Hubert Dreyfus has been a critic of artificial intelligence research since the 1960s. In a series of papers and books, including Alchemy and AI (1965), What Computers Can’t Do (1972; 1979; 1992) and Mind over Machine (1986), he presented a pessimistic assessment of AI’s progress and a critique of the philosophical foundations of the field. Dreyfus’ objections are discussed in most introductions to thephilosophy of artificial intelligence, including Russell & Norvig (2003), the standard AI textbook, and in Fearn (2007), a survey of contemporary philosophy.
Dreyfus argued that human intelligence and expertise depend primarily on unconscious instincts rather than conscious symbolicmanipulation, and that these unconscious skills could never be captured in formal rules. His critique was based on the insights of moderncontinental philosophers such as Merleau-Ponty and Heidegger, and was directed at the first wave of AI research which used high levelformal symbols to represent reality and tried to reduce intelligence to symbol manipulation.
When Dreyfus’ ideas were first introduced in the mid-1960s, they were met with ridicule and outright hostility. By the 1980s, however, many of his perspectives were rediscovered by researchers working in robotics and the new field of connectionism—approaches now called “sub-symbolic" because they eschew early AI research’s emphasis on high level symbols. Historian and AI researcher Daniel Crevierwrites: “time has proven the accuracy and perceptiveness of some of Dreyfus’s comments.” Dreyfus said in 2007 “I figure I won and it’s over—they’ve given up.”
- READ THE ‘ALCHEMY AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE’ PAPER AND DECIDE FOR YOURSELF