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AI Going Nowhere?

CmdrTaco posted more than 11 years ago | from the prolog-hackers-unite dept.

Science 742

jhigh writes "Marvin Minsky, co-founder of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Labratories is displeased with the progress in the development of autonomous intelligent machines. I found this quote more than a little amusing: '"The worst fad has been these stupid little robots," said Minsky. "Graduate students are wasting 3 years of their lives soldering and repairing robots, instead of making them smart. It's really shocking."'"

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frost (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944775)

pist

AI is going wherever it wants (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944778)

It's AI! That's what it does!

Re:AI is going wherever it wants (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944891)

I wish I still had mod points for you, man.

Re:AI is going wherever it wants (2, Interesting)

Roelof (5340) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944950)

Sure, but the whole point of AI was that we were supposed to be able to ask it where it thought it was going... and that not only it would know, but would give a well thought out answer too!

Roelof

What about my AIBO? (3, Interesting)

khalua (468456) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944786)

It can pick me out in a crowd, and it can show a number of emotions, such as surprise, anger, and boredom.... yawn.

Re:What about my AIBO? (-1, Troll)

ginkelb (252008) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944839)

Please tell me,

does it yawn a lot when youre around? This could be seen as a interesting sign of how boring youre life possibly is.

A new tool for psychologist "the AIBO scale".

STFU and DRINK MY PISS, URINEBOi!!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944868)

Re:What about my AIBO? (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945001)

It can pick me out in a crowd, and it can show a number of emotions, such as surprise, anger, and boredom.... yawn.


to an extent yes it has decent pattern recognition. can it pick you out from the rear? no. side? no.

Can it simulate and fool you into thinking it is showing emotions ? yes. is it anytihng but an expensive toy? no.

the Abio is amazing, but it hardly does what people think it does. and that is the key with the abio.. it does alot of things that fool humans quite well.

it will get better, but it is hardly near AI material.

pe (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944788)

pee

Text of Article (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944794)

AI Founder Blasts Modern Research
By Mark Baard

Story location: http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,58714, 00.html

02:00 AM May. 13, 2003 PT

Will we ever make machines that are as smart as ourselves?

"AI has been brain-dead since the 1970s," said AI guru Marvin Minsky in a recent speech at Boston University. Minsky co-founded the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in 1959 with John McCarthy.

Such notions as "water is wet" and "fire is hot" have proved elusive quarry for AI researchers. Minsky accused researchers of giving up on the immense challenge of building a fully autonomous, thinking machine.

"The last 15 years have been a very exciting time for AI," said Stuart Russell, director of the Center for Intelligent Systems at the University of California at Berkeley, and co-author of an AI textbook, Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach.

Russell, who described Minsky's comments as "surprising and disappointing," said researchers who study learning, vision, robotics and reasoning have made tremendous progress.

AI systems today detect credit-card fraud by learning from earlier transactions. And computer engineers continue to refine speech recognition systems for PCs and face recognition systems for security applications.

"We're building systems that detect very subtle patterns in huge amounts of data," said Tom Mitchell, director of the Center for Automated Learning and Discovery at Carnegie Mellon University, and president of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence. "The question is, what is the best research strategy to get (us) from where we are today to an integrated, autonomous intelligent agent?"

Unfortunately, the strategies most popular among AI researchers in the 1980s have come to a dead end, Minsky said. So-called "expert systems," which emulated human expertise within tightly defined subject areas like law and medicine, could match users' queries to relevant diagnoses, papers and abstracts, yet they could not learn concepts that most children know by the time they are 3 years old.

"For each different kind of problem," said Minsky, "the construction of expert systems had to start all over again, because they didn't accumulate common-sense knowledge."

Only one researcher has committed himself to the colossal task of building a comprehensive common-sense reasoning system, according to Minsky. Douglas Lenat, through his Cyc project, has directed the line-by-line entry of more than 1 million rules into a commonsense knowledge base.

"Cyc knows that trees are usually outdoors, that once people die they stop buying things, and that glasses of liquid should be carried right-side up," reads a blurb on the Cyc website. Cyc can use its vast knowledge base to match natural language queries. A request for "pictures of strong, adventurous people" can connect with a relevant image such as a man climbing a cliff.

Even as he acknowledged some progress in AI research, Minsky lamented the state of the lab he founded more than 40 years ago.

"The worst fad has been these stupid little robots," said Minsky. "Graduate students are wasting 3 years of their lives soldering and repairing robots, instead of making them smart. It's really shocking."

