Archive for October, 2019

“AI”: what’s in a name?

October 20, 2019

In spite of my near-total isolation from news media, I have noticed that references to “AI” are ubiquitous. A perusal of such material suggests that “AI” means Machine Learning, which apparently means the newly discovered technique of multilevel neural networks. While this technique is spectacularly effective, it should be realized that it still is still basically a curve-fitting exercise (albeit with a novel family of curves). The result is a tool that lacks in the transparency that is taken for granted in older methods. In this essay I explore the question whether there is any connection between “AI”, as recently featured in the non-technical media, and the Artificial Intelligence envisaged by John McCarthy, who invented the term in 1955.