DLS - Hector Levesque

Hector Levesque
University of Toronto

​Two Thoughts on the Turing Test
phptp of Hector LevesqueAbstract: This year being the centenary of the birth of Alan Turing, the talk offers two thoughts on the famous Turing Test he presented in his 1950 paper. First, I will argue that the emphasis it places on externally observable behaviour is just right, contrary to objections raised by some philosophers like John Searle. Second, I will argue that the emphasis it places on the behaviour being indistinguishable from that of a person is not quite right, and I will end up proposing a behaviour test that is less demanding but also less subject to abuse. Finally, I will speculate briefly on what sort of computer system stands the best chance of ever passing such a test.

Biography: Hector Levesque received his BSc, MSc and PhD from the University of Toronto and he accepted a position at the Fairchild Laboratory for Artificial Intelligence Research in Palo Alto, and later joined the faculty at the University of Toronto where he has remained since 1984.

Research is in the area of knowledge representation and reasoning in artificial intelligence. On the representation side, he has worked on the formalization of a number of concepts pertaining to artificial and natural agents including belief, goals, intentions, ability, and the interaction between knowledge, perception and action. On the reasoning side, his research mainly concerns how automated reasoning can be kept computationally tractable, including the use of greedy local search methods.

Hector Levesque has published over 60 research papers and three books. Four of these papers have won best paper awards of the American Association of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) in 1984, 1984 again, 1992, and 2006, and two other papers won similar awards at other conferences. Two of the AAAI papers went on to receive Classic Paper awards of the AAAI, in 2004 and in 2011, and another one was given an honourable mention. In 2006, a paper written in 1990 was given the inaugural Influential Paper Award by the International Foundation of Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems.

Hector Levesque was elected to the Executive Council of the AAAI, was a co-founder of the International Conference on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, and is on the editorial board of five journals, including the journal Artificial Intelligence.

In 1985, Hector Levesque became the first non-American to receive the Computers and Thought Award given by IJCAI. He was the recipient of an E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for 1990-91. He is a founding Fellow of the AAAI and was a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research from 1984 to 1995. He was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2006, and to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011. In 2012, Hector Levesque received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Canadian AI Association.

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