Top down vs. bottom up AI synthesis, a(n attempt at) clarification of my previous posts

From: Max Comess (
Date: Fri May 03 2002 - 15:10:37 MDT

To me, it seems like the problem of mind building can be viewed from two perspectives, top down and bottom up, just like nanotech. Top down approaches consist of trying to form an entire mind structure; e.g. Friendly AI, Novamente, Adaptive intelligence. Bottom up synthesis represents more fine grained approaches working on creating a small slice of intelligence in more limited settings; e.g. cyc, natural language, 3d vision, pattern recognition, mind mapping, etc. Both approaches are important!

Just because what we all really want is true AI doesnt mean that we should discount the importance of dumb IA subsystems. What should happen is that these IA subsystems should be incorporated into the development of AI. They should be used both as development platforms, as the tools run the computer(s) that the AI coders use. And, where possible, they should also be used in the design of the AI itself. These IA systems are like tiny pieces of a dynamic AI jigsaw puzzle, and as they are found and placed they can "fill in" much of the gaps in our knowledge about AI, and eventually, in the AI's knowledge about us. This saves us from having to design an entire AI mind algorithm from scratch that can fill in all the gaps of it's knowledge on it's own. As more "pieces" are created the islands of intelligence and capability will grow larger. All this could be incorporated into the development of any top down AI system to make development occur faster.

Or, said another way, why not use general top down AI principles to sculpt and synthesize many of these dumb IA subsystems into the real working AI that we all want. AI will never be able to help in it's own development until it becomes aware, but IA should allow us to help in the development of AI in the same accelerated fasion, because it provides so many of the same forward feedback processes. Only difference is that right now, humans have to act as the will and the purpose for the system.

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