AIML: Artificial Intelligence Marketing Language

Stanislaw Lem writes wonderful satirical introductions and reviews of imaginary books in his real book Imaginary Magnitude. Here's an actual review of a fictional introduction of an imaginary book that I'd really love to read, A History of Bitic Literature:

Un Valor Imaginario (Imaginary Magnitude) by Stanislaw Lem

The introduction to A History of Bitic Literature brims over with startling ideas. The work introduced is a multi-volume survey of literature written by artificial intelligences, such as an extrapolated work of Dostoevsky's that Dostoevsky never dared to write himself, revolutionary books on physics (in this case the content is, I am afraid, rather less shocking than Lem intended it to be--I've read weirder things in orthodox textbooks--the last chapter of Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler's Gravitation comes to mind), and a mathematical work revealing that "the concept of a natural number is internally contradictory." Mentioned in passing is a procedure that can transform great philosophical systems into graphical representations that ultimately end up sold as mass-produced knickknacks.

Here's is an actual review of Lem's real book, A Perfect Vacuum, which fictionally reviews the imaginary book, Non Serviam:

Vacio Perfecto (A Perfect Vacuum) by Stanislaw Lem

The best two pieces, though, are the last, "Non Serviam", and "The New Cosmogony". "Non Serviam" was reprinted in Hofstadter and Dennett's book "The Mind's I". It is supposed to be a paper by a researcher into "personetics", the science of creating artificial personalities inside worlds inside the computer. The researcher has absolute power over his creations; he can bring them into existence, destroy them, and change their world at will. He is to these creatures as God would be to us. His main interest in them, therefore, is having them argue theology. Most of the paper is a debate among the personoids on what should be their proper attitude towards their creator. Their conclusion: "we shall not serve".

Stanislaw Lem inspired me to write some parodies of web pages promoting XML applications that didn't exist at the time. But now they actually do exist, by one definition or another: AIML and BSML!

At the time, I was just making fun of VRML, and the people who push and hype useless standards for questionable political reasons instead of practical technical reasons. But as I read through the contraversy surrounding RSS, RDF, Atom and other syndication formats, somehow I'm reminded of AIML and BSML...

AIML: Artificial Intelligence Marketing Language

Many people are extremely excited about AIML. But what is it, and how can you use it to spruce up your home page? AIML encapsulates the semantics of revolutionary AI research, much in the same way VRML trivializes the implementation of cutting edge VR research.

Instead of fanning the hype, this article will explain AIML for the common person, so that you too can take part in the coming industry revolution. Everywhere you look, there are attention-grabbing articles written by johnny-come-lately main stream journalists, telling you nothing more than you can learn by reading product releases on the web. But this article is different, because it will tell you everything you need to know, in order to get started surfing the popular AIML web sites, interactively participating in the online community by using sophisticated "forms" and "CGI Scripts" to influence the future of cyberspace by voting on important issues like standard file formats and file name extensions!

Support for AIML

(from "ArtificialPostModernIntelligenceInterActivity", V2 #4 April 1996, p. 20)

You can almost see the bulges protruding as the World Wide Web, already stretched to the limit by an expanding base of users, imaginative developers, and shrewd marketing executives, begins to bust out in AI. Thanks to strategic alliances among numerous movers and shakers in the intelligence community, software is proliferating that promises to make the Internet a truly artificial experience. In the short run (at least), the keys to AI on the Web seem to be support for AI Labratories' new AIML (Artificial Intelligence Marketing Language) file format, backward compatibility with HTML, ease of use, and compatibility with Windows.

AI Labratories itself is giving the technology a push with the first standalone AIML evaluator, HeadView ($49) for Windows or Mac. A pre-release Windows version is available for download as we go to press, as an add-on to Netscape Navigator; when Navigator encounters an AIML environment, it automatically calls HeadView and exchanges knowledge with it seamlessly. (Once you've installed HeadView, check out the first AIML site on the Web, Sony Pictures' promotion for the film Thought Train at http://www.thoughttrain.com/home/ttrain.)

AI Labratories has entered into alliances with the likes of Microsoft, Apple, Intel, Creative Labs, NewTek, and Caligari to foster acceptance of the format. One of their partners, SexPression, offers the first AIML authoring program, Virtual Head Space Builder (VHSB) 1.0 Academic Edition ($495) for Windows. SexPression offers the final beta version for $49 and a paradigm-limited final beta via their Web site free of charge.

Designed to accommodate nonprogrammers, VHSB creates AI Web sites, or "head spaces", that can be saved as AIML files or in SexPression's proprietary FASL file format. In addition to realtime interactive Artificial Intelligence, sites can include text, audio (WAV and RealAudio), MIDI, video, animation (AVI and FLI), cubes, spheres, pyramids, conic sections, and checkerboards -- in fact, SexPression suggests that VHSB makes a good expert system authoring tool as well. Any part of a knowledge base environment can act as a URL link, and evaluatable function modules can be associated. Head spaces can be opinionated with moods, including recurring and unpredictable swings, and with transparent prejudices. The software comes bundled with hundreds of clip-opinions, goals, interests, paridigms, taxonomies, ontologies, excuse templates, animal guessing trees, todo lists, top ten lists, hot lists, and shit lists; and custom content can be imported easily. A Virtual Head Space Evaluator is included.

Another step towards ubiquity of AIML-enabled AI worlds on the Web is HeadServer ($249) from HeadMaster. Running under Windows NT, HeadMaster automatically converts BSML sites into AIML spaces, vastly simplifying the content and creation of AI web sites. The program provides control over spinning and weaving of knowledge, and it ships with preconfigured head spaces, called "cultures", including Medieval Feudalism, Victorian Sexual Repression, and Space Opera. The resulting head spaces can be experienced using any AIML browser while the original BSML pages remain available to BSML-compatible browsers. Furthermore, the AIML environment is updated automatically when changes are made in associated BSML pages.

AIML for Lisp Programmers

Lisp is perceived as a homosexual programming language, so we've cleaned up its act so it's more acceptable for heterosexuals, added "family values" as a fundamental data type, and made it syntactically compatible with HTML.

The "read, eval, print" loop has been replaced by a "read, eval, click" loop, to support user interaction via browser navigation. CLOS is has been replaced by EDEN, which lets you use genetic algorythms to breed new artificial life forms from the built-in fundamental Male and Female parent classes.