Archemind: Intelligent Artifice.

Archemind Intelligent Artifice (AIA) is a semantic knowledge management platform consisting in proprietary specifications for user interface through schematic database. While the Archemind-hosted Mind Modeler and Ontographer draw upon a general-purpose lexicon, AIA can be selectively adapted to specialized KM applications such as expert systems, domain ontology, and semantic metadata mining. went live on April Fools Day, 2011; version 2.0 goes live on Halloween, 2012. The AIA platform will be made available in 2013 for enterprise and institutional customization; interested developers should contact us to be kept apprised. Development at Archemind is driven by the principles and practices of computational, cognitive, and historical linguistics. Our primary research consists in the recursive measurement of lexical-semantic associativity across distributed user bases; our secondary research consists in the parsing and correlation of interdisciplinary research efforts in the cognitive sciences.

coming soon—to a Library of Babel near you

Slated for development in 2013, Mind Modeler Multilingua will allow users to correlate concepts in multiple Indo-European tongues (British and American English, French, German, Italian, Spanish) both individually and as a (re-)collection. Language professionals interested in beta testing present and future should see here.

coming soon—to an iProd near you is fully compatible with Macintosh and PC computers running Firefox, IE, Chrome, and Safari. The member forum and The Model Mind e-book are compatible with iOS and Android, complete with dynamic page scaling for landscape and portrait display modes. Our Mind Modeler, having been arduously architected over an extensive timespan by ingenious engineers to best exploit the once-upon-a-standard Adobe-née-Macromedia Flash Player, will not run on iOS devices to date. Rather than add our voice to the disgruntled cris de coeur for heads on platters, we cry en choeur and head for platitudes: once HTML5 ‘standardization’ permits, we tireless legion of developers shall in good time relaunch cross-compiled versions of various tools for platforms large and small, high and low, old and new. And they all lived happily ever after.

Intelligent Artifice ≠ Artificial Intelligence

As any computer-history buff will tell you, the term “Artificial Intelligence” was coined by John McCarthy of Dartmouth College at the seminal 1956 conference on computation that attracted such high-tech luminaries as Marvin Minsky (inventor of connectionist neural nets) and Claude Shannon (founder of information theory). Although we hammered the AIA platform together in the same neck of the woods, our association with Dartmouth is null but for the geodetic datum.

With “AI” having long since captured the public imagination, this unfortunate misnomer now encompasses a diverse array of technologies—from the virtuality of computational linguistics to the actuality of situated robotics. While few today would subscribe in principle to the precocious Proposal of 1956, we would do well to revoke more particular purports—e.g., that “Every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it.” Why? While the empirical and formal grounds for revoking the terms on which “AI” was founded are many and varied, we can sum them in brief if baroque terms:

Vox Dementis Contra Alis

The physiological grounds for revocation were neatly circumscribed by neuro-philosopher Paul Churchland (in a 2008 conversation with meme-enthusiast Susan Blackmore): “We know that brains are non-linear dynamical systems. These are systems that are governed by continuum mathematics, and their behavior is exquisitely sensitive to infinitesimally small differences, such that two brains in almost exactly the same state will quickly wind off in very, very different states. This means that the brain of a human, or even a mouse, is a system whose behavior is unpredictable by any machine constructible in this universe. We are importantly unpredictable save for general tendencies and patterns.”

The psycholinguistic grounds for revocation were presaged in 1955 by Jacques Lacan, who aimed not to encompass “every aspect [and] feature of intelligence” but to circumscribe symbolic operations in particular by way of a reciprocal analogy: The self-referential structure of human speech struck Lacan as a repetitious chain of signifiers that can “sustain itself only in a displacement comparable to that found in electronic news strips or in the rotating memories of our machines-that-think-like-men, because of the alternating operation which as its principle requires it to leave its place only to return to it by a circular path.”

And around we go. Short-circuiting Churchland to Lacan, we might then reframe the AI problem in terms of post-cognitivist theory or of technological practice. In the first case, should we draw on dynamical systems theory to define “organic intelligence” in physiological terms of non-decomposable, n-dimensional continua, we would still confront an empirically inimitable field of incommensurable variables. In the second case, should we draw on axiomatic set theory to define “natural language” in metapsychological terms of repetition-automatism, we stand to compose a properly constrained array of formally invariant combinatorial ranges. Which means what?

the shortcut between two nodes is a straightedge

Put into process, your Netflix and Amazon recommendations, for example, comprise less a sublime window to your soul than an algorithmic form of simulated aesthetics (or if you like, “artificial stupidity”). While AIA shares historical roots and branches with computational technologies in general, our tools and texts present a more transparent view on these shared structures than, say, Google Earth, which represents opaque surface features at various scales. By virtue of Modern-era advancements in graph, order, and model theory (etc.), most schoolchildren will recognize certain tree, set, and Venn diagrams (if not comprehend their application), most academics will be familiar with certain Hasse diagrams (same), and most web-surfers are versed in the panoply of static and force-directed lattice and cluster maps used to visualize social (if not semantic) networks.

