AAAI-98 Presidential Address: The Importance of Importance

David Waltz

Abstract


Human intelligence is shaped by what is most important to us -- the things that cause ecstasy, despair, pleasure, pain, and other intense emotions. The ability to separate the important from the unimportant underlies such faculties as attention, focusing, situation and outcome assessment, priority setting, judgment, taste, goal selection, credit assignment, the selection of relevant memories and precedents, and learning from experience. AI has for the most part focused on logic and reasoning in artificial situations where only relevant variables and operators are specified and has paid insufficient attention to processes of reducing the richness and disorganization of the real world to a form where logical reasoning can be applied. This article discusses the role of importance judgment in intelligence; provides some examples of research that make use of importance judgments; and offers suggestions for new mechanisms, architectures, applications, and research directions for AI.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1609/aimag.v20i3.1464

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