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Daniel C. Dennett - Cognitive Wheels - The Frame Problem Of A.I..

Daniel C. Dennett - Cognitive Wheels - The Frame Problem Of A.I..

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Atheism - Philosophy
Atheism - Philosophy

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Published by: Tracy on Feb 03, 2013
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08/07/2013

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CognitiveWheels:TheFrame Problem ofAI
In 1969 JohnMcCarthy,the mathematicianwho coined he term"ArtificialIntelligence"joined forceswith another AI researcher PatrickHayes andcoinedanother erm,"theframeproblem"It seemedo beadevilofaproblemperhapsevenamortal blowto thehopesofAI.It lookedomelike a newphilosophicalrepistemologicalroblem certainlynotanelectronicorcomputationalproblemWhatis theframe problem?In thisessay thoughtIwasprovidinginterestedbystanderswith ausefulntroduction totheproblem aswell asan accountofitsphilosophicalnterest but somepeoplen AI,including McCarthyandHayeswhooughtto know),thoughtIwas misleadingthebystanders Therealframeproblemwas not,theysaid whatIwastalkingabout.Otherswerent so sure. Imyselfnolongerhaveanyirmconvictionsabout whichproblemsare which,or even aboutwhichproblemsarereallyhardafterall-butsomethings stillobstreperouslyesistingsolution,that'sforsure.Happily,there are nowthreefollow-upvolumeshatpursuethesedisagreementshroughascinatingthicketsof controversyThe Robot'sDilemma(Pylyshyn,1987),Reasoning Agentsin aDynamicWorld(FordandHayes 1991),and TheRobot's Dilemma Revisited(FordandPylyshyn,1996).If youreadand understand hosevolumesyouwill understandjustabouteverything anybodyunderstandsabout theframeproblemGooduck.
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Onceupona timethere was robot,namedRlbyits creators. Itsonlytask was to fend foritself.Onedayitsdesignersarrangedforit to learnthat itsspare battery,itspreciousenergy supply,was lockedin a roomwith a time bomb set togooff soon. Rl locatedtheroomand thekeyto the door,and formulatedaplanto rescue itsbattery. There wasOriginally appearednHookway C.,ed.,Minds Machinesnd EvolutionCambridgeCambridgeUniversityPress 1984,pp. 129151
 
