Bruno Latour.  Science in Action.

This very short section speaks about the rhetoric inherent in science practice.


Reading question:

Rhetoric, pp 30-33

1 In some of the robot visionaries’ articles (such as by Bill Joy, Ron Arkin and Ray Kurzweil) there appears to be an appeal towardsargument from authority in isolated texts, just as described by Latour.  Yet these are opinion-setting pieces for systems that have not yet been built.  Is there an alternative for a more rhetorically balanced presentation of these ideas so that the readers have a fairer chance at correctly interpreting the opinions and concepts expressed?


Drew McDermott.  Artificial Intelligence meets Natural Stupidity.

McDermott’s paper certainly caused ripples when it was first published. It represents a state of mind and a snapshot of time that is of great value to revisit.

Reading question:

  1. The inflationary spiral that McDermott describes for AI in 1981—do you think this phenomenon exists in robotics today? Describe its instantiation in our field if you believe it exists.  If you believe we do not suffer from this problem, describe why you think we have managed to avoid it.

Rhetoric of Robotics is an unpublished manuscript by me. Please read it only as background. No questions required on it.