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What Do You Mean by “AI”?
Pei Wang
Temple University
Philadelphia, USA
What this is about
My paper is about the definition of AI
Oh! Not again! We all have been
bored to death by this kind of
philosophical nonsense …
Why not to talk about NARS?
Why to raise this issue
… because it is an inevitable question for
every AI/AGI researcher.
A working definition of AI establishes the
goal of the research, as well as basic
assumptions and evaluation criteria.
Nobody can really do AI research without
a working definition of “AI”.
Why we should care
Many problems and debates in traditional
AI research come from confusions and
misunderstandings in research goals.
What distinguishes AGI from the current
mainstream “AI” is primarily in research
Many differences among exiting AGI
approaches origin in their concrete goals.
What we do agree
The best example of “intelligence” is
human intelligence, which comes from
the human mind.
AI should be similar to the human mind,
in some sense.
AI cannot be identical to the human
mind in all senses — AI does not aim at
“artificial person”.
What we don’t agree
In which sense AI is similar (or even identical)
to the human mind?
Structure: building brain models
Behavior: passing Turing test
Capability: solving practical problems
Function: having cognitive faculties
Principle: reaching rationality/optimality
What the difference is
Each type of working definition sets a valid
research goal, and the research produces
results of theoretical and practical values.
However, these goals and values are
different, and do not equivalent of each
other (though they are related).
They are not different trails to the same
submit, or different parts of the same
Which is the “correct” picture
Why not all together
The aspects of human mind become
separated when reproduced in
We cannot achieve all of them with the
same efficiency and easiness.
We should not rule out other forms of
What I’m not suggesting
To look for a perfect working definition of AI
at the current time — our understanding of
intelligence will surely get deeper.
To debate until we all agree on a working
definition of AI — that will not happen soon.
To treat every working definition as equally
good — their long-term values are different.
What I’m suggesting
Select your research goal carefully.
Make your working definition clear when
using “AI”.
Acknowledge alternative working
definitions when evaluating other projects.
AGI treats “intelligence” as a whole. We’ll
keep the diversity of the field, while
encourage confrontation of ideas.