To The Editor

Back to Contents of Issue: March 2002

Our reader's comments

I THOUGHT THAT THE ARTICLE "Entering Japan: Proceed with caution, but don't wait too long... by Carolyn Sostrom (November 2001, page 40) was very well researched and provided me with some much needed insight to entering the Japan market. I plan to launch in Japan in 2002 and prior to reading this article, I would have skipped some very critical details. Thank you!

Mark Traylor
Senior consultant
Booz Allen Hamilton

I THINK THAT YOUR story on "AI" (Sam Joseph, November 2001, page 20) is an attempt to sell wishes as reality. All the researchers whom you are quoting are able to only imitate some human activities. Ask them what is 'intelligence' in a technical sense, and you will see that they don't know how to define it.

People who want to reach the ultimate goal of AI should understand that it is unreachable by designing systems based on any sort of complicated finite algorithm. One more thing: Smart machines are more dangerous then most people could imagine.

M. Zeldich

Sam Joseph replies: I would suggest that the AI story is very much not attempting to sell wishes as reality. I believe the emphasis on the entire story was that researchers didn't agree on a definition of 'artificial intelligence' (and by extension 'intelligence') and that no claim was made to suggest that any of the systems presented currently rival human intelligence. Anyone who thinks pure imitation is not of value in itself should consider carefully what the difference is between 'intelligent behavior' and 'imitating intelligent behavior.'
As for reaching the ultimate goal of AI (assuming that is replicating human-level intelligence), I agree that it will not be attained through some finite algorithm. However, much AI research now focuses on genetic algorithms and growing neural networks that are not finite algorithms. Please see my NeuroGrid project (www. as an example. One more thing: The danger is not with smart machines; the danger is with the intentions of the people who use them. The same is true of every technology -- they can be used for good or evil, for example, nuclear power.

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