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Artificial Intelligence Is a House Divided


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Credit: Michael Morgenstern / The Chronicle of Higher Education

Michael Wooldridge is the head of the department of computer science at the University of Oxford. 

The sun is shining on computer science right now, especially the subfield of artificial intelligence. Not a day goes by without the press breathlessly hailing some new miracle of intelligent machines. Eye-watering amounts of money pour into AI, and new technology empires are being forged before our eyes.

AI, from the outside, must appear a happy ship. But look a little closer, and you'll see that all is not well in the field. AI is a broad church, and like many churches, it has schisms.

The fiercely controversial subject that has riven the field is perhaps the most basic question in AI: To achieve intelligent machines, should we model the mind or the brain? The former approach is known as symbolic AI. The latter approach is called neural networks. Some neural-net researchers vocally proclaim symbolic AI to be a dead field, and the symbolic AI community is desperately seeking to find a role for their ideas in the new AI.

From The Chronicle of Higher Education
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