The frame problem blues. Once more, with feeling

In K. M. Ford & Z. W. Pylyshyn (eds.), The Robot's Dilemma Revisited: The Frame Problem in Artificial Intelligence. Ablex (1996)
For many of the authors in this volume, this is the second attempt to explore what McCarthy and Hayes (1969) first called the “Frame Problem”. Since the first compendium (Pylyshyn, 1987), nicely summarized here by Ronald Loui, there have been several conferences and books on the topic. Their goals range from providing a clarification of the problem by breaking it down into subproblems (and sometimes declaring the hard subproblems to not be the_ real_ Frame Problem), to providing formal “solutions” to certain aspects of the problem. But more often the message has been that the problem is not solvable except in a piecemeal way in special circumstances by some sort of heuristic approximations. It has sometimes also been said that solving the Frame Problem is not only an unachievable goal, but it is also an unnecessary one since_ humans_ do not solve it either; we simply get along as best we can and deal with the problem of planning in ways that, to use Dennett’s phrase, is “good enough for government work”.
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