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Re: [ontolog-forum] FW: CfP 11/16/2015: Knowledge-Based AI Track at 2016

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Thomas Johnston <tmj44p@xxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 2015 15:30:35 +0000 (UTC)
Message-id: <515229383.1545372.1442590235851.JavaMail.yahoo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

I don't disagree with you (or Minsky), but I do think that, while eclecticism and openness to different points of view is essential in all serious thought, there is a tension between eclecticism and the development of theory. 

Focus on a single theory leads to work which attempts to extend the boundaries of that theory, and to work which reveals problems which then force theory revision, on small or large scales. It is when nuts with guts (Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Bohr) face their opponents that scientific progress is made.

To take one specific example, Einstein's objection to "spooky action at a distance". I forget the name of the guys who carried out the conclusive experiments, but they proved that quantum entanglement was a fact. (Whether or not "hidden variables" will eventually account for that fact is another matter.)

I suspect that you would not want to characterize any of these luminaries as "nuts with guts", but the issue here, for me at least, is that, given what you have said, why aren't they?

Having said all that, I also agree with Atticus Finch who said that you haven't understood another man until you have walked around in his shoes.



On Friday, September 18, 2015 1:51 AM, John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

On 9/15/2015 11:41 PM, Thomas Johnston wrote:
> The description of knowledge-based vs "statistics"-based AI is an entry
> point into so much that I am interested in...

I believe that the first step is to erase the 'vs' between the two.
Note the ending of the announcement that Leo forwarded to the list:

> While the knowledge-based AI is often juxtaposed to the statistics-
> based AI, we see the contrast as unnecessarily exclusionary, in that
> systems combining the intuitive directness of knowledge representation
> with the efficiency of statistics-based computation have distinct
> advantages.

My only objection to that point is the idea that statistical methods
are more efficient than knowledge-based systems.  Efficiency always
depends on the specific problem that is being addressed at the moment.

Following is a paper that discusses related issues -- especially the
point that there is *no limit* to the number and variety of reasoning
systems. Just look at the number of different ways of thinking by
different people -- or by the same person at different moments.

    The cognitive cycle

I presented this paper at a conference in Poland.  When I return next
week, I'll post the slides, which have more detail about some of the
issues.  I quote the following point by Marvin Minsky in both:

> What magical trick makes us intelligent? The trick is that there is
> no trick.  The power of intelligence stems from our vast diversity,
> not from any single, perfect principle.  Our species has evolved many
> effective although imperfect methods, and each of us individually
> develops more on our own.  Eventually, very few of our actions and
> decisions come to depend on any single mechanism. Instead, they emerge
> from conflicts and negotiations among societies of processes that
> constantly challenge one another.

The major research issue is to understand the open-ended diversity.
The major obstacle is the claim that some single method is the
foundation for a GUT -- a Grand Unified Theory.

Motto:  Beware of nuts with guts.


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