Some of McCarthy's colleagues in neighboring departments, however, were more interested in how intelligence is implemented in humans (and other animals) first. Noam Chomsky and others worked on what became cognitive science, a field aimed at uncovering the mental representations and rules that underlie our perceptual and cognitive abilities. Chomsky and his colleagues had to overthrow the then-dominant paradigm of behaviorism, championed by Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner, where animal behavior was reduced to a simple set of associations between an action and its subsequent reward or punishment. The undoing of Skinner's grip on psychology is commonly marked by Chomsky's 1959 critical review of Skinner's book Verbal Behavior, a book in which Skinner attempted to explain linguistic ability using behaviorist principles. Skinner's approach stressed the historical associations between a stimulus and the animal's response -- an approach easily framed as a kind of empirical statistical analysis, predicting the future as a function of the past.
Chomsky has been known to vigorously defend and debate his views and opinions, in philosophy, linguistics, and politics. He has had notable debates with Jean Piaget, Michel Foucault, William F. Buckley, Jr., Christopher Hitchens, George Lakoff, Richard Perle, Hilary Putnam, Willard Quine, and Alan Dershowitz, to name a few. In response to his speaking style being criticized as boring, Chomsky said that "I'm a boring speaker and I like it that way.... I doubt that people are attracted to whatever the persona is.... People are interested in the issues, and they're interested in the issues because they are important."
OpenAI's GPT-2 has been discussed everywhere from The New Yorker to The Economist. What does it really tell us about natural and artificial intelligence? The Economist: Which technologies are worth watching in 2020? GPT-2: I would say it is hard to narrow down the list. The world is full of disruptive technologies with real and potentially huge global impacts. The most important is artificial intelligence, which is becoming exponentially more powerful. Consider two classic hypotheses about the development of language and cognition. One main line of Western intellectual thought, often called nativism, goes back to Plato and Kant; in recent memory it has been developed by Noam Chomsky, Steven Pinker, Elizabeth Spelke, and others (including myself).
Machine learning algorithms are worked into a variety of popular products on the market today and used by the biggest technology companies, such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Oracle, and IBM, to name a few. But while machine learning algorithms are fairly routine and practical, there is the primary subject from which it branches: artificial intelligence (AI). After decades of popular films and books, what has been achieved from AI? First, the benefits of AI research have yielded various applications, from Apple's Siri to IBM's prototype diagnostic app, Watson. "AI has attracted more than 17 billion in investments since 2009. Last year alone more than 2 billion was invested in 322 companies with AI-like technology" (Kelly).