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Christophobic Artificial Intelligence


Daniel Offutt



(Posted 03/1/10 CYC is a computer "knowledge base" in an artificial "knowledge-representation language" called CYCL. CYC comes from the word "enCYClopedia". The original idea of CYC was to encode a single-volume English desk encyclopedia into a language of symbolic logic so that the semantic content or meaning could be more easily manipulated by computers. By "manipulated" I mean to include things like making logical deductions from premises in a manner analogous to the third operation of the intellect studied at least up until the 1960s by every Catholic seminarian in his foundation in scholastic/Thomistic/Aristotelian logic.

On the order of 1,000 man-years (i.e., the unit measuring the work of one person in a year, based on a standard number of man-days) has been invested in the development of the CYC knowledge base. The original estimate in 1986 by Mr. Douglas Lenat, was that 350 man-years would be required. A consortium of corporations contributed financially. And now, 24 years later, researchers are still working on adding knowledge to the CYC knowledge base. A more-recent account of the effort already expended is 700 man-years.

CYC has been linked to Wikipedia in a project called "DB-pedia". Moreover, the elements of the CYC knowledge base have been connected or integrated with the development of the so-called "Semantic Web".

So what does this have to do with us, God and His Church?

As with any one-volume desk encyclopedia, a portion of the CYC knowledge base concerns Roman Catholicism, and aspects of other religions. Such knowledge bases may contain errors. So there is potential for error in the CYC knowledge base, in DB-pedia, and in other such knowledge bases. For example, if you look-up "Jesus of Nazareth" in the CYC knowledge base, you will find good information, inaccuracies and even blasphemies concerning Our Lord (for example, Our Lord, described as and a "clairvoyant") all mixed togetheróbut no mention of the fact of His divinity. Not surprising since the entries in the knowledge-base may not have been made by a Catholic let along a competent Catholic theologian. Nevertheless, there is now a very real potential for the propagation of global error and blasphemy against Our Lord or Our Lady through artificial logical knowledge-representation (artificial-intelligence) language.

For example take a look at the DB-pedia web page here about the Mother of God:
The web page at the link just above contains quite a lot of claims about Our Lady in human-readable form not necessarily from a Catholic perspective, but rather from a religiously indifferentist perspective.

Stepping aside from the Catholic-bashing and/or erroneous information issue, the CYC knowledge-base also contains a Terrorism Knowledge Base under development, as the Wikipedia article on CYC states:

"The comprehensive Terrorism Knowledge Base is an application of cyc in development that will try to ultimately contain all relevant knowledge about terrorist groups, their members, leaders, ideology, founders, sponsors, affiliations, facilities, locations, finances, capabilities, intentions, behaviors, tactics, and full descriptions of specific terrorist events. The knowledge is stored as statements in mathematical logic, suitable for computer understanding and reasoning.[8]"

I found two references to Catholicism as a terrorist organization at a CYC-related web page:

("OpenCYC" is the title for the freely-downloadable, open-software version of CYC.)
If you go to this web page, and type in the word "Catholic" in the text box under the phrase, "Searching for OpenCyc Content", a list of nine concepts stored in the OpenCyc knowledge base is then displayed and the seventh and eighth concepts displayed on the list have these titles:

"Catholicism terrorist organization [Catholicism group]"

"Catholicism terrorist"

There are four associated URL links from these two highly offensive and anti-Catholic knowledge-base entries. All four are disconnected links, so we cannot see what else the man or men who first typed in these offensive characterizations of Catholicism as "terrorist" may have claimed.

So perhaps this suggests that whoever is developing the comprehensive terrorism knowledge base (some agency or agencies of the U.S. government?) has been putting data into that knowledge base claiming that Catholics of one sort or another are terrorists.

Of course this would be the ultimate hate crime against a segment of society, based on religionóthe Catholic religion.  

The facts are these: Catholic Church teaches that we, as Catholics, are not even to become involved in sedition; that one sufficient condition for a war to be unjust is that there is no hope of victory; and that in ancient times, Christians would cooperate with the government peacefully and obediently, but would refuse to cooperate in sin if commanded by the government to sin, even going off joyfully to their executions as a result. Hardly the basis for terrorism!

In the Ukraine, even Mr. Josep Tyrelia did not do any violence, but would do things like kneel down and pray out loud in front of his Communist interrogators. He let the Blessed Virgin defend him, not unlike St. Maximilian Kolbe, Cardinal Mindszenty, Cardinal Kung, etc.

