Greg Burch: Teach Your Robot Well

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Mon Jul 02 2001 - 18:54:03 MDT

AI to Change the Legal Profession
Beyond 2000, June 27, 2001

AI is on the brink of radically changing the legal profession by incorporating
the ability to argue into computer programs.

Ronald P. Loui, an associate professor of computer science, has written a
definitive article on the computer modelling of argument, consolidating
research results from the mid-80s to the present in his paper, "Logical Models
of Argument."

Loui stakes the future of A.I. argumentation on "defeasible" reasoning: a rule
supporting a conclusion can be defeated or at least weakened. The conclusion
is what A.I. specialists call an argument instead of a proof.

For example, you can't argue mathematically against Pythagoras' theorem. It's
a "law" and there are umpteen proofs for it. But you can argue the toss in
human terms, perhaps questioning Pythagoras' sanity, sobriety, previous
accuracy and so forth.

Defeasible reasoning draws upon patterns of reasoning outside of mathematical
logic, such as ones found in law, political science, rhetoric and ethics. It
is based on rules that don't always hold if there are good reasons for an
exception. It also permits rules to be more or less relevant to a situation.


Stay hungry,

--J. R.

Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism

     Everything that can happen has already happened, not just once,
     but an infinite number of times, and will continue to do so forever.
     (Everything that can happen = more than anyone can imagine.)

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