Your first impression of "Engineer, Agitator, Constructor: The Artist Reinvented, 1918-1939," a vast and exciting show, at the Museum of Modern Art, of interwar Soviet and European graphic design, may combine déjà vu and surprise. You likely know the look, loosely termed Constructivist: off-kilter geometric shapes, vectoring diagonals, strident typography (chiefly blocky sans serif), grabby colors (tending to black and orangeish red), and collaged or montaged photography, all in thrall to advanced technology and socialist exhortation, in mediums including architecture, performance, and film. But you won't have seen most of the works here. About two hundred of the roughly three hundred pieces on view were recently acquired by the museum from the collection of Merrill C. Berman, a Wall Street investor and venture capitalist. Fresh images catch the eye, as do unfamiliar names.
The development of artificial intelligence systems has to date been largely one of manual labor. This Constructionist approach to A.I. has resulted in a diverse set of isolated solutions to relatively small problems. Small success stories of putting these pieces together in robotics, for example, has made people optimistic that continuing on this path would lead to artificial general intelligence. This is unlikely. "The A.I. problem" has been divided up without much guidance from science or theory, resulting in a fragmentation of the research community and a set of grossly incompatible approaches. Standard software development methods come with serious limitations in scaling; in A.I. the Constructionist approach results in systems with limited domain application and severe performance brittleness. Genuine integration, as required for general intelligence, is therefore practically and theoretically precluded. Yet going beyond current A.I. systems requires significantly more complex integration than attempted to date, especially regarding transversal functions such as attention and learning. The only way to address the challenge is replacing top-down architectural design as a major development methodology with methods focusing on self-generated code and self-organizing architectures. I call this Constructivist A.I., in reference to the self-constructive principles on which it must be based. Methodologies employed for Constructivist A.I. will be very different from today's software development methods. In this paper I describe the argument in detail and examine some of the implications of this impending paradigm shift.
This is a relatively small (read: exclusive) workshop (less than 30 attendees), fostering close interaction and collaboration between attendees. The workshop is based on a challenge-response format where a series of (shorter than typical) presentations outline important challenges (rather than results), which are then collaboratively addressed by several small teams which subsequently present their results to the whole group. Presentations are 25-minutes long, followed by 45-minute teamwork. Results of teamwork is subsequently presented to the whole group in a 45-minute session. The workshop concludes on the third day (optional) with a half-day trip (9:00 - 14:00) to the Icelandic countryside (depending on sufficient sign-up).
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