See available Synthors at: https://apps.microsoft.com/store/search?hl=en-us&gl=US&publisher=Tataha%20Kim
A Synthor can present ideas or ‘thoughts’ of an author in response to statements, questions or comments from persons interacting with it.
A book is a collection of sentences that need to be read in sequence. This, indeed, is the main reason why people who are short of time, or with a deficit of attention, cannot read books, even if they want to. The company of a person who has read a book can partially compensate for someone who has not read the book. Reading a few lines at random from a book cannot be a replacement for the company of someone who has read the entire book. Similarly, looking up keywords from the index of a book will not provide a replacement. What then is the difference between the company of a person who has read a book as against other mechanical means of finding a relevant portion of a book?
The answer to this question lies in the stochastic nature of human thinking. The response of a human being to a statement, question or comment is constructed out of a ‘cloud’ of possible responses, the construction being dependent on prior knowledge, memory, recall andmood, among many other psychological or physical factors. As a result, the response to the same verbal stimulus may be different at different times. This variety is what attracts people to each other instead of to a mechanical algorithm that always produces the same response to a particular stimulus.
If conversation with a Synthor is to have even a semblance of the usefulness of a conversation with a person, its design must incorporate uncertainty. Here, we define a mind as a collection of thoughts, each thought being represented as one or more sentences. This definition is a purely functional one for the purpose of creating a Synthor and does not, necessarily, have any connection with what an actual mind is –if there is something called an ‘actual mind’.
Each sentence in the cloud of sentences that constitute a Synthor’s mind has an equal probability of becoming a response to a stimulus such as a statement, a comment or a question. However, context, keywords, and appropriateness (mood) determine the sentence, or sentences, that will be actually selected for response. In other words the probability of sentences appearing as a response are adjusted until a sentence or set of sentences ‘collapse’ into an actual response. This is analogous to the way the state of a fundamental particle in nature is revealed as the probabilities of many possible states collapse into one particular state in response to a measurement.
A Synthor consists of methods for determining the probable context for a conversation, extracting keywords that represent this context, then adjusting the probability of selection using a ‘mood’ that will represent the appropriateness of a response, and, finally, presenting the most probable response from a final list of high probability responses. In addition, each step in this selection process can be altered by the probability of forgetting to adjust a value. A Synthor with a mind consisting of the contents of just one book would respond as a whimsical but knowledgeable reader of that book.
I have created several Synthors and they are mostly available from the Microsoft Store because they work on the Windows platform. The Synthors available at this time (2022) are based on:
1. The Rig Ved - The oldest text ever composed and transmitted down the ages orally, until they were written down around 1500 BCE. This Synthor responds in English but can also show you the original Sanskrit text and even chant it for you.
2. The Upanishads - These are extracts from the Vedas and are among the oldest codes of conduct for a billion people. Only, no one reads them and just go by what other people have told them about these ancient texts. This Synthor will show the relevant text in English and also the original text in Sanskrit.
3. The Bible - Our world is shaped by the Bible and the values advocated in it. But few read it in its entirety and even fewer remember its contents. This Synthor makes the Bible come alive like a person who quotes back at your questions or comments.
4. The Origin of Species - Among the most influential books of all time, Darwin's work is known to everybody but read by very few. Text chat with Darwin!
5. The Interpretation of Dreams - Our view of our selves and our minds is shaped by this work by Sigmund Freud. You can ask Freud questions and the Synthor will respond.
6. Critique of Pure Reason - Immanuel Kant's powerful philosophy enables us to balance reason with our senses and subjectivity. But Kant's prose is complex and you are unlikely to read the whole book. This Synthor can reduce that problem by bringing Kant to life to comment on what you say to it.
7. The Republic - Plato's timeless classic about Justice, Society and the State. The powerful dialogs of Socrates from all those thousands of years ago can be the most thought provoking you have ever encountered. This Synthor will text back at you witn the powerful arguments of those times.
8. The Geeta Synthor - This Synthor is based on the Bhagavad Geeta, that shapes the minds of billions of people, particularly from India. The timeless values described in the Geeta make it one of the most influential books of all time. This Synthor will enable you to interact with the Geeta in English and in Sanskrit, as well as listen to the Sanskrit verses. It makes the Geeta immensely useable for daily life. You can access the Geeta's message for yourself, without complex commentaries from other people.
9. The Buddha Synthor - This Synthor is based on the Dhammapada, the sayings of The Buddha, as recorded by his disciples around 500BCE. These words have shaped the lives and thinking of people for millennia. The Buddha's search for the causes of pain led to his subsequent realisation (Nirvana) through some remarkable experiments with psyphophysics. The Synthor shows you those words without any learned commentaries . You can also view the original Pali text to get a flavour of the language of those times.
10. The Quran Synthor - This Synthor is based on the Quran. This is one of the most powerful books ever written. What does it really say? Talk to the Synthor and find out for yourself. You can access the original Arabic text also.
11. Confucius Synthor - This Synthor is based on the Analects of Confucius. You can text chat with The Master himself! You can also find the original Chinese text....
12. Marx Synthor - This Synthor is based on Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto, two of the most influential books of all time. It is an experience to have Karl Marx respond to questions!
I will add more Synthors when I can. If you are a teacher of RE or Philosophy, or just someone intereseted in these subjects, you might try these Synthors. Imagine asking Kant, Freud and the Bible about creation and reality!
To download Synthors, go to the Microsoft Store and search the word "Synthor". Good luck.