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Opinion: Time for another AI reality check?

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ManOnBlog
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re: Opinion: Time for another AI reality check?
ManOnBlog   5/5/2008 2:43:10 PM
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First a couple of comments on the comments: - Dianetics, give me a break! - "The Emperor's New Mind" please! In it Penrose proposes that we will never have AI due to some quantum secret sauce in our brains, but the problem with his thesis is that it is pure conjecture on his part. A terrific read on the history of robotics and AI by a researcher in the field is Hans Moravec's "ROBOT: mere machine to transcendent mind". True he predicts the "singularity" (robots taking over the world) will happen, but you can make of that whatever you like after you hear him out. A very informative and freewheeling discussion, I can't recommend the book highly enough.

bcarso
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re: Opinion: Time for another AI reality check?
bcarso   4/3/2008 6:57:19 PM
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It was Bar-Hillel who suggested in 1960 that machine translation would be impossible WITHOUT a "universal encyclopedia" because of the multiple meanings of words. In lieu of this some statistical approaches have had some success, but progress has been slow. Context dependence is still subtle. And this is one of the simpler problems of AI! I see a lot of AI looking like a problem of having a hammer and looking for something like a nail---failing that we bang away on wahtever's at hand. We get a bit of neurology and a bit of computer science, and marry them in however ill-suited a union---because it's all we have. Von Neumann machines were ridiculously ill-suited but that didn't stop the heady predictions. With parallel processing the fit may be little better, but we plough ahead with still little to show. Thinking about neurons has evolved from connectivity supposedly explaining everything to the exploration of activity on a finer level. But still any sense of a solution to the "hard" problem of consciousness seems just as far away as ever. I'm pretty pessimistic overall.

boy howdy
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re: Opinion: Time for another AI reality check?
boy howdy   4/3/2008 3:49:48 AM
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We certainly do have clues about how the brain works. Check out any current neuroscience book. As far as AI is concerned, a good eye opener is to check out books from the 60s that predicted that automatic language translation was impossible. Seems it isn't so impossible after all.

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