Eye on the Prize

  • Nils J. Nilsson


In its early stages, the field of AI had as its main goal the invention of computer programs having the general problem-solving abilities of humans. Along the way, a major shift of emphasis developed from general-purpose programs toward performance programs, ones whose competence was highly specialized and limited to particular areas of expertise. In this article, I claim that AI is now at the beginning of another transition, one that will reinvigorate efforts to build programs of general, humanlike competence. These programs will use specialized performance programs as tools, much like humans do.