On one hand, democratization of information follows the increase of visual sophistication, or to borrow Edward Tufte’s wry neologism, of “graphicacy.” On the other hand, our periodic enthusiasms for information design—in particular, schematics for combinatorial data permutation—are often matched by the hysterical abreactions of an entitled peasantry. While few Moderns reckon a pie chart be the work of the devil, technical diagrams remain shrouded in mystery sufficient to rile the inner witch-hunter of many otherwise rational adults. While we gladly invite rigorous critique on informed grounds, we are unmoved by pitchfork and torch. On this point, we shall do everything in our (resolutely non-supernatural) powers to remedy the perennial plague of iggraphicacy.

our Faustian ploy to seat homunculi in the evacuated place of innocent souls in order to amass an army of neuro-nihilist automatons in thrall to Mephistopheles

We are singularly indebted to the work of Giordano Bruno, through Bruno to the work of Nicolas Cusanus, and through Bruno and Cusanus to the work of Ramon Lull. Lull’s work will be familiar to historians of mathematics and computation by virtue of his Ars Combinatoria having proven crucial to the development(s) of The Calculus by Gottfried Leibniz and Isaac Newton, the near-simultaneity of which was non-coincidental. Cusanus will be familiar for his formulations of Galilean relativity avant Galileo and Condorcet electioneering avant Condorcet. Bruno will be familiar for having been burnt at the stake by Papal enforcers, the lingering smell of which moved Galileo to repent, recant, and revoke the inauguration of Modern Science for which he is nonetheless celebrated today. Harrumph.

The support materials on plumb the historical implications, explications, and complications of information technology to depth—from the re-invented wheel to the wrong-ended telescope and beyond. For the casually interested, we are composing a user-friendly e-book, The Model Mind, from which you may discern our method, if not our madness; for the critically inclined, we have composed an essay, Ontography in a Nutshell, from which you may discern our motive, if not our maxim. Being technologists, not historians, we defer as needed to the heavier hammers and the sharper quills—a rhetorical maneuver particularly suited to assessing the impact of premodern polymaths, be they unorthodox (Lull), ecumenical (Cusanus), or heretical (Bruno). For example, Wolfgang Wildgen (Universität Bremen) offered an adroit assessment in 2008: “Historically, we may say that Bruno’s parallel work on cosmology and artificial memory [formed] a new model of semantic fields which was so radical in its time that the first modern followers (although ignorant of this tradition) are the Von-Neumann automata and neural net systems.”

Curriculum Vitae? ur-IT vacuum relic

We may not look like the all-American “mom-and-pop” shop, but rest assured that Archemind is 100% family-owned and operated. What we lack in small-town charm, we make up for in independence: we are neither funded by nor otherwise beholden to any academic institution, religious denomination, fraternal order, governmental body, defense subcontractor, or corporate charter. As such, should you see fit to join our humble community of semiophiles, your twenty bucks (clams, smackers, spondulicks, etc.) will help maintain the public availability and ongoing development of AIA tools for education and analysis. Moreover, your twenty quid (note, nicker, macaroni, etc.) will contribute to ‘war efforts’ neither directly (by earmarking) nor indirectly (by reallocation). Unless you’re acquainted with the monetary motives driving technology development by the best and brightest at the fittest and finest American institutions, this caveat may strike you as odd. “So it goes.”

While our own surveys may strike you as academic augury, they are drawn from a well less auspicious than specular. Prior to founding Archemind, Ian Thorne spent twenty-odd years toiling in the private-sector meta-media salt-mine as a producer/director/writer/photographer/designer/editor/animator—of advertising, in large part, for television and cinema. Guilty as charged. Career highlights included the creation of international marketing campaigns and integrated branding initiatives for many of the fine products and services you know and love—in particular, of the Fortune-500 companies based in and around Atlanta, GA and Denver, CO. Thorne now splits his time between NYC, Vermont, and Elsewhere; his non-commercial works can be sampled at . . .

© 2008-2012 Ian C Thorne. all rights reserved. about credits privacy contact share