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Features for the Future - AI Thinking in Small Basic RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • AI Thinking is happening more and more especially in Politics and Cognative Science.
    But... "computers are dumb" and just do the same thing over and over on static data (iterative loops).
    and... teachers, who even have full Logo available, sometimes have difficulty with AI modeling
    and...new "basic" programmers comfortable with List Data Structures and Simple Recursion are unusual.

    So, since we have a chance to design an early Computer Science tool.
    ...could a very simple list object be available in Small Basic (with First and ButFirst at least)
    ...can program modules be available (as in the MIT Scratch Program)
    ...can a program ever execute subprograms that the program itself has created (symbol manipulation) as is available in Lisp and Logo

    We need to keep thinking about (1) our thinking (assumptions) and (2) the tools we use to think with. Small basic design is an incredible opportunity to start up the best possible features to help our thinking in the future.


    Saturday, January 2, 2010 10:42 PM

All replies

  • I think AI (artificial intelligence) and the programming/thinking is somewhat different to the objectives of SmallBasic(SB).  Just as OO (object orientated) programming requires a different mindset.

    SmallBasic is a simple and intuitive entry to 'real' programming using variables, events, subroutines, arrays, loops and conditionals (ifs).  These are the basic concepts that need to be mastered first.

    Like many of may age I started playing in the 80s with a Sinclair Spectrum - basic as it was, there was fun to be had leaning how to get it to do something interesting.  I like the idea that MS is interested in encouraging more people to take an interest in 'how it works' as well as just selling an OS.

    The beauty of SB is the small command set and the simple interface - while simple it has significant power to write quite complex programs if they are well designed - conversely there are performance penalties if the code is not well designed (this is a good thing! if not intentional).

    To me this is the key - teaching good design - by providing a nice environment where we can learn by mistakes and 'having a go', extending, reworking, modifying quickly and seeing the results.

    Any limitations with structure, performance and logical constraints with a language like SB are not an issue for me - they point the way to other opportunities - move on and choose the language that offers the best environment for what you want to do.  I don't miss my Spectrum, but I had a lot of fun with it.
    Friday, January 8, 2010 10:34 PM
    Moderator