This grand concept of a universal knowledge calculus made my computational senses tingle. Is this not what GOFAI aims at? Particularly in efforts like the Cyc project, the apotheosis of the dream of "knowledge representation". However, the logical formalisms of KR seem pretty crude compared to what Hesse is describing. Cyc was based on a notion of representation as formalized statements or graphs,; while the Glass Bead Game is an entry into a higher, more spiritual plane, a practice, not a body of knowledge.
I'm thinking also of Cyc, an earlier and more centralized effort to build a universal knowledge base, also seems like a failure, even though its goals and methodology were quite different than those of the Semantic Web.
"Museum Unit Editor", a visual explorer I built for the Cyc project.
02 Jul 2021 08:31 - 01 Jan 2022 07:48
A grand project to build a knowledge base of all human knowledge! Not wikipedia, but knowledge in a formalized frame system, including everything from common sense facts about objects, money, botany, human relationships, and economic activity of Indonesia. This was sort of the moonshot project of GOFAI, led by Douglas Lenat first at MCC (a big semi-governmental research lab in Austin) and later as its own company Cycorp which is still going.
I worked with the Cyc team for a couple of summers as a graduate student, but it was at a time when I was absorbing a lot of the situated action critique of AI, and the approach of Cyc was quite antithetical. But it was still a neat project! I got past my intellectual qualms by focusing on the user interface, a oft-used strategy of mine, and got a paper out of it A Visual Representation for Knowledge Structures