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Descartes vs AI

Posted on 6th May 2009 at 10:18 by Clive Webster with 22 comments

Clive Webster
Mark's excellent Future of AI article went up on the site recently, and reading it over it reminds me of my days back at Uni studying Philosophy, particularly René Descartes (1596 - 1650).

I'm not sure why I got into Descartes - most of modern philosophy is pedantic and dry to the point of making the reader narcoleptic - but Descartes was an interesting fellow. He was notoriously lazy, never getting up before midday, and spent most of the waking day in a dressing gown beside the fire reading. When he took a job to teach Queen Christina of Sweden he was forced to get up early to start his lessons however, and famously died of pneumonia due to the early starts.

The really interesting thing about Descartes (and the reason why I'm writing this) is because he would probably have believed that AI is impossible and that therefore anyone researching it was wasting their time.

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