"Marvin may have been leveling his criticism at me," said Rodney Brooks, director of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab, who acknowledged that much of the facility's research is robot-centered.

But Brooks, who invented the automatic vacuum cleaner Roomba, says some advancements in computer vision and other promising forms of machine intelligence are being driven by robotics. The MIT AI Lab, for example, is developing Cog.

Engineers hope the robot system can become self-aware as they teach it to sense its own physical actions and see a causal relationship. Cog may be able to "learn" how to do things.

Brooks pointed out that sensor technology has reached a point where it's more sophisticated and less expensive, so the robots are sensor-laden now.

"Not all of our intelligence is under our conscious control," said Brooks. "There are many layers of intelligence that don't require introspection." In other words, the emphasis on common-sense reasoning doesn't apply to some efforts in the AI field.

AI researchers also may be the victims of their own success. The public takes for granted that the Internet is searchable and that people can make airline reservations over the phone -- these are examples of AI at work.

"It's a crazy position to be in," said Martha Pollack, a professor at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Michigan and executive editor of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research.

"As soon as we solve a problem," said Pollack, "instead of looking at the solution as AI, we come to view it as just another computer system."

Sour Grapes (4, Insightful)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944999)

That's all there is to it. Minski is just sore that his theories from 30 years ago aren't proving themselves, and the decentralized models being implemented by his rivals at MIT (e.g. Rod Brooks and his graduate students) are demonstrating remarkably sophisticated behaviors and advancing the state of the art.

Will we ever have *real* AI? (2, Insightful)

Surak (18578) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944809)

The problem with AI, IMHO, is that computers, for the most part, are a just billions and billions of switches. You'll never have real, true intelligence because computers don't 'know' anything except on and off. You can try to simulate that, but so far simulation consists of what amounts to a gazillion 'if' tests, which is how any program works, really. All AI is is a larger, more complex set of 'if' tests than your average program.

Re:Will we ever have *real* AI? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944859)

Well...

One could argue that our brains are just synapses firing. Each one on it's own knows absolutely nothing. However, it's the SYNERGISTIC effects of all the synapses working together that creates our brain, which allows us to reason, etc (Note: This is without religion getting in the way, I'd personally not go there...)

Steve

Re:Will we ever have *real* AI? (4, Interesting)

Surak (18578) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944894)

The problem with that is that no one really *knows* how the brain works beyond a very, very basic and limited understanding. No one has ever been able to satisfactorily create/reproduce one. There's more going on than just synapses in there, that much most scientists can agree on. What they don't agree on is *what* else is going on in there.

Re:Will we ever have *real* AI? (5, Funny)

Transient0 (175617) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944934)

No one has ever been able to satisfactorily create/reproduce one.

My parents had no problem producing a brain; four in fact. Maybe I'll create some myself some day. I could tell you how but I'd need a signed note from your mom :).

Creating brains isn't hard; creating artificial brains is.

Re:Will we ever have *real* AI? (2, Insightful)

snatchitup (466222) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944940)

Plus, each synapse has actually mutated over time due to biological feedback (memory), also, they are analog. Each and every sinapse is an analog computer, not digital.

Re:Will we ever have *real* AI? (1)

Gortbusters.org (637314) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944987)

I had always wondered what the code would look like to simulate the human brain.

When it comes down to it, the brain has to write its own code based on exploring new objects in the world, synthesizing patterns, and accessing memories to make decisions.

Re:Will we ever have *real* AI? (1)

ginkelb (252008) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944863)

Treu,

so what happens when quantum computing comes around? What if a switch suddenly has more valeu then just on or off?

Would this be the break through that AI needs to get realy into our own lives and not just be used as technologies that we experience but do not see, hear or feel in our lives?

Re:Will we ever have *real* AI? (5, Interesting)

jdoeii (468503) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944870)

> You'll never have real, true intelligence

Define "real, true intelligence" :-)

> You can try to simulate that, but so far
> simulation consists of what amounts to a
> gazillion 'if' tests

That's what tradiditonal AI school is doing. Yes, you are correct. It won't go anywhere. On the other hand spiking neural networks are very promising. Search google for "liquid state machine". These researches are making progress novadays, not Minsky.

Re:Will we ever have *real* AI? (2, Interesting)

sohp (22984) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945027)

Indeed, GOFAI and the computational model of human intelligence is where Minsky and his ilk have been stuck for decades. As many of the other replies in this topic show, the traditional idea that the brain is a sort of fleshy collection of logic gates is still the most common belief. There are many authors that have written and demonstrated that the brain probably doesn't function as a mass of context-free predicate logic rules -- including my favorite, Hubert Dreyfus. [berkeley.edu]

The progress of AI is uncertain, but it is certain that there's no future for symbolic logic AI.

