An article by Ben Goertzel at the H+ blog reports on the AGI-09 conference. AGI is an acronym for Artificial General Intelligence. A small group of 100 researchers met at AGI-09, favoring it over the AAAI 2008 conference which drew 1000. The reason, according to AI researcher Marcus Hutter was that, The top patriarchal AI conferences and journals have a bias towards extending established sophisticated techniques and have a high entry barrier for creative and more speculative novel approaches. Ben Goertzel put is this way:
Ask the proverbial “man on the street” what AI is about and you’re likely to hear mention of thinking machines from science fiction: C3PO and R2D2, HAL-9000, Asimov’s various creations from “I, Robot”, the Terminator, and so forth.
Ask the average AI researcher from an academic, industry or government lab, on the other hand, and you’ll hear a different story. Most AI research today has to do with quite narrow and specialized kinds of intelligent software, a far cry from the AIs in popular media – and a far cry from the dreams on which the AI field was founded.
In other words, mainstream AI research is now so far off track, that researchers actually trying to create artificial intelligence have renamed their field to avoid confusion. This is very hopeful and it sounds like the new movement is adopting new technologies and is open to new approaches. The Artificial General Intelligence Research Institute offers the AGI Wiki where you can find out more about the what going on, who's involved, and how to participate. More photos from AGI-09 can be found on flickr.