A talk of Oleksii Molchanovskyi, Director of the Master’s Program in Data Science of the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU), on the topic of artificial intelligence was published by “Zbruch.” Translated excerpts follow.

Today the concept of artificial intelligence is not something new for us. However, it is only in the last decade that this theme has become popular in the media. AI is a relatively young field – its establishment dates to 1956, when Dartmouth College (USA) hosted a scholarly conference dedicated to questions of AI.  The term “artificial intelligence” was proposed by John MacCarthy in certain opposition to another very popular term of those times, “cybernetics.”

Experts emphasize that today’s AI is very lacking in two components, understanding of context and cause and effect. Let’s look at a noted example. We have an ordinary text about the anniversary of the birthday of Ivan Franko [noted Ukrainian author]. We will try to pose the following questions to the text, to which the system of artificial intelligence is unable to give an answer, because it is not able to recognize context. For example: “Is Ivan Franko alive now?” The system does not know if a human being can live so long. Or “Was Ivan Yakovych alive in 1800?” The system cannot answer this question because it does not know if Ivan Yakovych and Ivan Franko are the same person…This is a simple illustration that today’s systems of artificial intelligence will break at the first opportunity.

Also, AI today does not understand contexts and how our world functions. This is its basic problem. At the time when AI originated, scholars made many attempts to provide AI with our knowledge with the help of various semantic schemes. AI still lacks contextual and semantic information. Working on the basis of statistics, deep learning allows only a probable combination of individual essences with others. And so deep learning cannot master compositionality and the complexity of the world. AI “does not understand” cause and effect…

This text was read at the interdisciplinary seminar “Horizons of Science” on September 24, 2020, at the Ukrainian Catholic University.