Decades of research in artificial intelligence (AI) have produced formidable technologies that are providing immense benefit to industry, government, and society. AI systems can now translate across multiple languages, identify objects in images and video, streamline manufacturing processes, and control cars. The deployment of AI systems has not only created a trillion-dollar industry that is projected to quadruple in three years, but has also exposed the need to make AI systems fair, explainable, trustworthy, and secure. Future AI systems will rightfully be expected to reason effectively about the world in which they (and people) operate, handling complex tasks and responsibilities effectively and ethically, engaging in meaningful communication, and improving their awareness through experience. Achieving the full potential of AI technologies poses research challenges that require a radical transformation of the AI research enterprise, facilitated by significant and sustained investment. These are the major recommendations of a recent community effort coordinated by the Computing Community Consortium and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence to formulate a Roadmap for AI research and development over the next two decades.
Natural language understanding (NLU) of text is a fundamental challenge in AI, and it has received significant attention throughout the history of NLP research. This primary goal has been studied under different tasks, such as Question Answering (QA) and Textual Entailment (TE). In this thesis, we investigate the NLU problem through the QA task and focus on the aspects that make it a challenge for the current state-of-the-art technology. This thesis is organized into three main parts: In the first part, we explore multiple formalisms to improve existing machine comprehension systems. We propose a formulation for abductive reasoning in natural language and show its effectiveness, especially in domains with limited training data. Additionally, to help reasoning systems cope with irrelevant or redundant information, we create a supervised approach to learn and detect the essential terms in questions. In the second part, we propose two new challenge datasets. In particular, we create two datasets of natural language questions where (i) the first one requires reasoning over multiple sentences; (ii) the second one requires temporal common sense reasoning. We hope that the two proposed datasets will motivate the field to address more complex problems. In the final part, we present the first formal framework for multi-step reasoning algorithms, in the presence of a few important properties of language use, such as incompleteness, ambiguity, etc. We apply this framework to prove fundamental limitations for reasoning algorithms. These theoretical results provide extra intuition into the existing empirical evidence in the field.
Commonsense reasoning is in principle a central problem in artificial intelligence, but it is a very difficult one. One approach that has been pursued since the earliest days of the field has been to encode commonsense knowledge as statements in a logic-based representation language and to implement commonsense reasoning as some form of logical inference. This paper surveys the use of logic-based representations of commonsense knowledge in artificial intelligence research.
Automation and computer intelligence to support complex human decisions becomes essential to manage large and distributed systems in the Cloud and IoT era. Understanding the root cause of an observed symptom in a complex system has been a major problem for decades. As industry dives into the IoT world and the amount of data generated per year grows at an amazing speed, an important question is how to find appropriate mechanisms to determine root causes that can handle huge amounts of data or may provide valuable feedback in real-time. While many survey papers aim at summarizing the landscape of techniques for modelling system behavior and infering the root cause of a problem based in the resulting models, none of those focuses on analyzing how the different techniques in the literature fit growing requirements in terms of performance and scalability. In this survey, we provide a review of root-cause analysis, focusing on these particular aspects. We also provide guidance to choose the best root-cause analysis strategy depending on the requirements of a particular system and application.