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8 - Is AI special in regard to its methodology?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 May 2010

Derek Partridge
Affiliation:
University of Exeter
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Summary

Needham sets out the view that AI has nothing special about it (except perhaps an unhealthy concern with being special). He compares AI to chemical engineering and finds that there are no real differences, and concludes that we should get on with what is essentially engineering and cease worrying about ‘foundations.’

Sparck Jones explores the nature of programs as experiments in AI, and comes to the conclusion that if we view AI programming as an engineering type of enterprise, we obtain an appropriate interpretation of events. In particular, she examines the idea of adequacy of AI programs, which is rather different from the notions of correctness that software engineers normally associate with their programming endeavours.

Finally, we have reprinted McCarthy's Presidential message to the American Association for AI (AAAI). He laments the lack of agreed standards for evaluating AI research. AI is special in the sense that it claims to be a science and yet the research methodology is undefined (or illdefined) in a number of critical places. In particular, he argues that we need standards for evaluating research results in AI.

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The Foundations of Artificial Intelligence
A Sourcebook
, pp. 267 - 268
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1990

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