Lindsay, Robert K.

Deterministic Autonomous Systems

AI Magazine

This article argues that autonomy, not problem-solving prowess, is the key property that defines the intuitive notion of "intelligent creature." The presence of these attributes gives autonomous systems the appearance of nondeterminism, but they can all be present in deterministic artifacts and living systems. We argue that autonomy means having the right kinds of goals and the ability to select goals from an existing set, not necessarily creating new goals. We analyze the concept of goals in problem-solving systems in general and establish criteria for the types of goals that characterize autonomy.