A Popperian Falsification of AI - Lighthill's Argument Defended

by   Steven Meyer, et al.

The area of computation called artificial intelligence (AI) is falsified by describing a previous 1972 falsification of AI by British applied mathematician James Lighthill. It is explained how Lighthill's arguments continue to apply to current AI. It is argued that AI should use the Popperian scientific method in which it is the duty of every scientist to attempt to falsify theories and if theories are falsified to replace or modify them. The paper describes the Popperian method in detail and discusses Paul Nurse's application of the method to cell biology that also involves questions of mechanism and behavior. Arguments used by Lighthill in his original 1972 report that falsifed AI are discussed. The Lighthill arguments are then shown to apply to current AI. The argument uses recent scholarship to explain Lighthill's assumptions and to show how the arguments based on those assumptions continue to falsify modern AI. An iimportant focus of the argument involves Hilbert's philosophical programme that defined knowledge and truth as provable formal sentences. Current AI takes the Hilbert programme as dogma beyond criticism while Lighthill as a mid 20th century applied mathematician had abandoned it. The paper uses recent scholarship to explain John von Neumann's criticism of AI that I claim was assumed by Lighthill. The paper discusses computer chess programs to show Lighthill's combinatorial explosion still applies to AI but not humans. An argument showing that Turing Machines (TM) are not the correct description of computation is given. The paper concludes by advocating studying computation as Peter Naur's Dataology.


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