Still, such Catholic bashing is not a simple thing to undo. Perhaps, if we do what we can to expose the fact that reference is made to Catholic "terrorism" in OPENCYC (the free version of CYC), all such references will quickly be withdrawn from public view on all CYC-related websites, but then the data on Catholic "terrorists" will be carefully hidden after that. So if someone wishes to make a case against those who contributed these errors and blasphemies to the CYC knowledge base, and wanted the evidence to remain in place until the right moment, we may want to wait.

Global Ramifications

One might say that blasphemies against Our Lord and Our Lady, and other anti-Catholic errors abound in all manner of anti-Catholic publications in a wide variety of natural languages such as English, French, German, etc. So why is there special reason for alarm when some computer scientists who want to create an "artificial intelligence" (a man-made "mind") may write anti-Catholic blasphemies and errors into an artificial knowledge-representation language such as a language of symbolic logic?

Perhaps the most important reason to pay attention is the very low cost with which a knowledge-base containing such anti-Catholic errors can be duplicated and distributed in large numbers. Consider how many copies of Microsoft Windows exist in the world. Because of the potential utility of the true knowledge inside of the CYC knowledge base to the common man, the CYC knowledge base could end up inside of almost every cell phone, PC and video-game device five or ten years from now. We cannot let blasphemies and anti-Catholic errors be copied into a large proportion of the electronic devices in the world.

A few days ago, I finished downloading a copy of OPENCYC onto my laptop computer. The compressed file that I downloaded was about 220 megabytes, which is to say about 220 million characters, about the equivalent of the number of letters in 500 books. OPENCYC took about 90 minutes to download. After decompressing this file, it occupies 775 megabytes of space, about the equivalent of the number of letters in 1,500 books. I believe this is on the order of what a single audio CD will store. OPENCYC, then, will fit easily on a cell phone possessing 1GB (1 gigabyte) of memory, since 1 gigabyte is 1,000 megabytes, as compared to the 775 megabyte CYC knowledge base, that is, 77.5% of the storage space on a 1GB storage device. I have next to me a small 4GB USB storage device for which I paid a mere $13. Here is what the Wikipedia article on CYC claims is contained within these 775 megabytes:

The latest version of OpenCyc, 2.0, was released in July 2009. OpenCyc 1.0 includes the entire Cyc ontology containing hundreds of thousands of terms, along with millions of assertions relating the terms to each other, however these are mainly taxonomic assertions, not the complex rules available in Cyc. The knowledge base contains 47,000 concepts and 306,000 facts and can be browsed on the OpenCyc website.

CYC contains millions of assertions in a language of symbolic logic, each assertion being the equivalent of some corresponding declarative sentence that could be written in English. These assertions, expressed in the artificial language "CYCL" rather than English, can be true or false. Ideally, all of the assertions would be true. But human error causes some of them to be false. And anti-Catholicism and/or ignorance of Roman Catholicism, harbored in the hearts and minds of those manually composing these assertions may lead to anti-Catholic errors spreading, again, in a large percentage of the electronic devices throughout the world, including web servers. We can expect websites of all different kinds, including non-Catholic/anti-Catholic religious websites, to employ the CYC knowledge base towards evil ends such as support for anti-Catholic apologetics software.

On the other hand, the knowledge base could be used in defense of Roman Catholicism, insofar as it contains true assertions on the relevant subjects (theology, philosophy, history, the Church hierarchy, Latin, the Bible, Patristics, Doctors, saints, etc.). For good or evil, such knowledge bases are different from static books and documents because computer programs can simulate the third operation of the intellect, drawing conclusions from premises (two or more of the millions of assertions which make up the CYC knowledge base).

For example, general inference rules embodying syllogistic reasoning could be applied to (1) CYC assertions representing general principles of ISLAM and (2) specific data collected from an 8-year-old Muslim boy's interaction with tutorial software that is designed to interactively brainwash the child. Or the same kind of thing could be done to teach truth to an 8-year-old Catholic boy.

It becomes easy to see why someone should oppose existing errors in these knowledge bases and why someone should oppose the introduction of additional errors as these knowledge bases grow.

Catholics, especially orthodox Catholic theologians, historians, philosophers, etc., should be encouraged to become the people composing and adding the assertions pertaining to Roman Catholicism to these knowledge bases. Atheistic scientists, or adherents of the 30,000+ false religions plaguing the world, who will skew and distort the truth, should be prevented from adding anything pertaining to theology, philosophy, history, etc.

Please pray.

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