Re:Near-Term Futility of AI Research

joe dees (
Sun, 18 Apr 1999 23:15:56 -0400

At Sun, 18 Apr 1999 08:28:08 EDT, you wrote:
>Eliezer Yudkoswky writes:
>>Tell James Bradley that we are coming for him. ("We", in this case,
>>being AI researchers.) We are coming for the Mona Lisa. We are coming
>>for music. We are coming for laughter. We are coming for love. It's
>>only a matter of time.
>AI research is a dead end in the short term. Current AI research isn't
>accomplishing anything. Until we have a better understanding of human
>cognition and the brain in general AI is not going to make any significant
>progress. Co-called AI researchers would perform a better service for
>themselves and the AI field if they devoted their time and resources to
>Think about it. Can anyone point to achievements made in the field of AI in
>the last year? 5 years? 10 years? There are no conceptual achievements. There
>is an illusion of progress, but it is not conceptual. The illusion is created
>by increases in computing power available to AI researchers. Implementing the
>same AI concept on a faster machine yields a more productive result. On the
>surface, it appears progress has been made in the AI field. But, in fact,
>there has been no conceptual progress in some time. AI researchers are
>justing tinkering with faster machines now.
>Look at the deities of the AI pantheon, Minsky, Searle, what have they
>produced in the last 5 or 10 or even 20 years? Who has expanded on Turing's
>work? If Turing is the AI field's Newton, where is the Einstein? All I see
>lately is discussions about the limits of computation, club-handed
>discussions of consciousness, and starry-eyed fantasies of Powers. There is a
>disconnect. Where is the transhumanist explanation for lack of AI progress?
>Why don't AI researchers realize they aren't getting *anywhere* until we
>understand the operation of the human mind? And if the transhumanists don't
>even realize this quagmire, who else will?
>Thierry Maxey, Ph.D.
>CIO, Seradyne Systems, Inc.

For those whose MINDS have been memetically inoculated against such reasoned pessimism by extropianism and/or transhumanism, I suggest that WHAT COMPUTERS STILL CAN'T DO by Hubert Dreyfuss might purge the antibodies from your cognitive systems. Joe E. Dees
Poet, Pagan, Philosopher

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