The Most Ambitious Artificial Intelligence Project in the World Has Been Operating in Secrecy for 30 Years

By Dylan Love

“We’ve been keeping a very low profile, mostly intentionally,” said Doug Lenat, president and CEO of Cycorp. “No outside investments, no debts. We don’t write very many articles or go to conferences, but for the first time, we’re close to having this be applicable enough that we want to talk to you.”

IBM’s Watson and Apple’s Siri stirred up a hunger and awareness throughout the U.S. for something like a Star Trek computer that really worked — an artificially intelligent system that could receive instructions in plain, spoken language, make the appropriate inferences, and carry out its instructions without needing to have millions and millions of subroutines hard-coded into it.

As we’ve established, that stuff is very hard. But Cycorp’s goal is to codify general human knowledge and common sense so that computers might make use of it.

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