[ExI] Watson On Jeopardy.

David Lubkin lubkin at unreasonable.com
Tue Feb 22 19:50:53 UTC 2011

Richard Loosemore wrote:

>AI researchers have, over the years, publicized 
>many supposedly great advances, or big new 
>systems that were supposed to be harbingers of 
>real AI, just around the corner.  People were 
>very excited about SHRDLU.  The Japanese went 
>wild over Prolog.  Then there was the "knowledge 
>based systems" approach, aka "expert 
>systems".  Earlier on there was a 1960s craze 
>for "machine translation".  In the late 1980s 
>there were "neural networks" vendors springing 
>up all over the place.  And these were just the 
>paradigms or general clusters of ideas ... never 
>mind the specific systems or programs themselves.
>Now, the pattern is that all these ideas were 
>good at bringing down some long-hanging fruit, 
>and every time the proponents would say "Of 
>course, this is just meant to be a demonstration 
>of the potential of this new 
>technique/approach/program:  what we want to do 
>next is expand on this breakthrough and find 
>ways to apply it to more significant problems". 
>But in each case it turned out that extending it 
>beyond the toy cases was fiendishly hard, and 
>eventually the effort was abandoneed when the next bandwagon came along.

I think it was my graduate advisor, Carl Page, 
who told me that whenever you saw a paper in AI 
with "examples" of sentences understood, theorems 
proven, etc., the "examples" were in fact the 
*only* ones the system could cope with.

(I was predisposed to be enraptured by AI, but 
his doctoral classes were the best I've taken in any field.

My parenting philosophy began with a conversation 
with him. Dr. Page sent his two sons to a 
Montessori school. He extolled the value of 
Montessori in raising a strong, confident child 
who thinks for himself, but warned me that it 
comes at a price: When you have a Montessori kid, 
they will never accept "Because I say so."

The consequences of his parenting style are that 
his namesake, Carl Jr., co-founded eGroups, which 
was sold to Yahoo for 0.5 billion and we now know 
as Yahoo Groups. The other son, Larry, co-founded 
Google, and is worth $15 billion.)

-- David.

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