Some philosophical problems from the standpoint of artificial intelligence


We may regard the subject of artificial intelligence as beginning with Turing's article'Computing Machinery and Intelligence' (Turing 1950) and with Shannon's (1950) discussion of how a machine might be programmed to play chess. In this case we have to say that a machine is intelligent if it solves certain classes of problems requiring intelligence in humans, or survives in an intellectually demanding environment. However, we regard the construction of intelligent machines as fact manipulators as being the best bet both for constructing artificial intelligence and understanding natural intelligence. Given this notion of intelligence the following kinds of problems arise in constructing the epistemological part of an artificial intelligence: I.



It is possible to render any theory decidable in a trivial way by invoking a time cutoff on reasonings and having a default mechanism for deciding the values of any expressions still not decided. There does not seem to be any way of avoiding the conclusion that the basic theory must admit an efficient theorem-proving procedure which is close to being a decision procedure. This is what the well-known unification algorithm achieves (Robinson 1965, Prawit11960). By Quine's dictum, anyone who advocates the inclusion of set theory in his theory must admit to the view that sets exist: and set theory is widely held to be at the basis of all of mathematics.

Programs with common sense


This is the first clear call for the separation of knowledge and inference procedure in AI. In this paper McCarthy advocates using predicate logic as a declarative representation of knowledge and first-order logic as the inference procedure.Additional notes on this landmark paper at's comments in the discussion section from the conference are also interesting:"PROF. Y. BAR-HILLEL: Dr. McCarthy's paper belongs in the Journal of Half-Baked Ideas, the creation of which was recently proposed by Dr. I. J. Good. Dr. McCarthy will probably be the first to admit this. Before he goes on to bake his ideas fully, it might be well to give him some advice and raise some objections. He himself mentions some possible objections, but I do not think that he treats them with the full consideration they deserve; there are others he does not mention.For lack of time, I shall not go into the first part of his paper, although I think that it contains a lot of highly unclear philosophical, or pseudo-philosophical assumptions. I shall rather spend my time in commenting on the example he works out in his paper at some length. Before I start, let me voice my protest against the general assumption of Dr. McCarthy -- slightly caricatured -- that a machine, if only its program is specified with a sufficient degree of carelessness, will be able to carry out satisfactory even rather difficult tasks."In Proceedings of the Symposium on the Mechanization of Thought Processes, National Physical Laboratory 1:77-84