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T-720-ATAI-2016 Main


Lecture Notes, F-1 12.01.2016

What this Course Is / Is not

Intelligence This course is about phenomenon we refer to as “intelligence”. A number of features of natural intelligence remain unexplained.
AGI A number of terms have been used to refer to the various aspects that people study wrt intelligence. We use the term “artificial general intelligence” in the most general sense (no pun intended), to refer to the various aspects of intelligence that allows it to deal with variety, incompleteness, and incremental information gathering.
Advanced topics The main focus of course is not the latest and greatest methods to come out of the field called “AI”. However, we will make some references to such methods along the way, and you may even learn something about them. But that is not what is meant by “advanced”.
What does “advanced” mean here? It refers to advancement toward a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of intelligence.
History The phenomenon of intelligence has been studied for ages. Some of the early notable contributions were the Greek philosophers' musings on reasoning and logic. This is not a history course, but we must make some references to the history of philosophy, AI, cybernetics and computer science along the way.

Course Overview

Lectures Every week involves lectures. Listening is good. Listening and asking questions is better. Reading the assignments, listening, and asking questions is best.
Programming assignments To enable you to get insight into principles of machine learning.
Short Essay To allow you to delve into a topic of particular interest to you.
Programming Project To give you a bit more in-depth experience in programming AGI systems.
Final Exam To try to gauge how much of the material you actually understand – how much of it you have “ingested”.

Lines of Research & High-Level Topics

Intelligence Phenomenon. Intelligence is a natural phenomenon, but may have more forms than the examples from nature (the only one that everyone agrees on to call 'intelligent': humans).
Natural Intelligence Phenomenon. Some kinds of animals are considered “intelligent”, or at least some behavior of some individuals of an animal species other than humans are deemed indicators of intelligence.
Cognitive Science The study of natural intelligence, in partuclar human.
Artificial Intelligence The study of how to make intelligent machines.
Intelligent machines Systems created by us to display (some or all) features deemed 'intelligent' when encountered in nature.
How to define 'intelligence' Many definitions have been proposed, see e.g.: A Collection of Definitions of Intelligence by Legg & Hutter.
Definitions: a word of caution We must be careful when it comes to definitions – for any complex system there is a world of difference between decent definitions and good accurate appropriate definitions.
Related quote Aaron Sloman says: “Some readers may hope for definitions of terms like information processing, mental process, consciousness, emotion, love. However, each of these denotes a large and ill-defined collection of capabilities or features. There is no definite collection of nec- essary or sufficient conditions (nor any disjunction of conjunctions) that can be used to define such terms.” (From Architectural Requirements for Human-like Agents Both Natural and Artificial by A. Sloman)

Historical Concepts

AI In 1956 there was a workshop at Dartmouth College in the US where many of the field's founding fathers agreed on the term to user for their field, and outlined various topics to be studied within the field.
GOFAI “Good old-fashioned AI” is a term used nowadays to describe the first 20-30 years of research in the field.
Cybernetics Going back to WWI the field of cybernetics claimed a scope that could easily be said to subsume AI. Many of the ideas associated with information technology came out of this melting pot, including ideas by von Neumann. However, cybernetics has since all but disappeared. Why?
AGI “Artificial general intelligence”: What we call the machine that we hope to build that could potentially surpass human intelligence at some point in the future – a more holistic take on the phenomenon of intelligence than the present mainstream AI research would indicate. Will we succeed? Only time will tell.

Key Concepts in AI

Problem A state that should be changed.
Goal The resulting state after a successful change.
Task A problem that is assigned to be solved by an agent.
Environment The constraints that may interfere with achieving a goal.
Plan The partial set of actions that an agent assumes will achieve the goal.
Planning The act of generating a plan.
Knowledge Information that can be used for various purposes.
Agent A system that can sense and act in an environment to do tasks.

Important Concepts in This Course

Methodology Present methods in AI will not suffice for addressing the full scope of the phenomenon of intelligence, as see in nature.
Attention The resulting state after a successful change.
Meta-Cognition The ability of a system to reason about itself.
Reasoning The application of logical rules to knowledge.
Learning Acquisition of knowledge that enables more successful completion of tasks.
Life-long learning Incremental acquisition of knowledge throughout a (non-trivially long) lifetime.
Transfer learning The ability to transfer what has been learned in one task to another.
Autonomy The ability to do tasks without interference / help from others.
Constructionist AI Methodology that relies heavily on human coding for building intelligent systems.
Constructivist AI Methodology that relies on systems acquiring their own knowledge.

Some (Pressing?) Questions

Isn't AI almost solved? Short answer: No!
If it's almost solved it's been almost solved for 60 years.
Should we fear AI? Short answer: No!
The threat lies with humans, not with machines – human abuse of knowledge goes back to the stone age.
Is the Singularity near? Short answer: Who's to say?
Predictions are difficult, especially about the future.
By the time the course is finished you will be in a good position to make up your own minds about this.

2016©K. R. Thórisson


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