AI History: Expert Systems
panelist: Randall Davis, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT
panelist: Bruce G. Buchanan, Department of Computer Science, University of Pittsburgh
panelist: Edward Feigenbaum, Department of Computer Science, Stanford University
moderator: David C. Brock, Computer History Museum
published: Aug. 23, 2017, recorded: February 2017, views: 1778
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A New York Times Magazine article recently announced “The Great A.I. Awakening”: The rise of Recognition Systems based on machine learning methods and neural networks, and their use by commercial firms. This view predominates inside and outside of the AI community. Yet this view neglects AI's previous awakenings. In 1985, Allen Newell, AAAI's first President, wrote: “There is no doubt, as far as I am concerned, that the development of expert systems is the major advance in the field during the last decade.... The emergence of expert systems has transformed the enterprise of AI.” Further, Computerworld reported that, “Recent advances in expert systems are putting society at the brink of a massive application of artificial intelligence.” From, roughly, 1970 to 1993, Expert Systems captivated the AI community and public as do today's Recognition Systems. Expert Systems technology was absorbed by the software industry, omnipresent but unnoted in contemporary software. What is the history of Expert Systems, and how does it inform the development of machine learning and neural networks today? Join a panel of former AAAI presidents — all major contributors to the expert systems story — for insights and perspectives.
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