wrote a book is exposed as a hoax, and a short look at representing words by numerical tokens is offered.

Hardware solutions like neural nets are dismissed quickly, but expert systems like Cyc are praised as a step in the right direction. An old version of Dave Whitten's 37k Cyc FAQ is hosted here, and a short piece on do-it-youself knowledge representation.

The next segment looks at the importance of stories as a way of understanding human behavior, along with Anti-Math (described above), a 41k memoir of my years doing case-based AI and Ask systems (2k), and a special explanation of my 'fractal thicket' indexing scheme. Two looks at the intersection of AI and Joyce are offered: Joyce for AI people,and AI for Joyceans.

A short look at AI in software design is followed by a longer, 12k look at robotics and simulation. This page covers games, with a 42k look at Chris Crawford's new story-engine, and a 27k look at interactive fiction design, an 18k look at IBM's chess program Deep Blue, and several hundred k of archives of a mailing list on intelligent video games.

Short pieces on AI and philosophy and a timeline round out the section.

I mentioned the short sketch of my own AI background above. My wars with academia are detailed further in a 6k post.

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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: The Robot Wisdom Pages include far more text than anyone could be expected to read online, so within the next few months we hope to offer most of it in a $20 hardcopy edition-- some two megabytes of text in a 240-page, large-size format, divided four ways between James Joyce, artificial intelligence, internet culture/ hypertext design, and miscellaneous topics. If you'd like to be informed by email when this becomes available, please send me email with the words 'hardcopy list' as the subject or in the body. [More on the hardcopy edition]