Scott Fahlman,   August 7, 2012
Those who have followed my comments in this blog will know that I’ve been advocating that AI researchers – at least a few of us – should renew our focus on flexible, integrated, human-like AI. This was the original focus of the AI field, and is still a very exciting open problem, but research with this focus (and funding for such research) has largely been pushed aside in the rush to exploit powerful but narrow approaches – particularly various forms of statistical learning driven by “big data”.
There have always been a few researchers who have kept the flame alive for the original AI goals and some of the knowledge-based approaches – approaches that are much more viable now that machines are orders of magnitude faster and memories are orders of magnitude larger than they were back in the 1980’s. There are also a lot of new ideas and new resources to mix with the older ones.
Over the last few years, I have seen some signs that perhaps the pendulum is swinging back in our direction. Certainly the statistical learning methods have earned a permanent role in the AI field, but it appeared to me that a growing number of people have begun to realize that this isn’t – and can’t be – the whole story. In the past few years, this community (the “Rebel Underground” of AI?) has been gathering at the “Advances in Cognitive Systems” or “ACS” symposium – one track in the AAAI Fall Symposium Series. Pat Langley has been particularly active in organizing the ACS movement.
I am pleased to report that this effort has resulted in a new, free online journal, named (not surprisingly) “Advances in Cognitive Systems”. Pat is the editor. Paul Bello, Ken Forbus, John Laird, and Patrick Winston are associated editors, and I am on the editorial board, along with many of the leaders of the rejuvenated Cognitive Systems movement.
The inaugural issue has now been released: http://cogsys.org/journal/volume-1. I urge you to take a look, and especially to read Pat’s essay, “The Cognitive Systems Paradigm”, which gives his view of what this is all about.
My own essay from this blog, “Human vs. Super-Human AI”, has been revised, updated, and slightly expanded, and is included as an invited essay in this inaugural issue. The new (and somewhat more controversial) title is “Beyond Idiot-Savant AI”. The full citation is
Fahlman, Scott E. (2012): “Beyond Idiot-Savant AI” in Advances in Cognitive Systems 1, pages 15-22.
An ACS conference is also being planned for Dec 7-9, 2012, in Mountain View, California.