What Went Wrong and Why: Lessons from AI Research and Applications

Mehmet H. Göker and Daniel G. Shapiro

Bugs, glitches, and failures shape research and development by charting the boundaries of technology; they identify errors, reveal assumptions, and expose design flaws. When a system works we focus on its input/output behavior, but when a problem occurs, we examine the mechanisms that generated behavior to account for the flaw and hypothesize corrections. This process produces insight and forces incremental refinement. In a sense, failures are the mother of necessity, and therefore the grandmother of invention.

Submitted: May 8, 2008

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