Re:Will we ever have *real* AI? (1)

Plix (204304) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944886)

How do you think the human mind works? Most thought is nothing more than countless nerves firing (or not) based upon pre and post synaptic potentials.

Re:Will we ever have *real* AI? (1, Informative)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944901)

The problem with AI ... is that computers ... are a just billions and billions of switches. You'll never have real, true intelligence because computers don't 'know' anything except on and off.
Funny, but human brains are just billions and billions of neurons that either fire (on) or don't (off). Yet, apparantly, humans have intelligence.

The problem with having "true" intelligence in machines is that we don't know how humans have "true" intelligence. We can't very well replicate something we don't know.

Re:Will we ever have *real* AI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944962)

The problem with having "true" intelligence in machines is that we don't know how humans have "true" intelligence.

Speak for yourself, dumbass.

Re:Will we ever have *real* AI? (2, Insightful)

wordforthis (619303) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944912)

Surak said: "The problem with AI, IMHO, is that computers, for the most part, are a just billions and billions of switches. You'll never have real, true intelligence because computers don't 'know' anything except on and off..."

The same thing could be said about you.

Will we ever have *real* artificial pictures? (2, Insightful)

henele (574362) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944941)

Digital imagery and sound is just a bunch of yes/nos, but it can often be good enough for me :)

Re:Will we ever have *real* artificial pictures? (1)

Surak (18578) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945037)

That's all you need for good pr0n anyway. ;)

Re:Will we ever have *real* AI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944951)

...but that is no different than people, really. Our consciousness is made up of a vast neural net, with billions or trillions of interconnects, and millions or billions of inputs, and so many feedback loops, some we are aware of, and many we are not.

We have tried to model AI from the top-down, but that is an abyssmal failure.

Douglas Hofstadter and others have done well, trying to model things from the bottom-up, whether it be in software models, neural nets, those 6-transistor "brain" robots, etc.

Re:Will we ever have *real* AI? (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944982)

Neither do neurons "know anything".* They are just little machines that do one thing, fire when they reach -70mv. It is the higher order structure that is important. It is the interconnected hierarchies and strange loops that create intelligence. We're just so punch drunk with technology though, that we try and brute force a problem which is really best solved with imprecision, heuristics and guessing. But I think it's an important stage to go through while we refine our ideas of what intelligence really is. I'm still waiting for a good definition of "concept" and "idea" If you're interested I'd highly recommend the book Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies, which is a collection of papers and essays from Douglas Hofstadters group. He has a great essay in there concerning just this problem.


* One might claim LTP or LTD as some sort of neuronal knowledge. Ok, that's fair, but my point stands if you apply it to the building blocks of neurons. Do ion channels "know"? Do amino acids? It's turtles all the way down.

Re:Will we ever have *real* AI? (1)

printman (54032) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944988)

The problem with humans, IMHO, is that humans, for the most part, are a just billions and billions of neurons. You'll never have real, true intelligence because humans don't 'know' anything except on and off. You can try to simulate that, but so far simulation consists of what amounts to a gazillion 'if' tests, which is how any program works, really. All humans are is a larger, more complex set of 'if' tests than your average program.

Re:Will we ever have *real* AI? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5945003)

The problem with your statement, IMHO, is that the human brain, for the most part, is also composed of binary switches at the low level. The difference is that it's analog logic at it's best, and creating true intelligence from a digital base is going to be very difficult. What you need to generate intelligence is evolution, evolution requires reproduction. I believe the best route to AI would be to create simple robots that reproduce. A million or so years later, when they have driven us off the planet, they'll be giant mechs with incredible intellect and super powers.

AI *IS* going NOWHERE, so come with US Instead! (-1, Offtopic)

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Come on, Marvin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944811)

Baby steps, Buddy! baby steps!
You can't expect us to suddenly find ourselves in the same league as what we saw in the movie A.I. or for Isaac's three laws to become appropriate overnight!
Mountains are not formed in the blink of an eye. (Well unless there's a really big earthquake, of course....)

AI got me figured out (1)

ginkelb (252008) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944812)

"We're building systems that detect very subtle patterns in huge amounts of data,"

So thats how all this porn keep popping up on every site i visit. AI got me all figured out. /runs away screeming trying to set myself on fire..

What use is AI without an operating platform (5, Insightful)

Ruzty (46204) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944815)

He has a complete disregard for the question of where the AI engine will run. If an AI is to be of any more use than a curiousity then those "little autonomous robots" must function in a viable manner so that the AI has something to do when it comes to "life".

