Doug Lenat has died

Doug Lenat, the brilliant mind behind the Cyc project, dedicated his life to codifying common sense in machine-interpretable form. While Cyc has been deemed a failure by many, it has endured for 40 years, a testament to its significance. Lenat’s goal of getting machines to reason about common sense is still necessary for progress in artificial general intelligence. Many AI researchers are unaware of the project, but understanding its goals and endeavors is crucial. Lenat’s work in symbolic AI, combined with the modern advancements of Large Language Models, can pave the way for a more comprehensive and trustworthy AI system. The recent publication of Lenat’s final paper, “Getting from Generative AI to Trustworthy AI: What LLMs might learn from Cyc,” encapsulates his vision and serves as a call for reconciliation between old and new methodologies.

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