>On 2/17/2011 4:23 PM, John F. Sowa wrote:
>> On 2/17/2011 3:55 PM, Patrick Durusau wrote:
>>> I don't question any of the statements that John has made.
>>> The problem is equating those achievements, which are
>>> considerable, with intelligence.
>> That's what I said in my first line: A quibble about the
>> name AI is as pointless as complaining about the word 'psyche'
>> in psychology. The real issue is to look at the accomplishments.
>Err, no, what you were trying to do in your first line is to put the
>naming issue firmly in the hand of the AI community.
>Sorry, too old a trick to allow to pass without comment.
>Looking at "accomplishments," the fine folks at IBM designed a black box
>system (to outsiders) that answers questions on a game show.
>Gee, why am I not impressed? (01)
This comment resonates with me. I don't mean to diminish the accomplishments of
the Watson team. After all it is not up to the research community to decide
what can be called an accomplishment. From a broader society point of view it
is yet another man-vs-machine landmark event that helps to move forward. (02)
What bothers me is that while opening some great possibilities to commercialize
the technology (which is necessary step to make a real progress), it may close
some other may be greater directions of progress. The story of electrical cars
comes to mind. The research community must make it very clear to the rest of us
what progress was made by Watson's team. In my opinion it is incremental and
tentative, largely made possible by availability of cheep "fuel". Not unlike
the progress in auto industry, and should not be dismissed or taken lightly.
But would not it be better if electrical cars won the competition? (03)
>Had the team published its NLP processing algorithms, which were no
>doubt innovative, that would raise all boats.
IBM Research is certainly not in a business of raising all boats, although they
will not miss the opportunity to claim that. I also strongly suspect that those
who are in the business of raising everybody's boat, namely the US Government,
had contributed some significant resources to help IBM. But IBM was willing to
risk a lot of their own resources and reputation to make an important progress,
and I applaud Watson's victory. (05)
>But, all we have at this point is the equivalent of the original
Even if it was the equivalent, it would still be an accomplishment. As long as
it does not serve as a proof of validity or superiority of the research.
Unfortunately, working last year at IBM Research as a consultant I came to
conclusion that IBM made a strategic decision to suspend all their research in
Semantic Web, especially the work on ontology-based approaches. I am not
claiming this as a fact, just merely as my own observation. This happened
roughly in the same time frame as Watson project gained momentum. (07)
>Hope you are having a great day!
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