CMU Silicon Valley welcomes Doug Lenat

Date/Time: December 8, 2015, 1:30 pm (PT) / 4:30 pm (ET) 

Location: CMU Silicon Valley Campus: Bldg 23, Rm 118

Open to Carnegie Mellon students, faculty, and staff only

Doug Lenat

Source: Doug Lenat

CEO of Cycorp, Inc. and prominent researcher in artificial intelligence

50 Shades of Symbolic Representation and Reasoning

The explicit semi-formal reasoning is the super-power of human beings! I believe that the most powerful AI solutions will be hybrids of right-brain "thinking fast" and left-brain "thinking slow". Even though it's implemented on a poor platform, this semi-formal "thinking slow" reasoning enables us to do powerful, even life-saving, things. Rather than abandoning the methods, AI has developed for this sort of reasoning, we have been working steadily over the past 31 to scale them. I will begin by summarizing the current state of Cyc -- where the first million researcher-hours have gotten us. We've built its knowledge base by educating it: hand-axiomatizing ten million general, default-true things about the world, maximizing its deductive closure. That led us to make the CycL representation language increasingly expressive, to introduce argumentation and context mechanisms, and so on. At the same time, we've been trying to maximize the fraction of that deductive closure which can efficiently be reached. That led us to engineer the Cyc inference engine -- a hybrid of 1050 specialized reasoners -- and to overlay that with dozens of meta-level control structures, techniques, and, yes, tricks. This talk will be one of the first times I report publicly on those roughly 100 mini-breakthroughs in representation and reasoning which we've made. I'll discuss how and why some cognitive tasks are easy for Cyc to do but difficult for neural systems, and vice versa, and examine some cases which are best addressed by a hybrid approach. The ability (versus inability) to rationalize their decisions will make near-future AI systems like autonomous cars, household robots, and automated assistants far more trusted and far more trustworthy (versus disasters which will lead to a profound new AI Winter).

Douglas Lenat received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford, investigating automated discovery based on "interestingness" heuristics, for which he received the 1977 IJCAI Computers and Thought Award. He was one of the co-founders of AAAI, and in the inaugural set of AAAI Fellows. Besides being a professor at CMU and Stanford, he was Principal Scientist at MCC, where he founded the Cyc Project in 1984 – something he dubbed "ontological engineering". At the end of 1994, he founded Cycorp, where he continues to serve as CEO. Dr. Lenat is a Fellow of the AAAS, has authored a hundred refereed papers and several books and book chapters, ranging from machine learning to knowledge-based systems, representation, and inference, and is an editor of the J. Automated Reasoning, J. Learning Sciences, and J. Applied Ontology. He is a founder and Advisory Board member of TTI Vanguard, and is the only individual to have served on the Scientific Advisory Board of both Microsoft and Apple.