Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ True voyage is return

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

The most interesting part of this post is the title, which I'll get to. In the post, Martin Weller talks about his PhD in expert systems back in the days of good old fashioned artificial intelligence (GOFAI) based on symbol systems and rule based approaches. By contrast, says Weller, "Machine learning says sod all that, lets chuck vast amounts of data and let the system derive patterns." But recently we've seen weakness in that approach, suggesting "adding in a representation of a field can tweak or filter the results of these data driven models, for example a mixing of symbolic AI with the power of LLM (large language models)." Would that work? Maybe - but it may create a mess if we simply assume the representation is the knowledge. Which brings us back to the title. The phrase 'True voyage is return' is from Ursula LeGuin and it expresses a Taoist idea that "at the end of a journey when we come back to where we began, it's only then that we can see how much we've changed." Have the proponents of GOFAI learned the lessons of their years outside the mainstream, or do they believe they are triumphantly unchanged?

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: May 18, 2024 6:20 p.m.

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