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Quora Answer : Artificial Intelligence has been around for a long time with Lisp and Prologue but did not have widespread adoption. What has changed recently in the last decade to make AI more useful?

Apr 3, 2019

Basically two things :

faster and more powerful hardware

larger data-sets for training.

The second of these is probably more important than the first.

I was in academia with people doing neural network research in the 90s. My first job using AI in 1991 used neural networks with a couple of hundred nodes and a few dozen training examples. We didn't have more training examples, and you couldn't run many more nodes than that on our off-the-shelf PCs.

Today people would find that ludicrous. How can you pick up any patterns with that?

Well you can't. (Just toy, very well prepared, examples.)

And today people use thousands of nodes and millions of examples.

That data is largely available thanks to the last 20 years of the internet, where we've been gathering massive collections of human writing, photos, and other media types which we can now build frighteningly plausible models from.

We have so much data today. The internet collects it. And the business models of the internet giants like Facebook and Google and Amazon means that there's a mature and sophisticated market of hard and software to manage enormous collections of data that be fed to the deep learners.

There are also two approaches to AI.

The "symbolic" which Lisp and Prolog used to focus on. And the "statistic" or "connectionist" ie. data-driven AI.

I don't think either is inherently superior to the other. Both have been around since the dawn of computing in the 1950s. And there have been plenty of religious wars.

But they are usefully complementary.

I suspect today we are just throwing more resources at machine learning / connectionist AI. I wonder how powerful our Prolog systems might be if we gave them equivalent computational resources and programmer time and attention. Possibly equally amazing.

But the nice thing about connectionism is that you don't really need smart programmers. You just need a lot of data, and can already get a long way with off-the-shelf free-software packages.

EDIT : See LanguagesForAI

Bookmarked at 2022-06-09T12:40:55.441682

Quora Answer : Will artificial intelligence happen?

May 14, 2020

Originally Answered: Is true artificial intelligence even possible?

I have an MPhil in Artificial Intelligence research. Although it's basically about game theory and agent based modelling of very, very simplistic behaviours.

Like many young impressionable geeks, I went to college to study AI and to be involved in finally creating "true artificial intelligence".

Somehow I got side-tracked into hanging out with philosophers. And through them I came to realize that "true artificial intelligence" just takes you down the rabbit hole of trying to figure out what "true intelligence" really is.

At some point, nearly everyone realizes that you have to give up worrying about whether the computer is "really intelligent". We can't even know if other people around us are intelligent or conscious. Or whether they are just philosophical zombies or an illusion.

AI is about producing intelligent behaviours. Not about "truth".