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Saturday, February 05, 2005

A.I., de novo

Attended an interesting lecture yesterday by Prof. Selmer Bringsjord called 'How to Build Smart Machines: Relax "Smart," or Pray' at RPI. While I am extremely skeptical of Prof. Bringsjord's logic-based approach to AI (mainly because I come from the opposing camp..:) ), he had some very valid points to make. Any debate on AI cannot go on without connecting to a zillion other issues -- and this was evident from the Q & A session that followed. In the end it boils down to what we define as consciousness, intelligence, and so on....

A summary of some of the topics that were raised:

> Prof. Bringsjord does not subscribe to the "emergent" idea of AI, because for him it is a leap of faith that does not hold much substance. While he does not deny that this has proved useful, it is only been so for the depth of the problem that has been defined. (E.g. Rodney Brooks's robots)

> The subjectivity of terms like intelligence, emotion, etc. E.g. is intelligence an "attribute" or a "commodity"? (Thanks, Leon!) A person may be extremely intelligent, but perceived as not so, because of the presence or the lack of some other traits, or maybe by certain behavior, or inability to perform other tasks well. This goes for vice versa too....A clever robot can fake all this, and trick an observer into thinking that it is actually experiencing emotions by reacting in certain ways -- but is it really experiencing them?

We could debate forever on these issues ....more later!



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