Artificial Intelligence Is a House Divided

Michael Wooldridge in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

AI is a broad church, and like many churches, it has schisms.

The fiercely controversial subject that has riven the field is perhaps the most basic question in AI: To achieve intelligent machines, should we model the mind or the brain? The former approach is known as symbolic AI, and it largely dominated the field for much of its 50-plus years of existence. The latter approach is called neural networks. For much of the field’s existence, neural nets were regarded as a poor cousin to symbolic AI at best and a dead end at worst. But the current triumphs of AI are based on dramatic advances in neural-network technology, and now it is symbolic AI that is on its back foot. Some neural-net researchers vocally proclaim symbolic AI to be a dead field, and the symbolic AI community is desperately seeking to find a role for their ideas in the new AI.

More here.