Saturday, April 23, 2005

An interesting overview of Cyc and an update on the AI agenda

New Scientist Whatever happened to machines that think? - Features

If you believe humans think (debateable, interestingly), and if you believe humans don't contain supernatural elements (souls [1]), then humans are biological thinking machines. Hence thinking machines. Since humans routinely create humans, we can create thinking machines.

So the interesting question becomes, can humans create non-human thinking machines, perhaps a mixture of the biologic and abiologic?

I bet yes. But, just as with Peak Oil, I can't say when. Probably within 100 years.

I tend to think it will be a very bad thing for my grandchildren, but that's just a hunch. I hope it won't be a very bad thing for my children. If I thought a 2nd Christian/Muslim Fundamentalist Dark Ages would delay this development, I might be a Bush supporter.

Alas, the competitive advantages of thinking machines are so great I can't imagine anything short of the annihilation of all human civilizations everywhere significantly delaying their appearance. That is 'destroying the village in order to save it' -- so I don't support the Bush/bin Laden agenda.

[1] Philosophical arguments against "strong AI", such as Searle's "Chinese Room", are essentially arguments for the existence of the soul, and thus for the existence of a deity. So "strong AI" debates, like the Fermi Paradox are "big question" topics.

No comments: