Lecture by Professor Hubert Dreyfus Presented at UH 1/27/98

Why Symbolic AI Failed: The Commonsense Knowledge Problem

Turing predicted that there would be a machine that would behave intelligently enough to be indistinguishable from a human by the year 2000. Given the state of things today, it is highly unlikely that the prediction will be met.

II. But problems began to surface...

III. The reaction of the AI community to problems of these kinds is to investigate micro-worlds, i.e. areas where the solution does not depend on common sense knowledge.

IV. The history of philosphy has explored exactly the same issues and presuppositions.

V. We need a new look. It may seem that beginners begin with cases and work up to general principles. But couldn't it be the other way around? Perhaps we start with crude rules and then learn to apply these intelligently to cases. Let us consider the examples of chess and driving. Here is a sequence of stages that are revealed by actually looking are expertise in the real world.

VI. Suppose this 1-5 stage account is right. Then we have an explanation for why symbolic AI failed.