RE: Whatever happened to Cyc?

From: Ben Houston (
Date: Sun Apr 29 2001 - 00:16:49 MDT

Hi Carl,

Cyc is still around and it still has funding (primarily from the US
military). A military project that I am involved with also involves

Take care,
-ben houston

> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On
> Of Carl Feynman
> Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2001 1:36 AM
> To:
> Subject: Whatever happened to Cyc?
> Does anyone have some kind of inside information about what happened
> Cyc? The project clearly failed massively to achieve its original
> goals, but they won't admit it and say what went wrong. I've been to
> the website of the corporation that is theoretically selling it
> ( and it's full of upbeat propaganda about how wonderful Cyc
> and how it'll be real AI any year now, and we can sell it to you now,
> but we won't tell you what it does. There are also technical papers
> there, none more recent than 1998, and none giving any hint that
> anything was less than hunkydory.
> It would be very good for the world to publicly disclose what went
> wrong. Right now any attempt at building real AI gets the response
> yeah? Why isn't this one going to fail like Cyc?" The failure of Cyc
> casts a large diffuse cloud of gloom over the entire field.
> what happened would at least sharpen the edges of the cloud, and
> permit future projects to steer around it.
> But I imagine some combination of Cycorp's desire to make money, and
> Doug Lenat's ego, prevents the acknowledgement and analysis of what
> wrong.
> If any of you have anything to contribute, it would be interesting to
> hear what you know. I hope someone can say "Carl, you dummy! Lenat's
> paper 'Why Cyc does not appear to work' was on the cover of last
> issue of CACM!"
> I found a page ( which
> has a section of critiques of Cyc. They seem to be, variously,
> of Cyc not working, and philosophical attacks on Lenat's ideas.
> that's really on target.
> --CarlF

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