Towards Human-level AI

From: Elias Sinderson (
Date: Thu Mar 18 2004 - 00:50:19 MST

Hopefully the following lecture will be of interest to list subscribers
in the Bay Area.


>The Stanford Computer Forum invites you to attend this month's Emeritus
>Lecture Series:
>John McCarthy, Emeritus Professor of Computer Science - Towards
>human-level AI
>4:15pm, Tuesday, March 23, 2004
>TCSEQ Lecture Hall 200
>Stanford University
>The event is open to the public. Please feel free to pass along to your
>colleagues. Parking permits are not required on campus after 4:00 p.m.
>For information on current and future talks, go to:
>It is not surprising that reaching human-level AI has proved to be
>difficult and progress has been slow---though there has been important
>progress. The slowness and the demand to exploit what has been
>discovered has led many to mistakenly redefine AI, sometimes in ways
>that preclude human-level AI---by relegating to humans parts of the task
>that human-level computer programs would have to do. In the terminology
>of this paper, it amounts to settling for a bounded informatic situation
>instead of the more general common sense informatic situation.
>Overcoming the "brittleness'' of present AI systems and reaching
>human-level AI requires programs that deal with the common sense
>informatic situation---in which the phenomena to be taken into account
>in achieving a goal are not fixed in advance.
>We discuss reaching human-level AI, emphasizing logical AI and
>especially emphasizing representation problems of information and of
>reasoning. Ideas for reasoning in the common sense informatic situation
>include nonmonotonic reasoning, approximate concepts, formalized
>contexts, concepts as objects, and self-awareness.
>John McCarthy received the B.S. in mathematics in 1948 from the Caltech
>and the Ph.D. from Princeton in 1951. He has taught at Princeton,
>Dartmouth, M.I.T. and Stanford. He has been Professor of Computer
>Science at Stanford University since 1962 (emeritus 2001) and was
>Director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory from 1965 to
>He is one of the founders of artificial intelligence research, starting
>in 1948. Since 1958 his work has emphasized epistemological problems,
>i.e. the problem of what information and what modes of reasoning are
>required for intelligent behavior. He originated the LISP programming
>language for computing with symbolic expressions, was one of the first
>to propose and design time-sharing computer systems, and pioneered in
>using mathematical logic to prove the correctness of computer programs.
>He has also written papers on the social opportunities coming from
>computer and other technology. He originated the situation calculus, the
>circumscription method of nonmonotonic reasoning, and the idea of
>abstract syntax.
>He received the A.M. Turing award of the Association for Computing
>Machinery in 1971. He received the first Research Excellence Award of
>the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in 1985. He
>received the Kyoto Prize in 1988 and the National Medal of Science in
>1990. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the
>National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences.
>His recent work includes formalization of non-monotonic reasoning
>whereby people and computers draw conjectural conclusions by assuming
>that complications are absent from a situation. His current work
>involves the formalization of context in mathematical logic, the
>elaboration tolerance of logical theories, theories of approximate
>entities, a new version of situation calculus, and self-aware computer
>Human-level AI has always been McCarthy's main goal.
>His web site which his papers on computer science and also pages devoted
>to showing the sustainability of human material progress.
>Faculty Profile:
>Stanford Computer Forum

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