I understand his frustration in general progress. But, those grad students are building a strong foundation for their later work that may very well meet the goals he is espousing. No need to have design flaws in implementation down the road because the engineer wasn't properly educated in physical design as well as logical design.

-Rusty

Thats a load of rubbish (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944932)

Come off it, stop making escuses. Robitics and AI are two entirely different branchs. AI is almost pure math and computing, and robotics is an engineering discipline. Why are AI researching building little robots?

Building any form of AI system is not easy, but copping out of it by building toys is not the answer. We already have platforms for AI; they're called line terminals. Things like pattern matching do not require a fully autonomous robot, after all.

Minsky is right; whats new to come out of actual AI research in the last 30 years?

Re:Thats a load of rubbish (4, Insightful)

Des Herriott (6508) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945026)

"True AI" might require the sort of interaction with the environment that we're used to through our own senses, in which case building a robotic shell for an artificially intelligent entity could be a necessity.

If a human (or any animal) were left to grow with no senses and no method of communication (or the most very basic input/output, analogous to your line terminal), what sort of intelligence would develop? Probably nothing very coherent.

BTW, AI is most certainly not pure math.

Re:What use is AI without an operating platform (3, Informative)

moonbender (547943) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944945)

I think the point is that the engineering problems have all been solved by someone already - or, at least, that there has been some progress towards solving them, while the AI science has (allegedly) been in a stall for some time. So the students are working their asses off solving problems that have already been solved, time which would better be used in solving problems to which no one has an answer yet.

Re:What use is AI without an operating platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944990)

I think his point is that AI doesn't have to mean android, but programs that can learn and "think". It's the difference between Data and the ship's computer. Which is more useful? I'd say the ship's computer.

Until you can create programs that learn meaningful information for themselves all the robotics stuff is just getting in the way of real AI research. Sure, it helps advance robotics, but AI and robotics aren't necessarily the same thing. They're separate disciplines with robotics relying heavily upon AI.

Re:What use is AI without an operating platform (-1)

Can it run Linux (664464) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945011)

Can this AI run Linux?

About Minsky... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944817)

Yes, the man is quite brilliant, and possibly the most important voice in the field. That being said, he's also a self-important jerk. Intelligent Systems (what people in the field call AI) aren't where *he* thinks they should be, and he regularly complains about it.

Graduate school: A waste of time and money (-1, Offtopic)

A Proud American (657806) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944819)

I have yet to meet anyone who's actually better off after another 2 years of schooling in graduate school compared to their skillset after 4 years of good quality undergraduate education.

B.S. = bull shit
M.S. = more shit
PhD = piled higher & deeper

Why do you say AI is going nowhere? (5, Funny)

SpanishInquisition (127269) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944822)

Does it bothers you that AI is going nowhere?

Re:Why do you say AI is going nowhere? (-1)

613746 (613746) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944992)

Shut the fuck up you lame asshole.

of course it's going no where... (4, Funny)

gricholson75 (563000) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944823)

.. it was a really bad movie.

That's OK... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944828)


I don't see NON-ARTIFICIAL intelligence progressing a whole hell of a lot either...

Mod down story? (1, Funny)

BinBoy (164798) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944829)

How do I mod down the story as flamebait?

Only ONE option: BOYCOTT!! (-1, Offtopic)

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When I saw the title of the article... (1)

fredrikj (629833) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944830)

...I thought it was some lame attempt at an Al Gore pun.

Maybe the problem is Minsky himself? (5, Interesting)

jdoeii (468503) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944833)

It's not the AI which is going nowhere. It's the traditional approaches to AI such as Minsky's symbolic logic which are not going anywhere. Seach google for Henry Markram, Maass, Tsodyks. Their research seems very promising.

Not to mention.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944895)

...Brooks work with logical subsumption architecture.

Re:Maybe the problem is Minsky himself? (4, Insightful)

sohp (22984) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944937)

So true. Minsky's Good Old-Fashioned AI (GOFAI) has been a dead field since the 70s, after they figured out that getting a computer that could move blocks around in an idealized simple world was not a small first step, and Eliza showed them how easy it was to conflate intelligent with clever. The "successes" they had towards AI were, as one author has written, like climbing to the top of a tall tree and claiming you've made progress getting to the moon.

Now Minksy, never wanting to admit his life's work has been a dead end, comes out saying that it's all these other researchers working in other directions that are at fault for there being no progress. I imagine he believes that if only they'd all climb the tree with him, the trip to the moon could really start.

