Dean, Thomas


Amanuensis: The Programmer's Apprentice

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

This document provides an overview of the material covered in a course taught at Stanford in the spring quarter of 2018. The course draws upon insight from cognitive and systems neuroscience to implement hybrid connectionist and symbolic reasoning systems that leverage and extend the state of the art in machine learning by integrating human and machine intelligence. As a concrete example we focus on digital assistants that learn from continuous dialog with an expert software engineer while providing initial value as powerful analytical, computational and mathematical savants. Over time these savants learn cognitive strategies (domain-relevant problem solving skills) and develop intuitions (heuristics and the experience necessary for applying them) by learning from their expert associates. By doing so these savants elevate their innate analytical skills allowing them to partner on an equal footing as versatile collaborators - effectively serving as cognitive extensions and digital prostheses, thereby amplifying and emulating their human partner's conceptually-flexible thinking patterns and enabling improved access to and control over powerful computing resources.


Three Controversial Hypotheses Concerning Computation in the Primate Cortex

AAAI Conferences

We consider three hypotheses concerning the primate neocortex which have influenced computational neuroscience in recent years. Is the mind modular in terms of its being profitably described as a collection of relatively independent functional units? Does the regular structure of the cortex imply a single algorithm at work, operating on many different inputs in parallel? Can the cognitive differences between humans and our closest primate relatives be explained in terms of a scalable cortical architecture? We bring to bear diverse sources of evidence to argue that the answers to each of these questions — with some judicious qualifications — are in the affirmative. In particular, we argue that while our higher cognitive functions may interact in a complicated fashion, many of the component functions operate through well-defined interfaces and, perhaps more important, are built on a neural substrate that scales easily under the control of a modular genetic architecture. Processing in the primary sensory cortices seem amenable to similar algorithmic principles, and, even for those cases where alternative principles are at play, the regular structure of cortex allows the same or greater advantages as the architecture scales. Similar genetic machinery to that used by nature to scale body plans has apparently been applied to scale cortical computations. The resulting replicated computing units can be used to build larger working memory and support deeper recursions needed to qualitatively improve our abilities to handle language, abstraction and social interaction.



A Retrospective of the AAAI Robot Competitions

AI Magazine

This article is the content of an invited talk given by the authors at the Thirteenth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-96). The piece begins with a short history of the competition, then discusses the technical challenges and the political and cultural issues associated with bringing it off every year. We also cover the science and engineering involved with the robot tasks and the educational and commercial aspects of the competition. We finish with a discussion of the community formed by the organizers, participants, and the conference attendees.


Strategic Directions in Artificial Intelligence

AI Magazine

This article was reprinted with permission from "ACM Computing Surveys: 28(4): December 1996, 653-670. This article was reprinted with permission from "ACM Computing Surveys: 28(4): December 1996, 653-670.


Strategic Directions in Artificial Intelligence

AI Magazine

This article was reprinted with permission from "ACM Computing Surveys: 28(4): December 1996, 653-670. original is available from ACM.


A Retrospective of the AAAI Robot Competitions

AI Magazine

This article is the content of an invited talk given by the authors at the Thirteenth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-96). The piece begins with a short history of the competition, then discusses the technical challenges and the political and cultural issues associated with bringing it off every year. We also cover the science and engineering involved with the robot tasks and the educational and commercial aspects of the competition. We finish with a discussion of the community formed by the organizers, participants, and the conference attendees. The original talk made liberal use of video clips and slide photographs; so, we have expanded the text and added photographs to make up for the lack of such media.


The 1996 AAAI Spring Symposia Reports

AI Magazine

The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence held its 1996 Spring Symposia Series on March 27 to 29 at Stanford University. This article contains summaries of the eight symposia that were conducted: (1) Acquisition, Learning, and Demonstration: Automating Tasks for Users; (2) Adaptation, Coevolution, and Learning in Multiagent Systems; (3) Artificial Intelligence in Medicine: Applications of Current Technologies; (4) Cognitive and Computational Models of Spatial Representation; (5) Computational Implicature: Computational Approaches to Interpreting and Generating Conversational Implicature; (6) Computational Issues in Learning Models of Dynamic Systems; (7) Machine Learning in Information Access; and (8) Planning with Incomplete Information for Robot Problems.


The 1996 AAAI Spring Symposia Reports

AI Magazine

The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence held its 1996 Spring Symposia Series on March 27 to 29 at Stanford University. This article contains summaries of the eight symposia that were conducted: (1) Acquisition, Learning, and Demonstration: Automating Tasks for Users; (2) Adaptation, Coevolution, and Learning in Multiagent Systems; (3) Artificial Intelligence in Medicine: Applications of Current Technologies; (4) Cognitive and Computational Models of Spatial Representation; (5) Computational Implicature: Computational Approaches to Interpreting and Generating Conversational Implicature; (6) Computational Issues in Learning Models of Dynamic Systems; (7) Machine Learning in Information Access; and (8) Planning with Incomplete Information for Robot Problems.


1992 AAAI Robot Exhibition and Competition

AI Magazine

The first Robotics Exhibition and Competition sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence was held in San Jose, California, on 14-16 July 1992 in conjunction with the Tenth National Conference on AI. This article describes the history behind the competition, the preparations leading to the competition, the threedays during which 12 teams competed in the three events making up the competition, and the prospects for other such competitions in the future.