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Reductio ad Absurdum: On Oversimplification in Computer Science and its Pernicious Effect on Artificial Intelligence Research

By Kristinn R. Thórisson


Abstract. The Turing Machine model of computation captures only one of its fundamental tenets – the manipulation of symbols. Through this simplification it has relegated two important aspects of computation – time and energy – to the sidelines of computer science. This is unfortunate, because time and energy harbor the largest challenges to life as we know it, and are therefore key reasons why intelligence exists. As a result, time and energy must be an integral part of any serious analysis and theory of mind and thought. Following Turing's tradition, in a misguided effort to strengthen computer science as a science, an overemphasis on mathematical formalization continued as an accepted approach, eventually becoming the norm. The side effects include artificial intelligence research largely losing its focus, and a significant slowdown in progress towards understanding intelligence as a phenomenon. In this position paper I briefly present the arguments behind these claims.

Year: 2013
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