Subject: Re: standardization (Re: Lisp versus C++ for AI. software)
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1996/10/13
Message-ID: <>

[Felix Kasza]

|   Rather, I will gladly admit to my ignorance in AI matters: "successful
|   AI software"?  Does that mean there's a piece of software out there
|   that survives the Turing test and everything else you can throw at it?

no, that is not what it means.

|   I don't care what language it's written in, but unless something drastic
|   happend in the past six months, "successful AI software" is rather
|   far-out a concept.

yes, your concept of AI is rather far-out.  this cannot be attributed to
Artificial Intelligence as an area of research, however.

it is true, on the other hand, that some of the ambitious speeches were
overly optimistic and thus hurt the field over time, but they also produced
strong interest and enthusiasm in their time.  ironically, the research
produced most of the fuel used to discredit it later, by discovering just
how hard their problems were.  previously, people didn't know, and would
listen to their hype, which they did, in large numbers, even.

in moral terms: who is to blame for believing something that turns out to
be false?  my guess is that the intense hatred for AI in some quarters can
be attributed mostly to the desire to externalize the feeling of stupidity
in having believed the hype to begin with.

as a general comment: if we are to discredit all fields that have had any
hype at some point in their life that turned out to be optimistic pep talks
more than the conservative statements of truth that seems to be required of
AI by AI-haters, nothing would be left.  if we allow fields to use hype to
generate interest (as is done for Java, C++, WWW), we must allow for it in
the past, as well.  anybody can have 20-20 hindsight.

I could tell you, but then I would have to reboot you.