The Knowledge Level: Presidential Address

Allen Newell

Abstract


This is the first presidential address of AAAI, the American Association for Artificial Intelligence. In the grand scheme of history of artificial intelligence (AI), this is surely a minor event. The field this scientific society represents has been thriving for quite some time. No doubt the society itself will make solid contributions to the health of our field. But it is too much to expect a presidential address to have a major impact. So what is the role of the presidential address and what is the significance of the first one? I believe its role is to set a tone, to provide an emphasis. I think the role of the first address is to take a stand about what that tone and emphasis should be-set expectations for future addresses and to communicate to my fellow presidents. Only two foci are really possible for a presidential address: the state of the society or the state of the science. I believe the latter to be correct focus. AAAI itself, its nature and its relationship to the larger society that surrounds it, are surely important. However, our main business is to help AI become a science -- albeit a science with a strong engineering flavor. Thus, though a president's address cannot be narrow or highly technical, it can certainly address a substantive issue. That is what I propose to do.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1609/aimag.v2i2.99

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