A General Problem Solver in the 21st Century
In 1957 Herbert Simon and Allen Newell built a universal problem
solving machine called the General Problem Solver
it could solve many problems, there were many it
could not solve. In this paper I propose a slightly different approach
which is not fully automatic but which could potentially solve any
The 21st century provides us with a great linking engine: the
Internet. The Internet enables anyone to link together the
the collective experience of humanity into a chain. This chain can be
used to link any problem to its solution:
For a given problem, it would be impossibly
unlikely that you are the only person who has ever faced it. It is
simply a question of creating the Internet linking chain from you,
through the combined experience of humanity, to the solution.
The only question is how to approach the linking problem in the
general case and in the most efficient manner?
Internet is really a huge knowledge-base, and as with any big database,
even if the information is out there, it may not be easy to find
it. Indexing is everying. In our world, indexes are created
dynamically via search. If you know what to look for, you can
Here's how to solve any problem:
- At first, we have 2 goals:
Think of a precise but short description of the problem. First try in
English, but beware that accurate translations into other languages
may be advantageous since it may be easier to describe a problem more
precisely in one language over another.
- solve the problem,
- or, as a second choice, find the exact technical name for our
- Use your favorite search engine on the
description. Remember, the goal at this point is to either find a
solution or find an exact technical name to put on the problem. You
may have to look over more than just the first page of search
results. Keep a very open mind and explore all responses in the
order that seems right. If you are swamped in off-subject responses,
try another description or language.
- At this point you
have found the technical terminology coresponding to your
problem. Note this and perhpaps its translations into as many
languages as you know.
- Now feed the technical name back into your search
engine. This should give you much better results than the previous
search, i.e. bring you much closer to potential solutions.
- Use the previous results to refine the search until
potential solutions appear. These should be attempted in the order
of most reversible first.
- The problem is solved.