Grokbase Groups Perl ai August 2001
FAQ
All:
Luckily I carry a spare fire extinguisher to put out little flames. Anyways (I’m not a moderator in any sort) but I was wondering
if we could shift topics in this direction:

Although I have been subscribed to this list for quite some time, I must confess that I have no earthy idea about AI’s. I primarily
focus on doing cgi programming, and although I do that fairly well for my little website, I find the possibilities of the work that
you guys present do exciting (not to mention I envy you for having such fun jobs). Of course, my skewed understanding of AI derives
from sci-fi movies and much pop culture. So, this is a simple and painless question (I hope!): In what direction is the majority of
this field moving as far as research is concerned? I remember that Mr. Williams released his latest categorize module not to long
ago. Are “you” pushing for automatic recognition and categorization (like Mr. William’s) or a broader ability to adapt and learn
(like the more recent movie, The Matrix, horrifies)? And if so, what kind of application do you personally hope for this newfound
technology (of course limitless possibilities exist, but all software has a desired implementation). Or is there another aspect to
this field altogether?

Warm regards,
Joe Schulman

P.S. This question is first and foremost a fire extinguisher to shift topics, but don’t misunderstand: I really do enjoy this field
and eagerly follow your success.

Search Discussions

  • Paris Sinclair at Aug 11, 2001 at 1:23 am

    On Fri, 10 Aug 2001, Joe Schulman wrote:

    So, this is a simple and painless question (I hope!): In what direction is the majority of
    this field moving as far as research is concerned?
    The group, as usual in AI, is following silly dead ends that come out of
    CS, which has it's base in math. Even when doing things with the word
    "genetic" in the name, they still are using math theory instead of turning
    to biology. So, not having any idea of what is being done in AI makes you
    fully qualified to do good work in the field. :)

    --Paris
  • Ken Williams at Aug 11, 2001 at 2:29 am

    Joe Schulman wrote:
    I primarily focus on doing cgi programming, and although I do that
    fairly well for my little website, I find the possibilities of the work
    that you guys present do exciting (not to mention I envy you for having
    such fun jobs).
    Don't assume that it has anything to do with my job. =) In fact, for
    the past couple of years even Perl has had very little to do with my
    job. Perl is mostly a recreation thing for me right now.
    Of course, my skewed understanding of AI derives from sci-fi movies and
    much pop culture. So, this is a simple and painless question (I
    hope!): In what direction is the majority of this field moving as far
    as research is concerned? I remember that Mr. Williams released his
    latest categorize module not to long ago. Are “you” pushing for
    automatic recognition and categorization (like Mr. William’s) or a
    broader ability to adapt and learn (like the more recent movie, The
    Matrix, horrifies)?
    Funny, I thought it looked kind of neat...
    And if so, what kind of application do you personally hope for this
    newfound technology (of course limitless possibilities exist, but all
    software has a desired implementation). Or is there another aspect to
    this field altogether?
    In the spirit of Socrates (and to qualify myself according to Paris
    Sinclair's criteria :-), I'll also claim that I really don't know
    anything about AI either. My academic background is in other stuff
    (math & music), and I don't do AI professionally. Furthermore, IMO the
    subject "AI" isn't really a subject which can be defined very succinctly
    anyway. Several times I've heard a definition of AI that I like: "AI is
    the study of any process we don't understand. Once we understand it,
    it's no longer an AI topic."

    Many people in "the public" think of AI as a bunch of people trying to
    make a robot that can think like a human, but there's no way people can
    do that until they can solve other, much smaller problems like "whether
    that thing in front of the camera is an egg or a baseball". The most
    famous criterion for "success" in AI is the Turing Test, but people
    don't seem to be thinking about that much anymore, because it's not
    clear how many people you'd have to fool in order to pass the test.
    Also, the most successful Turing Test programs to date have been
    decidedly un-interesting, consisting of just a bunch of set patterns of
    responses to set patterns of input.

    Many researchers seem to eschew the term "AI", and describe their work
    more specifically by application (Machine Learning, Natural Language
    Processing, Scheduling, etc.) or mechanism (Neural Networks, Bayesian
    Inference, Decision Trees, etc.). Of course, these areas are neither
    disjoint nor orthogonal.

    Personally, I've been enjoying learning categorization methods just
    because I think they're neat, and because they have broad applicability
    to lots of problems. I don't mention it in the AI::Categorize docs yet,
    but categorization methods can certainly be applied to problems other
    than text documents - one current application is in genomics, where
    people need some heavy methods to deal with massive amounts of unseen
    data that they can't afford to process manually.

    In my experience, many of the ideas people work with are quite simple at
    their core, but can get very complicated when working out the details.
    For example, a neural network is a simple concept - just connect a bunch
    of nodes to each other and aassign weights to the connections, then
    learn the best weights to produce a certain output - but when you try to
    nail down the fuzzy stuff in that concept and actually implement things
    that do their job effectively, it can take a lot of paper-reading and a
    lot of trial-and-error.

    I didn't mean to write such a tome, but there you have it.


