Why Has Artificial Intelligence Failed? and How Can it Succeed?

John F. Sowa


Abstract. In the 1960s, pioneers in artificial intelligence made grand claims that AI systems would surpass human intelligence before the end of the 20th century. Except for beating the world chess champion in 1997, none of the other predictions have come true. But AI research has contributed a huge amount of valuable technology, which has proved to be successful on narrow, specialized problems. Unfortunately, the field of AI has fragmented into those narrow specialties. Many researchers claim that their specialty is the key to solving all the problems. But the true key to AI is the knowledge that there is no key. Human intelligence comprises every specialty that anyone in any culture or civilization has ever dreamed of. Each one is adequate for a narrow range of applications. The power of human intelligence comes from the ability to relate, combine, and build on an open-ended variety of methods for different applications. Successful AI systems require a framework that can support any and all such combinations.


Artificial intelligence, natural language processing, machine translation, Turing test

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