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Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence in NY Times

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UW CSE’s Oren Etzioni, CEO of Paul G. Allen’s Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2)

A phenomenal article by John Markoff in the New York Times, discussing the approaches of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, with extensive quotation of Paul G. Allen and AI2’s CEO (and UW CSE professor) Oren Etzioni.

“Mr. Allen, who noted that he came from a family of librarians, said his decision to fund an artificial intelligence research lab was inspired by the question of how books and other knowledge might be encoded to become the basis for computer interactions in which human questions might be answered more fully.

“‘AI2 was born from a desire to create a system that could truly reason about knowledge, rather than just offer up what had been written on a subject before,’ he wrote in an email interview …

“Dr. Etzioni says that the artificial intelligence field has made incremental advances in areas like vision and speech, but that we have gotten no closer to the larger goal of true human-level systems …

“‘I really don’t want a system that can’t explain itself to be my doctor,’ he said. ‘I can just imagine sitting there with Dr. Watson and the program saying, ‘Well, we need to remove a kidney, Mr. Etzioni,’ and I’m like, ‘What?!’ and they respond, ‘Well, we have a lot of variables and a lot of data, and that’s just what the model says.’ …

“At AI2 he is motivated by Mr. Allen’s view that ‘in order to be truly intelligent, computers must understand – that is probably the critical word,’ as the Microsoft co-founder put it in a 1977 interview.”

Read more here!

December 15, 2014