𝌎Naked Lisp Token

A naked LISP token is synecdoche coined by Eliezer Yudkowsky that means a symbol which does not contain the machinery of its meaning in its representation, and thus whose meaning requires an interpreter to be resolved. Words in both natural and programming languages are examples of naked LISP tokens.

quotes about naked LISP tokens


And of course there’s nothing inside the HAPPINESS node; it’s just a naked LISP token with a suggestive English name.

So, McDermott says, “A good test for the disciplined programmer is to try using gensyms in key places and see if he still admires his system. For example, if STATE-OF-MIND is renamed G1073. . .” then we would have IS-A(HAPPINESS, G1073) “which looks much more dubious.”

Or as I would slightly rephrase the idea: If you substituted randomized symbols for all the suggestive English names, you would be completely unable to figure out what G1071(G1072, G1073) meant. Was the AI program meant to represent hamburgers? Apples? Happiness? Who knows? If you delete the suggestive English names, they don’t grow back.

— Eliezer Yudkowsky, Truly Part of You