3. Artificial Intelligence

My claim to have had any ideas of interest which properly belong to the field of Artificial Intelligence is moot. The idea of artificial intelligence has nevertheless been significant in influencing the direction of my thought in other areas which do not properly belong to it, particularly in relation to foundational matters (primarily of mathematics and of abstract semantics) both philosophical and philosophically motivated technical work, and many other aspects of my philosophical thinking. The advent of intelligent artefacts, the engineering of cognitive machines, will of course have a profound effect upon all aspects of our lives. The presumption that this will happen is closely coupled to my interest in the mechanisation of mathematics (which does not depend upon artificial intelligence but lays the ground for a certain kind of artificial intelligence as well as benefiting from it).

So I will here mention, not just the few ideas which belong to artificial intelligence, but also the ways in which these ideas have influenced my thought in foundational and philosophical matters.

I like to think about the big picture, and have considered a number of different perspectives on that big picture.

For me this involves thinking about the distant future and the relationship between natural and artificial intelligence in that context. In the latter part of my life it has seemed natural to construe this in the context of pervasive networked computing, in which intelligence is a characteristic of the whole, as well as of many of its parts. In which it becomes decreasingly possible to localise any particular capability.

This networked intelligence is sometimes called the Global Brain a term coined in 1982 by Peter Russell [Rus82].

Data compression as AI (Section [*]).
Logic for Problem Solving.
AI for Decision Support.
Knowledge Bases and Combinatory Logic.

There is now an interlude in which my interest in logic is not much related to AI, and is directed professionally towards high assurance systems development and foundational issues which arise in that context. This is approximately a decade from 1986.

Towards the end of this decade, as the formal methods business declined, my interest in philosophy grew, and my interest in logic was freed from its direction towards contemporary high assurance systems development. From this two principal effects may be mentioned.

The first was that I thought more freely (much further into the future) about how logic and its automation could contribute to systems development. The application of formal methods to the development of high assurance IT systems.

Roger Bishop Jones 2016-01-07