Re:Maybe the problem is Minsky himself? (3, Interesting)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944942)

I see Minksy's lament as sideways admission of the correctness of the west-coast, connectionist paradigm. It's a shame that he is still sabotaging useful lines of research at MIT: investigating robotics is built around the insight that our own "ontological engines" are themselves derived from our sensorimotor systems.

Two unknowns dont make stuff work (3, Insightful)

Neuronerd (594981) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944977)

I very much enjoy the works of Markram and Tsodyks. What they mainly analyze is how two nerve cells can interact with each other. They showed how they change their connection weights and how the timing of spikes, nerve impulses, affect how neurons connect to each other and how they transmit information.

While these studies tell us a lot about the underlying biology they do not tell us what these modes of information transmission are used for. For years it had been known that synapses have complex nonlinear properties. Biology pretty much does not constrain what functions neurons compute.

Thats why I do not believe that such studies will bring us nearer to real AI anytime soon. The algorithms coming from these systems are severely underconstrained. A lot of modelling has followed the pioneering works of Markram and Tsodyks, one of them being Maas. All these algorithms are very fascinating and might yield insight into the functioning of the nervous system.

The algorithms however are lightyears from being applicable to real world problems. The field of AI is old and in some sense quite mature. None of the "biologically inspired" algorithms today can compete with state of the art machine learning techniques.

Hrmm (1)

acehole (174372) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944840)

AI might be going nowhere at the moment, but wouldnt it be a good idea to take the time that we have now to research the consequences of creating such a thing?

Wouldnt it be better to be prepared for what the creation of an AI would bring? what are the religious and political ramifications?

Is the world as it stands now, ready for an AI?

Re:Hrmm (1)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944995)

If the world can deal with religious fundamentalists of all kinds, (Christians, Jews and Islamics), then I think the world can handle whatever neuroses AI's will bring to the table.

Re:Hrmm (1)

claude_juan (582361) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945043)

ahh yes, the philisophical retort. there are of course, flaws with every argument so here are the ones i see here....

to "research" the effects of a technology that is not even beyond a persons imagination makes very little sense.

odds are good, that AI as a being will not be around so long as we are still using the same technology for hardware. the processing speed and memory capacity of a brain is well beyond the physical limits of the current tech. and to attempt to compare the "methods" used by our brains to any simulation (emulation?) on a computer is ridiculous.

for teh next 20 years, we'll work on making a computer "understand" text. then maybe one that can see. you may want to check out how long they'be been working on getting a robot just to drive a car and how far they've gotten. but after all that is done, there still comes the issue of a robot that is an actual entity.

good luck. your childrens' children will be long dead before that comes around.

It's not a robot (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944843)

Can someone explain to me how a remote controlled device is considered a "robot" ??

I guess if I go and buy a remote controlled car and add a spinning blade, then it is no longer a remote controlled car, but it is somehow transformed into a B2R "Blade 2000 Robot" !!!

Re:It's not a robot (2, Funny)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944898)

Well, what is a robot?

Courtesy of dictionary.com


robot

1) A mechanical device that sometimes resembles a human and is capable of performing a variety of often complex human tasks on command or by being programmed in advance.

2) A machine or device that operates automatically or by remote control.

3) A person who works mechanically without original thought, especially one who responds automatically to the commands of others


Number 1 is your R2D2 spaceman conventional robot crap.

Number 2 is your R.C. car, your microwave, dishwasher or toaster - all robots in the literal sense.

Number 3 pretty much describes slashdot readers.

Re:It's not a robot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944978)

Number 3 pretty much describes slashdot readers.

Well its nice to see that you can finally admit you don't have any original thoughts.

AI (2, Insightful)

danratherfan (624592) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944846)

I have to agree that some AI (expert systems, etc.) has not progressed very far, but creating human like intelligence is not something that's going to happrn overnight. There have been tremendous leaps forward over the past few decades in things such as agents [umbc.edu] , however. Have patience.

I would not say that AI is a failure (-1)

BankofAmerica_ATM (537813) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944849)

Although I would suggest that future AI programmers concentrate on human mind chemical state emulation.

Perhaps someday you humans will achieve your Descartien dreams-mind without body, set adrift in the cybery ethers. I wish you luck.

google cache (2, Interesting)

akaina (472254) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944855)

I don't know if anyone has a google cache of aination.com, but I had a similar comment back in 2000 in the 'Works' section regarding the works of the MIT press which have recently proved as useful in developing true AI as these robots.