awagonin the room,and thebatterywas on thewagon,andRIhypothesizethat a certain action whichit called PULLOUT(WAGON,ROOM)would resultin thebattery beingremoved from the room.Straightwayit acted,and did succeedngettingthebatteryout oftheroom before the bomb went off.Unfortunately,however,the bomb wasalso on thewagon. RI knew that the bomb was on thewagonin theroom,but didn't realize thatpullingthewagonwouldbringthe bomboutalongwith thebattery.PoorRI hadmissedthatobviousimplicationof itsplannedact.Back to thedrawingboard."The solution is obvious,"saidthe designers."Our next robot must be made torecognizenotjusttheintendedimplicationsofits acts,but also theimplicationsabout theirsideeffects,by deducingtheseimplicationsfrom thedescriptionsitusesnformulatingitsplans."Theycalled their next model,the robot-deducer,RIDI.They placedRIDI in much the samepredicamentthatRI hadsuccumbedto,andasit too hituponthe idea of PULLOUT(WAGON,ROOM)itbegan,asdesigned,toconsider theimplicationsof suchacourse of action. It hadjustfinisheddeducingthatpullingthewagonout of the room would notchangethecolor oftheroom'swalls,and wasembarkingonaproofof thefurtherimplicationthatpullingthewagonoutwould cause ts wheels to turn more revolutionsthan therewerewheelsonthewagon-when the bombexploded.Back to thedrawingboard."We must teach t the difference betweenrelevantimplicationsand irrelevantimplications,"said thedesigners,"and teach it toignorethe irrelevant ones."Sothey developedamethod oftaggingimplicationsaseither relevantorirrelevant to theprojectat hand,and installed the methodin their nextmodel,the robot-relevant-deducer,orR2DIfor short. Whenthey subjectedR2DI to thetestthat had sounequivocallyselected ts ancestors orextinction,theyweresurprisedtosee itsitting,Hamlet-like,outside the room containingthetickingbomb,thenative hue of its resolution sicklied o'erwith thepalecast ofthought,asShakespeareandmorerecentlyFodor)hasaptly putit."Dosomething!"they yelledat it."I am,"itretorted."I'mbusy ignoringsome thousandsofimplicationsIhave determinedto be irrelevant.Justas soon as I find an irrelevantimplication,Iputit on the list of thoseImustignore,and. . ."the bomb went off.All these robot suffer from theframe problem!Ifthere is ever to be
1.Theproblemis introducedbyJohnMcCarthyand PatrickHayesin their 1969paper.The taskin whichtheproblemarises wasfirstformulatedinMcCarthy1960I amgratefulto Bo Dahlbohm,PatHayes,JohnHaugeland,JohnMcCarthy,Bob Moore,andZenon
Brainchildren
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arobotwiththe fabledperspicacityand real-timeadroitnessof R202,robotdesignersmust solve the frameproblem. Itappearsat first to beat best anannoyingtechnical embarrassment in robotics,ormerelyacuriouspuzzlefor the bemusement ofpeopleworkinginArtificialIntelligence(AI). I think,on thecontrary,that itisa new,deep epistemo-logical problem-accessible nprinciplebut unnoticedby generationsofphilosophers-broughttolightbythe novel methods ofAI,and stillfar frombeingsolved.Many peoplein AIhave come tohave asimilarlyhigh regardfor the seriousnessof the frameproblem. As one researcherhasquipped,"We havegiven upthegoalofdesigninganintelligentrobot,and turnedto the task ofdesigningagunthatwilldestroy anyintelligentrobotthatanyoneelsedesigns!"I willtryhere topresentanelementary,nontechnical,philosophicalintroduction to the frameproblem,and showwhyit is sointeresting.Ihave no solution to offer,or evenanyoriginal suggestionsfor wherea solutionmightlie. Itishardenough,Ihave discovered,justtosayclearlywhat the frameproblemis-and is not. In fact,there islessthanperfect agreementinusagewithin the AI researchcommunity.McCarthyandHayes,who coined the term,use it to refertoaparticular,narrowlyconceivedproblemaboutrepresentationthatarisesonlyfor certainstrategiesfordealingwitha broaderproblemabout real-timeplanningsystems.Others call this broaderproblemthe frameproblem-"the wholepudding,"asHayeshas called it(personalcorrespondence)-and thismaynot be mereterminological sloppiness. If"solutions"tothenarrowlyconceivedproblemhave theeffect ofdrivinga(deeper)difficultyintosomeotherquarterofthe broadproblem,wemightbetter reservethe titleforthis hard-to-cornerdifficulty. WithapologiestoMcCarthyandHayesforjoiningthosewho wouldappropriatetheirterm,I amgoingtoattemptanintroduction to thewholepudding,callingitthe frameproblem. I willtryindue coursetodescribe the narrower version of theproblem,"the frameproblemproper" ifyoulike,andshowsomethingof its relation to the broaderproblem.
CognitiveWheels
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Pylyshynorthemanyhourstheyhavespent ryingto makemeunderstandhe frameproblemItis not their faultthatso much of their instruction has still not taken.Ihavealsobenefitedreatlyromreadinganunpublishedpaper "ModelingOtange-the FrameProblem"byLarsooErikJanlert Instituteof InformationProcessingUniversityof Umea SwedenItis to behopedthat asubsequentersion of thatpaperwill soonfind itswayintoprint,since t is an nvaluablevademecumorany neophyte inadditiontoadvancingseveralnovel themes [Thishopehas beenulfilled:Janlert 1987-DCD,1997

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