Cycorp look like any other research company, striving to create newer technologies in order to sell them to other companies and make life easier for people. However, the company has revealed that they were working on a piece of advanced artificial intelligence for 30 years, keeping it a secret up until now.
They have stated that the secrecy was kept by working on their own. This means no outside investments, no debts and no news about the project of course. The information which revealed the project in question has apparently been released by Cycorp, having the project near the stage where it could be ‘applicable enough’.
People’s desire for a Star Trek-like computer, namely an artificially intelligent system that could receive instructions in plain, spoken language, without the need of millions and millions of hard-coded instructions, has been on the list of ‘to-do’ things for many companies.
However, the method of user interface in question has been stated countless times to be extremely hard to achieve. Despite the latter, Cycorp aims to do this by ‘codify general human knowledge and common sense’, having computers then make use of it. They apparently have been attempting to figure out the pieces of data humans rely on daily, the knowledge required to understand the world, and represent that in a formal manner so that machines can use to reason.
Cycorp has apparently been building this ‘brain out of software’ from scratch since 1984. The product’s name is called Cyc and it is allegedly not ‘programmed’ in the conventional sense, but more like ‘taught’. Building a computer software is more of a procedure-like approach, using flowcharts for example as guidelines and specifications on what the actual piece of software is to perform. Cycorp describes Cyc to be built more like educating a child, having to teach it things.
For example, Cyc is able to see “the white space rather than the black space in what everyone reads and writes to each other.” This gives Cyc the ability to comprehend and reason with things deemed achievable only by humans. Also, given that Cyc has a vast knowledge of everything, it could soon be installed as a normal operating system on almost everything, including robots.
The company has stated that Cyc is currently being used to teach math for sixth graders. While the program understands the math, it listens to what students have to say and performs diagnostics on their confusion. With this, it is then able to figure out what behaviour it can carry out that would be most useful in aiding them understand things.
Though teaching math is nothing special, it is just an example of what Cyc is able to do, having to emphasise its radical technique in approaching a problem and solving it based on individual and unique analytical resolutions.
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