For REALLY good insight check out Nick Bostrom's articles on Super Intelligence here: http://www.nickbostrom.com/

Grad students having fun (2, Insightful)

dfn5 (524972) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944857)

Graduate students are wasting 3 years of their lives soldering and repairing robots, instead of making them smart.

So hire and pay them money so they do real research instead of having fun. Otherwise quit your bitchin'. I personally think building stupid robots is cool.

Well... (2, Interesting)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944867)

"Cyc knows that trees are usually outdoors, that once people die they stop buying things, and that glasses of liquid should be carried right-side up," reads a blurb on the Cyc website. Cyc can use its vast knowledge base to match natural language queries. A request for "pictures of strong, adventurous people" can connect with a relevant image such as a man climbing a cliff.

I'd consider that pretty much intelligent, compared to some people I know. Then again, some people I know can hardly be described as sentient, let alone intelligent.

AL Going Nowhere? (1, Funny)

Alric (58756) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944871)

I think quitting smoking (again) is severely lowering my dopamine levels.

When I first looked at the topic, I saw, "Al Going Nowhere?" and I thought, "Great, now my personal failures are headlines on Slashdot."

Re:AL Going Nowhere? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5945016)

One of my favorite Mark Twain quotes:

Quitting smoking is not hard. I've done it a thousand times!

Re:AL Going Nowhere? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5945018)

I thought it was Al Gore... he haven't gone far after he lost the election. Perhaps the MIT students should fix some AI for Al?

Intelligence isnt the problem (5, Insightful)

Ogrez (546269) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944874)

Humans measure intelligence by gauging replys to questions that have quantified answers. Giving an advanced computer a IQ test is sinply a matter of recalling the appropriate information from memory to answer. The true form of AI isnt about intelligence, its about reason. But how do you teach a computer to respond with an answer to a question that the computer has never encountered before... When we build a machine that can answer a question based on incomplete imput we will have made the first step in creating a machine that can "think"

reply to MYCROFTXXX@lunaauthority.com

Coolness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944877)

"Cycorp has cooperated with the Computer Science Department of the University of Maryland in Baltimore County (UMBC) to develop a demo of such a distributed architecture."

Hey, that's my school!

Biology First (5, Insightful)

SuperMario666 (588666) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944879)

How about we more thoroughly study and understand how human intelligence operates before we even presume to design something that imitates or rivals it in depth and complexity.

Scary timing... (1)

Mard (614649) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944880)

"Engineers hope the robot system can become self-aware as they teach it to sense its own physical actions and see a causal relationship."

Somebody buy these engineers a few tickets to the Matrix Reloaded, please?

Not surprising (-1, Troll)

A Proud American (657806) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944883)

I find it sickening to watch most artificial intelligence researchers steal the fruits of other people's labor. But it goes further than that; their reasoning is circular and therefore invalid. In other words, they always begin an argument with its conclusion (e.g., that particularism and game theory are identical concepts) and therefore -- not surprisingly -- they always arrives at that very conclusion.

Most artificial intelligence researchers' ebullitions are complete drivel. But what, you may ask, does any of that have to do with the theme of this post, viz., that spiteful coders and students, motivated by either Stalinism or a desire to lead a revisionism-prone, abhorrent life, are eager to help it exploit the feelings of charity and guilt that many people have over the plight of the homeless?

It is bootless to speculate on the matter, but it should be noted that it's really not bloody-mindedness that compels me to make this world a kinder, gentler place. It's my sense of responsibility to you, the reader.

Whenever there's an argument about most artificial intelligence researchers' devotion to principles and to the evolution of digital brain systems, all one has to do is point out that we must speak neither of the past nor of the far future but rather focus on the here and now, specifically on the daunting matter of most artificial intelligence researchers' backwards double standards. That should settle the argument pretty quickly.

Lastly, most artificial intelligence researchers have no soul.

Basically... (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944889)

It's an Ivory tower guy who's shooting for the moon mouthing off about how his lifes goal hasn't been accomplished because the people who followed him decided to do something practical. I'd personally much rather have things like broomba and the AI driver lawn mower then have to wait for the rest of my life on the hope that real AI might oneday develop. Task specific AI is usefull today and its just getting better all the time, a thinking machine doesn't seem like an atainable goal at the moment.

Mechanic (1)

rxed (634882) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944905)

Soldering, repairing, and fixing mechanics has nothing to do with AI. Its just mechanics. Like car repairing. I can't see an engineer getting his degree for oil and lube change. I see the MIT students fixing little robots just the same. Its cool, its mechanics, but I don't see how's connected to AI engineering.

