RE: G. Chaitin on AI

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sat Mar 02 2002 - 09:16:42 MST

> Surely you've already had some experience with this in Webmind/Novamente?
> I.e., you argued over whether it was engineering or math or
> neuroscience or
> cognitive psychology, and then you implemented it and found out it was all
> the same thing? I'm not necessarily saying that I would expect
> this to be a
> routine experience, but weren't there at least one or two memorable
> occasions?

Actually, all of us who were involved with the conceptual design of the
system had been thinking about these issues for *years* before we started
the project. So those of us on the core "conceptual" team (Pei Wang, Cassio
Pennachin, me, Stephan Bugaj, Cate Hartley, Anton Kolonin, Jeff pressing, a
few others) had all pretty much already pre-internalized the idea that
designing an AI would be an integrative process.

To some extent the core conceptual team was selected to be composed of
people whose philosophical outlook was *vaguely similar* to mine, though
there were significant differences as well. (For instance, Jeff was
strongly biased toward cognitive psychology and neuroscience; Pei tends to
think his NARS inference equations are the essence of it all; Anton likes
relationships between relationships between relationships and reinforcement
learning; Stephan tends to believe sophisticated perception is a
prerequisite to cognition; Cassio is an self-organizing
software-agents-systems guy, etc.)

But there were plenty of assorted folks around the company who weren't part
of the core conceptual AI team but who had different, deeply-thought-out
ideas about AI. At least one guy strongly believed for a while there was
*one simple abstract equation* at the heart of intelligence, which he was
constantly on the verge of discovering ... (he may still believe this, I'm
not sure...)

It was good to have gadflies around holding radically different points of
view; and it was also good that the members core group held basically
similar though nonidentical philosophies...

-- Ben

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