Beating Common Sense into Interactive Applications

Lieberman, Henry; Liu, Hugo; Singh, Push; Barry, Barbara
December 2004
AI Magazine;Winter2004, Vol. 25 Issue 4, p63
Academic Journal
A long-standing dream of artificial intelligence has been to put commonsense knowledge into com- puters--enabling machines to reason about every- day life. Some projects, such as Cyc, have begun to amass large collections of such knowledge. However, it is widely assumed that the use of common sense in interactive applications will remain impractical for years, until these collections can be considered sufficiently complete and commonsense reasoning sufficiently robust. Recently, at the Massachusetts institute of Technology's Media Laboratory, we have had some success in applying commonsense knowledge in a number of intelligent interface agents, despite the admittedly spotty coverage and unreliable inference of today's commonsense knowledge systems. This article surveys several of these applications and reflects on interface design principles that enable successful use of commonsense knowledge.


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