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Position Paper for AAAI 2006 Fellows Symposium Kevin D. Ashley, University of Pittsburgh

Summary: Position Paper for AAAI 2006 Fellows Symposium
Kevin D. Ashley, University of Pittsburgh
Computational modeling using AI techniques has long been urged as a tool for empirically
investigating issues of interest to non-AI domain experts in a variety of fields, such as biochemistry,
medicine, law, ethics, and philosophy. AI, it was hoped, would add tools to domains already susceptible of
scientific methods, or introduce scientific methodologies to domains that never had them. When the final
history of AI is written, it will be interesting to see how well-founded these hopes have been. It may be
intriguing for interested Fellows to discuss the attempts that have been made so far, their successes and
failures, and even the criteria for evaluating their success. For instance, have the results of AI investigations
been published in non-AI research journals, have they been accepted by non-AI domain experts, to what
extent have non-AI-related funders provided support for the work, etc.?
Although my efforts of this type have achieved only modest results, I have been interested in using
AI computational models of case-based reasoning empirically to investigate semantic relationships between
abstract normative principles and fact-specific cases. Moral and legal philosophers have long observed a
dialectical relationship between them: the abstract principles inform the decisions of specific cases, but the
decisions, in turn, elaborate the principles' meaning. I thank my dissertation adviser, Edwina Rissland, for
"turning me on" to this insight a long time ago (See Ashley & Rissland, 2003, p. 31).
An article in Jurimetrics (Ashley, 2004) summarized one foray in using AI computational
modeling as an empirical methodology to investigate a normative phenomenon. In the SIROCCO program,
my former Ph.D. student Bruce McLaren and I represented over 180 ethics cases in which a professional


Source: Ashley, Kevin D. - Learning Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences