Operating in near-secrecy for 30 years, Cycorp has been quietly working on building "a brain out of software, and they're doing it from scratch." Reportedly, the system has less in common with current programming techniques and more along the lines of teaching it to understand the way a human can.
"Any time you look at any kind of real life piece of text or utterance that one human wrote or said to another human, it's filled with analogies, modal logic, belief, expectation, fear, nested modals, lots of variables and quantifiers," Lenat said. "Everyone else is looking for a free-lunch way to finesse that. Shallow chatbots show a veneer of intelligence or statistical learning from large amounts of data. Amazon and Netflix recommend books and movies very well without understanding in any way what they're doing or why someone might like something.
"It's the difference between someone who understands what they're doing and someone going through the motions of performing something."
Cycorp's product, Cyc, isn't "programmed" in the conventional sense. It's much more accurate to say it's being "taught." Lenat told us that most people think of computer programs as "procedural, [like] a flowchart," but building Cyc is "much more like educating a child."
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