    ------------------- -------------------
    Ken Williams Last Bastion of Euclidity
    ken@forum.swarthmore.edu The Math Forum
  • Rick Rankin at Aug 11, 2001 at 3:13 am
    Your mother wears army boots. (Actually I used to go out with a girl whose
    mother did wear army boots).
  • Sean M. Burke at Aug 11, 2001 at 5:03 am

    At 09:31 PM 2001-08-10 -0500, Ken Williams wrote:
    [...] Several times I've heard a definition of AI that I like: "AI is
    the study of any process we don't understand. Once we understand it,
    it's no longer an AI topic." [...]
    Yes, in my eternal lexicographic quest for a good definition of "AI",
    /that/ is the only one I've stumbled on that strikes me as insightful.

    Daniel Hillis uses roughtly that definition in an interview with him, at:
    http://freshair.npr.org/dayFA.cfm?display=day&todayDate=10%2F26%2F1998
    Select the Real Audio ("Listen...") link, and then fast forward to about
    11:30.
    Among the examples of things people called AI, and are ceasing to call AI
    (because we understand it), are: voice recognition, spelling correction,
    and computer vision.

    (The one about AI being about "getting to do computers to do things that in
    a human would require intelligence" is not quite as useful, I think.)


    There's also a new(ish) sense of "AI" (which I thought /very/ strange when
    I first ran into it), to mean what I remember previously being called
    "strategy" -- basically the code that has things in a game acting
    intelligently. I.e., you shoot at the monster, and it's supposed duck to
    avoid getting hit. I'd consider "AI", in the old sense, applicable to
    situations where you want the computer to be a clever opponent in a game of
    strategy (chess, go, things that seem to require game-tree-like analysis
    but that then need heuristics to prune the game tree, etc). But it seems a
    bit of a stretch to me to apply "AI" (in the old sense) to the code that
    says little more than "monsters should duck when someone in their field of
    vision starts to point a gun at them; oh, and keep moving, but don't try to
    walk thru solid objects".

    But it's understandable how that usage (presumably) got started: graphics
    and sound programmers working on commercial games needed someone to make
    the monsters move and duck, and someone told them that that's what you use
    AI for!
    (cf http://www.gamasutra.com/features/19981120/gameai_01.htm etc)
    This probably sounded plausable to them (in my experience, commercial game
    programmers are happy to think that anything not centered on bitwise-AND
    operations is probably AI, and therefore Not Their Problem), and they
    applied the term to whatever made the monsters move, regardless of whether
    it was ten dumb lines of C, or a whole complicated neural net system
    written in embedded Icon that eats 30% of processor resources.

    Ahwell, it's in established jargon now, thus enabling whole generations of
    people who play inane games involving a first person shooter to bitch about
    "this crappy AI! The monsters just keep trying to walk thru walls! AI SUCKS!".


    --
    Sean M. Burke sburke@cpan.org http://www.spinn.net/~sburke/
  • Peter Barnett at Aug 13, 2001 at 7:25 pm
    Joe,

    Most of the time when you mention AI, people roll their eyes and think of
    sci fi. To a large extent it is still a somewhat discredited field in the
    computer industry.

    Personally, I think that it's time has come or will be coming shortly.
    Computers are becoming powerful enough to begin to handle the complexity
    that "intelligent design" requires. Expert systems have been around for a
    long time and databases of all sorts of information are well established.
    The next "breakthrough" in my humble opinion will be interactive and
    learning algorithms which will reduce the high maintenance that all current
    AI systems require. Perl's almost limitless flexibility with text
    processing and pattern recogition make it my choice as a language to
    achieve the goal of an interactive self programing algorithm.

    Real world applications are search engines, web site navigational
    assistants and program tutors. "Ask Jeves" is similar to what I envision,
    but almost all the work of that application is done by a team of persons.
    Ah, I am dreaming but I continue to believe it can be done. Time will
    tell.

    - Peter
  • Joe Schulman at Aug 13, 2001 at 9:51 pm

    I am dreaming but I continue to believe it can be done. Time will
    tell.
    Dreams are the needed foundation for reality. I too can't wait until a
    search engine finally finds exactly what I want.

    Joe

    P.S. Norton Antivirus is the best =)
  • Lee Goddard at Aug 14, 2001 at 9:37 am

    I am dreaming but I continue to believe it can be done. Time will
    tell.
    Dreams are the needed foundation for reality. I too can't wait until a
    search engine finally finds exactly what I want.
    The main problem most users seem to have (and I bet you $100 this
    is what any study will show) is describing what they want. When
    I manage that, Google works just fine.
    P.S. Norton Antivirus is the best =)
    Didn't catch Melissa as quickly as the Russian programs (AVX)!!!

    lee goddard

Related Discussions

Discussion Navigation
viewthread | post
Discussion Overview
groupai @
categoriesperl
postedAug 10, '01 at 11:47p
activeAug 14, '01 at 9:37a
posts8
users7
websiteperl.org

People

Translate

site design / logo © 2021 Grokbase