Monthly Archives: November 2015

Bricks and Mortar in Human-Level Artificial Intelligence

Bricks and Mortar:

Strategic Positioning of a Long-Term, Human-Level AI Project

Bricks and Mortar
Bricks and Mortar


  • Any 10 year project needs to have a robust strategy for dealing with change during its lifetime
  • This is particularly true for a human-level AI project, as all key aspects of the field are changing dramatically
  • To date, all previous AI projects have been narrowly-focused and highly specialized: designed to achieve one goal (diagnose a disease, play chess, decide when to sell a stock, etc.)
  • Any human-level AI project, by contrast, will be orders of magnitude more complex, integrating sub-systems that will need to work together to achieve many sub-goals simultaneously, so…
  • Any human-level AI project will end up being a cooperative affair, involving many manufacturers/labs producing many specialist components. It is useful to think of these components as bricks, and the larger project as an edifice to be built
  • This heterogeneous nature will lead to novel constructs not seen in previous AI projects. Most notably, a human-level AI project will be a distributed system, not a monolithic program. Some data and third-party AI sub-systems will be called as services, not bolt-on components
  • To carry the “bricks” metaphor to its logical conclusion, a kind of highly dynamic “mortar” will also be required to bind any human-level AI project together: a mechanism that will allow the bricks to discover one another; to coordinate and sequence their activities; to recover gracefully when a component fails, gets upgraded or goes off-line; to communicate with outside sensors, AI services and data
  • The best business strategy involves developing the mortar, not the bricks

Continue reading