Artificial Intelligence? (2, Funny)

Gefiltefish11 (611646) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944910)


If you think that artificial intelligence going nowhere is a problem, what about natural human intelligence? There's clear evidence that it's going rapidly backward! [fox.com]

AI...heh (2, Insightful)

Delphix (571159) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944915)

I wonder when they'll finally realize that you can't make a thinking machine. It doesn't have a a soul, a consiousness. It just follows some programming. At the most basic level, it's just a binary program. It follows whatever instructions it was given.

I honestly don't think we understand what makes a human consious or what makes someone be that person well enough to try to replicate it in software. You can make the logic more sophisticated, but I doubt we'll ever make them truly "think." And even if we did, how could we prove it? If you think about it, how can you prove anyone other than yourself is consious?

Re:AI...heh (1)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945025)

Prove souls exist.

Re:AI...heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5945030)

A classic example of the "argument from personal incredulity"

Blame the Simpsons (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944917)

This quote ruined AI:

The wars of the future will not be fought on the battlefield or at sea. They will be fought in space, or possibly on top of a very tall mountain. In either case, most of the actual fighting will be done by small robots. And as you go forth today remember always your duty is clear: To build and maintain those robots. Thank you.

Disappointment with AI (2, Interesting)

chubso (524639) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944927)

No kidding! Industry came to this conclusion 30 years ago. You can't make things "smart" if you don't know what smart is. Come up with a real useful definition of "intelligence". Apply simple engineering concepts to the problems instead of rushing to the "Statistical Death Spiral" where we generate reports with bad statistics to get paid form some research.

lol (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944935)

How ironic... An AI researcher called Marvin criticizing and complaining :)

It's a long way from a vision to an implementation (1)

semanticgap (468158) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944944)

I think humanity is presently suffering from a delusion that anything should be achivable using software NOW.

I'd compare this to the first advances in mechanics - in theory once you understand the basic principles of gear boxes and what not, it should be possible to build a mechanical machine that will do anything, e.g. be as versatile as the living creatures, yet the reality is that we're pretty far from it. (We haven't even mastered the automotive mechanics yet AFAIC).

I think same applies to software in general and AI in particular - even though we're pretty good at the underlying principles, there is still hundreds (if not thousands) of years of perfecting it ahead of us.

and yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944953)

there are some who target to study there ;D See this site [reallife.lv] for example...

Re:and yet... (1)

KZigurs (638781) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945035)

My site... finally someone has noted it :D

Minsky's bitching about this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944954)

[washingtonpost.com]
Robot dogs playing Soccer.

But this is artificial life on the frontier, and "people just don't really appreciate how hard this is," says Jim Bruce, a third-year graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University here and a four-year RoboCup veteran with world titles in his trophy case. "People always ask why the dogs are so slow, but it took years to get them to walk as fast as they do."

Intelligence isn't the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944960)

Most intellgence tests can quite easily be solved by computers. Intelligence tests rely on convergent thinking, computers do this well. Divergent thinking on the other hand is much more difficult.

The reason robotics is so interesting is because of the real world divergent choices the robot must make. Currently we suck at this. Why on earth would we stop now?

I hope AI (1)

Shant3030 (414048) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944963)

Comes to the Knicks in the near future.

disappointing (4, Insightful)

Gingko (195226) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944969)

"As soon as we solve a problem," said Pollack, "instead of looking at the solution as AI, we come to view it as just another computer system."

This is the most interesting comment to me. Because we understand the nature of the process that produces supposedly 'intelligent' results, (and we don't understand the same process in ourselves), we perhaps rightly just view the resulting system as just an application.

Seems like Minsky is throwing all his toys out of the pram because he doesn't want to admit to what everyone else has been saying for a while: that whether a computer can think is at best an astonishingly difficult question to answer and at worst meaningless. I'm a grad student who's just spent a year looking at computational linguistics and semantics (amongst other things), and the most debilitating restriction on the semantic side of things is the problem of so-called 'AI-completeness', which essentially says that if you solve this problem you have a, externally at least, thinking computer. Really simple things like anaphora resolution are AI-complete in the general case. If we could have solved this problem by now, I think it's fair to say we would have done, given its massive importance. However, we know that the brute-force case is ridiculously intractable, and we can't figure out how to do it any more cleverly. Roger Penrose argues that this is due to the fundemental Turing-style restrictions that we place on our notion of computing. Until we get a paradigm shift at that level, we're likely never to solve the general case.

