AI and the tyranny of Galen, or why evolutionary psychology and cognitive ethology are important to artificial intelligence

Concern over the nature of AI is, for the tastes many AI scientists, probably overdone. In this they are like all other scientists. Working scientists worry about experiments, data, and theories, not foundational issues such as what their work is really about or whether their discipline is methodologically healthy. However, most scientists aren’t in a field that is approximately fifty years old. Even relatively new fields such as nonlinear dynamics or branches of biochemistry are in fact advances in older established sciences and are therefore much more settled. Of course, by stretching things, AI can be said to have a history reaching back t o Charles Babbage, and possibly back beyond that to Leibnitz. However, all of that is best viewed as prelude. AI’s history is punctuated with the invention of the computer (and, if one wants t o stretch our history back to the 1930s, the development of the notion of computation by Turing, Church, and others). Hence, AI really began (or began in earnest) sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s (some mark the conference a t Dartmouth in the summer of 1957 as the moment of our birth). And since those years we simply have not had time to settle into a routine science attacking reasonably well understood questions (for example, many of the questions some of us regard as supreme are regarded by others as inconsequential or mere excursions).
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