Tom Ramcigam (magicmarmot) wrote,
Tom Ramcigam

There is this guy who I know-- I won't call him by name since he is actually The Unnameable, but let's call him Taylor-- who considers himself to be a self-styled sort of brilliant. He has studied and has a great deal of interest in "AI", which is a pretty wide field of study; his interest is primarily in the application of AI to videogames.

Taylor has an aversion to things that he doesn't understand or agree with: he thinks they are stupid. We've had some rather public disagreements in an area of AI study where he completely discounted huge swaths of the field as being meaningless and arbitrary. We disagree on a whole lot of stuff, including how to deal with people.

I read his blog. As much as I find him a disagreeable dsort to deal with in person, he is entertaining and has a marvelous connection of his ego to his typing fingers. It's entertaining, in much the same way that I find Rush Limbaugh entertaining.

Taylor is looking at pursuing a PHD in Artificial Intelligence studies so that he can become a professor. Aside from the whole concept of that being slightly insane, I like hearing about his adventures and fear in pursuing a doctorate from people who he considers to be idiots.

Today he was writing about a paper that one of his potential professors wrote, and how it was filled with this incomprehensible language.

It is possible that this paper is understood by some people. i don't know. What i do know is that i don't even have the begining of a clue as to what this paper is about. And this paper is hardly unusual. Many, maybe even most, papers are written like this, at least in AI. i've read hundreds of papers over the last seven years and more often than not i have no idea what the paper says. Sometimes i think i understood the paper but have no idea why the author bothered to write it, which might mean that i didn't understand the paper

There are two obvious explanations for this. One is that i am not smart enough. The other is that everyone else is an idiot and no one else has bothered to mention it.

He threw in an example of this "incomprehensible language".

It's math.

No, really.

It's not high-school math, but it's certainly undergraduate engineering level math. Linear integrals and sequences.

i don't think you truly appreciate how confusing this paper is. Let me quote some of it. But only certain parts. Because much of it is written using letters and symbols that don't exist on a computer, i physically cannot quote parts of the paper.

Letters and symbols like '' and 'Ф'.

AI at the U of M is a computer science degree. I think Taylor's studies are all in psychology and his degree is in business.

Of course, if my arrogance takes over and decides that i really am smart and the reason i don't understand any of these papers is because they're all written by morons, that still leaves me with a problem. These other people, the ones who speak that weird language i haven't begun to understand, they're the ones who are going to teach me, give me problems to work on, grade my tests and decide whether i get a degree. So it doesn't matter if they're stupid or geniuses. What matters is whether we can communicate. And there's a good chance we can't

I suspect that he may end up having some difficulty.

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