Selman, Bart


Letter to the Editor: Research Priorities for Robust and Beneficial Artificial Intelligence: An Open Letter

AI Magazine

The adoption of probabilistic and decision-theoretic representations and statistical learning methods has led to a large degree of integration and cross-fertilization among AI, machine learning, statistics, control theory, neuroscience, and other fields. The progress in AI research makes it timely to focus research not only on making AI more capable, but also on maximizing the societal benefit of AI. We recommend expanded research aimed at ensuring that increasingly capable AI systems are robust and beneficial: our AI systems must do what we want them to do. In summary, we believe that research on how to make AI systems robust and beneficial is both important and timely, and that there are concrete research directions that can be pursued today.


Letter to the Editor: Research Priorities for Robust and Beneficial Artificial Intelligence: An Open Letter

AI Magazine

Artificial intelligence (AI) research has explored a variety of problems and approaches since its inception, but for the last 20 years or so has been focused on the problems surrounding the construction of intelligent agents — systems that perceive and act in some environment. In this context, "intelligence" is related to statistical and economic notions of rationality — colloquially, the ability to make good decisions, plans, or inferences. The adoption of probabilistic and decision-theoretic representations and statistical learning methods has led to a large degree of integration and cross-fertilization among AI, machine learning, statistics, control theory, neuroscience, and other fields. The establishment of shared theoretical frameworks, combined with the availability of data and processing power, has yielded remarkable successes in various component tasks such as speech recognition, image classification, autonomous vehicles, machine translation, legged locomotion, and question-answering systems. As capabilities in these areas and others cross the threshold from laboratory research to economically valuable technologies, a virtuous cycle takes hold whereby even small improvements in performance are worth large sums of money, prompting greater investments in research. There is now a broad consensus that AI research is progressing steadily, and that its impact on society is likely to increase. The potential benefits are huge, since everything that civilization has to offer is a product of human intelligence; we cannot predict what we might achieve when this intelligence is magnified by the tools AI may provide, but the eradication of disease and poverty are not unfathomable. Because of the great potential of AI, it is important to research how to reap its benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls. The progress in AI research makes it timely to focus research not only on making AI more capable, but also on maximizing the societal benefit of AI. Such considerations motivated the AAAI 2008–09 Presidential Panel on Long-Term AI Futures and other projects on AI impacts, and constitute a significant expansion of the field of AI itself, which up to now has focused largely on techniques that are neutral with respect to purpose. We recommend expanded research aimed at ensuring that increasingly capable AI systems are robust and beneficial: our AI systems must do what we want them to do. The attached research priorities document [see page X] gives many examples of such research directions that can help maximize the societal benefit of AI. This research is by necessity interdisciplinary, because it involves both society and AI. It ranges from economics, law and philosophy to computer security, formal methods and, of course, various branches of AI itself. In summary, we believe that research on how to make AI systems robust and beneficial is both important and timely, and that there are concrete research directions that can be pursued today.


From Streamlined Combinatorial Search to Efficient Constructive Procedures

AAAI Conferences

In recent years, significant progress in the area of search, constraint satisfaction, and automated reasoning has been driven in part by the study of challenge problems from combinatorics and finite algebra. This work has led to the discovery of interesting discrete structures with intricate mathematical properties. While some of those results have resolved open questions and conjectures, a shortcoming is that they generally do not provide further mathematical insights, from which one could derive more general observations. We propose an approach that integrates specialized combinatorial search, using so-called streamlining, with a human computation component. We use this approach to discover efficient constructive procedures for generating certain classes of combinatorial objects of any size. More specifically, using our framework, we discovered two complementary efficient constructions for generating so-called Spatially Balanced Latin squares (SBLS) of any order N, such that 2N+1 is prime. Previously constructions for SBLSs were not known. Our approach also enabled us to derive a new lower bound for so-called weak Schur numbers, improving on a series of earlier results for Schur numbers.


Risk-Sensitive Policies for Sustainable Renewable Resource Allocation

AAAI Conferences

Markov Decision Processes arise as a natural model for many renewable resources allocation problems. In many such problems, high stakes decisions with potentially catastrophic outcomes (such as the collapse of an entire ecosystem) need to be taken by carefully balancing social, economic, and ecologic goals. We introduce a broad class of such MDP models with a risk averse attitude of the decision maker, in order to obtain policies that are more balanced with respect to the welfare of future generations. We prove that they admit a closed form solution that can be efficiently computed. We show an application of the proposed framework to the Pacific Halibut marine fishery, obtaining new and more cautious policies. Our results strengthen findings of related policies from the literature by providing new evidence that a policy based on periodic closures of the fishery should be employed, in place of the one traditionally used that harvests a constant proportion of the stock every year.


The AIPS-98 Planning Competition

AI Magazine

In 1998, the international planning community was invited to take part in the first planning competition, hosted by the Artificial Intelligence Planning Systems Conference, to provide a new impetus for empirical evaluation and direct comparison of automatic domain-independent planning systems. This article describes the systems that competed in the event, examines the results, and considers some of the implications for the future of the field.


The AIPS-98 Planning Competition

AI Magazine

In 1998, the international planning community was invited to take part in the first planning competition, hosted by the Artificial Intelligence Planning Systems Conference, to provide a new impetus for empirical evaluation and direct comparison of automatic domain-independent planning systems. This article describes the systems that competed in the event, examines the results, and considers some of the implications for the future of the field.


The Hidden Web

AI Magazine

The difficulty of finding information on the World Wide Web by browsing hypertext documents has led to the development and deployment of various search engines and indexing techniques. However, many information-gathering tasks are better handled by finding a referral to a human expert rather than by simply interacting with online information sources. A personal referral allows a user to judge the quality of the information he or she is receiving as well as to potentially obtain information that is deliberately not made public. The process of finding an expert who is both reliable and likely to respond to the user can be viewed as a search through the net-work of social relationships between individuals as opposed to a search through the network of hypertext documents. The goal of the REFERRAL WEB Project is to create models of social networks by data mining the web and develop tools that use the models to assist in locating experts and related information search and evaluation tasks.


Hard and Easy SAT Problems

Classics

"We report results from large-scale experiments in satisfiability testing. As has been observed by others, testing the satisfiability of random formulas often appears surprisingly easy. Here we show that by using the right distribution of instances, and appropriate parameter values, it is possible to generate random formulas that are hard, that is, for which satisfiability testing is quite difficult. Our results provide a benchmark for the evaluation of satisfiability-testing procedures." Proc. AAAI-92.


A New Method for Solving Hard Satisfiability Problems

Classics

"We introduce a greedy local search procedure called GSAT for solving propositional satisfiability problems. Our experiments show that this procedure can be used to solve hard, randomly generated problems that are an order of magnitude larger than those that can be handled by more traditional approaches such as the Davis-Putnam procedure or resolution. We also show that GSAT can solve structured satisfiability problems quickly. In particular, we solve encodings of graph coloring problems, N-queens, and Boolean induction. General application strategies and limitations of the approach are also discussed. GSAT is best viewed as a model-finding procedure. Its good performance suggests that it may be advantageous to reformulate reasoning tasks that have traditionally been viewed as theorem-proving problems as model-finding tasks." Proc. AAAI-92.