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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

AI winter, AI history, and history in general

For some reason I found myself reading an article on line about AI Winter. AI winter was a clickable term and suddenly I found myself in a Wikipedia article with that title. I read the story and discovered that Marvin Minsky and I had invented that term in 1980 to describe bad events for AI that we expected to happen due to unwarranted exuberance by venture capitalists.

I remember worrying about that, and even running a panel on it at an AI conference but I didn't remember inventing the term. The next day, as luck would have it, I found myself sitting in a small office with Marvin Minsky (and others). I asked him who invented the term AI Winter and he had no idea. We began to discuss the events of those days and the fallout from AI investments at that time and had fairly different views of what had happened.

All this reminded me of the column I posted here a couple of months back about Lamar Alexander and his insistence on making kids learn history. History is very nice as long as it is true. I wonder how he knows what is true.

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