Doug Lenat gives an invited talk at Google entitled “Truths that Aren’t (or: What is Google’s Blind Spot?)
A lot of what we “know” and say is wrong, as we try to make sense out of the cacophony of the real and online worlds. I’ll sketch a framework for errors in what we know (being ignorant or misinformed) and what we conclude from what we know (thinking illogically or too shallowly), but mercifully quickly I will move on to dozens of entertaining examples, followed by a discussion of how and why people lie. So why am I talking to you about all this? Google could be the single most significant force to make each person (and thence humanity) unimaginably smarter than they are today, but is it really on that path? We’ll lay out how it is that we as individual human beings fight and escape from ignorance and misinformation, from illogical and shallow thinking. What can Google do, that it’s not already doing or working hard on, to help people do a better job of that, to push us toward a future of HAL and the Star Trek Computer, where people are more than they are today, and away from a dystopian future like Zardoz, Brave New World, or The Time Machine where people are juvenilized Eloi? Astoundingly – I’m sure none of you saw this coming – the answer has something to do with what we’ve been working on, at Cycorp, for the past 30 years; but even if you don’t completely accept my conclusions, I think you’ll come away with a lot to think about.