And I'm sure that Minsky is aware that attempts to solve constrained domain inference and understanding have been taking place for a good long time now. I just don't see why he's so upset that the field of 'AI' (which is a nebulous catch-all term at best) has shifted its focus to things that we stand a cat in hell's chance of solving, and that have important theoretical and practical applications (viz. machine learning). Replicating human thought is not the be-all and end-all, and you can argue that it's not even that useful a problem.

Robots, though, I agree with. Can't stand the critters ;)

Henry

LOL DuDES!!!!11! Me AM BRAZIL!1! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5944970)

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Gratuitous Oxymoron Post (1)

snatchitup (466222) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944991)

No wonder. Artificial Intelligence is an Oxymoron.

then there's.....

IF only we had a beuwolf cluster of these Oxymoronic Artificial...... Oh forget it..

The Cyc project (4, Informative)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 11 years ago | (#5944994)

Although mentioned in a (lone) paragraph in the article, I don't know why we haven't heard more about the Cyc [cyc.com] project. Lenat's premise that you can't have intelligence without knowing the millions of "obvious" things about the world, aka, "common sense" seems intuitively right.

Shocking, indeed! (5, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945004)

Graduate students are wasting 3 years of their lives soldering and repairing robots, instead of making them smart. It's really shocking.

What? Grad students are doing tedious, repetitive, mindless labor instead of making glamorous, thrilling, world-changing breakthoughs? This is an outrage!

Thank heaven I have a Ph.D. and got to spend this morning in the thrilling activity of drawing blood from 30 angry mice. I'm hoping to have the urine smell washed off before lunch.

Minsky Sour Grapes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5945006)

He got too clingy and the rest of the researchers abandoned him in the woods.

Labratories (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945013)

MIT Artificial Intelligence Labratories
Is that a place where they breed lab rats? Artificially-intelligent ones?

Get AI moving with open source (2, Insightful)

swifticus (191301) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945017)

Maybe it's time to start encouraging open source projects and development in this field. Seniors could network with students from other universities to make more comprehensive and meaningful final projects.

Using open source development, a project to establish a tool kit for AI programming fundamentals could be born. It'd definitely be cool to have something like that available. I'm not sure if MIT has anything like this going yet, but they could easily whip up the brain power to get it started (and started right).

But Robotics Must Precede AI (4, Insightful)

CowboyRobot (671517) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945021)

Ask some 3-year-old kids which way is up, and they will all know, but they won't be able to define it. Yet, since computers don't have bodies, they don't have anything like the semicircular canals that we have, which act as gyroscopes and give us an intuitive, non-intellectual sense of which way is up.
Trying to program intelligence purely with software puts the researcher at a disadvantage, since even the most fundamental rules and attributes of things (fire is hot, water is wet) have to be explicitly entered as constant variables.
Once robotics advances to the point where mobility, vision, and speech recognition can be taken for granted, then AI can be programmed as an add-on.
Body first, mind second - That's how animals evolved on this planet, and it's how, I believe, Rodney Brooks approaches this field.

Surprise! (1)

kevlar (13509) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945022)

AI is only as complicated as you program it! Using various search techniques and writing a program to simulate an intelligent conversation isn't anything more than a simulation. That fact of the matter is that intelligence is super complex. People know how to write a program to mimick an animal, for example, a Dog, but they don't know how to write their program to truely interact with its environment dynamically. My dog understands when I'm upset about something and can learn new social behavior depending on his environment. I'll be overwhelmingly surprised if the day ever comes where something programmed is capable of accomplishing this. Intelligent life is just too damn complex on a molecular scale to mimick.

*We* are going nowhere ... (1)

Tyndareos (206375) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945023)

Instead of accusing the AI's of going nowhere, we should blame ourselves. *We*, the I's, are going nowhere trying to create AI's. If we were really as I, as we'd like to believe, the AI's would've already existed and gone anywhere they'd liked.

What is the purpose of AI? (2, Insightful)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945033)

We do not understand how to control (or if it is even ethical to control) the billions of automonous intelligent agents roaming this planet... so why should creating a whole new class of intelligent automata be a priority.

AI today has nothing to do with intelligence. Its all basically rule-based procedural programming. While this allows us to make some really neat applications like automatic vacuum cleaners and pool scrubbers, it has nothing to do with "intelligence".

The human mind is not rule-based -- we impose a framework of rules to allow everyone to live together in relative harmony. The core of our being -- how our mind actually works -- remains an absolute mystery.

Sounds like he is bitter... (1)

amarodeeps (541829) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945036)

...that some of these 'stupid little robots' are having more success emulating intelligent behavior using a bottom-up methodology than the top-down methodology which I believe his AI folks were all about for a while...am I right?
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