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The fifth generation fallacy : why Japan is betting its future on artificial intelligence

Author: J Marshall Unger
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 1987.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
For several years a great deal of attention has been focused on Japan's highly publicized Fifth Generation Project, a research program aimed at the development of "intelligent" computers that can think like human beings. It has been claimed that such machines are the technology of the future, and that whoever gets them first will emerge as the new leader of the world economy. In this fascinating new book, J.  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Unger, J. Marshall.
Fifth generation fallacy.
New York : Oxford University Press, 1987
(OCoLC)575622694
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: J Marshall Unger
ISBN: 019504939X 9780195049398
OCLC Number: 14413404
Description: x, 230 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Contents: Linguistics and Orthography --
Current Writing Practice in Japan --
Kana and Romanization --
Page Layout --
Kanji --
Practical Consequences of a Large Character Set --
Alphabetization --
The Book Trade --
Typing and Computer Input --
Data Processing --
Politics and Culture --
The Price of Tradition --
Kanji and Literacy --
Political Maneuvering --
Confusing Language with Writing --
Cultural Independence --
A Conflict of Technologies --
Kanji and AI --
Can Intelligence Be Artificial? --
Kanji as Counterexample --
The Risk of Waiting --
Three Contradictions --
Economics and Technology --
The Importance of Efficient Input --
Inscriptive Input --
Transcriptive Input --
Descriptive Input --
Alternative Approaches --
Costs --
The Fifth Generation Project --
Concern over Kanji --
Productivity Crises --
Misunderstandings --
Where Is the Project Today?
Responsibility: J. Marshall Unger.
More information:

Abstract:

For several years a great deal of attention has been focused on Japan's highly publicized Fifth Generation Project, a research program aimed at the development of "intelligent" computers that can think like human beings. It has been claimed that such machines are the technology of the future, and that whoever gets them first will emerge as the new leader of the world economy. In this fascinating new book, J. Marshall Unger reveals that the West has completely misunderstood Japan's interest in Artificial Intelligence. Contrary to the common view of Japan's unassailable superiority in technology and business, perpetuated recently by popular books like Japan as Number One, Unger shows that Japanese researchers are less concerned with economic coups than with solving a fundamental problem concerning their notoriously difficult written language and the challenges it poses for computer technology. The complex mixture of Chinese and phonetic characters that make up the script can only laboriously be typewritten and so are resistant to one of the most basic of computer functions -- entering data into the machine's memory banks. Outlining the bewildering complexity of the Japanese script, which tested the limits of human intelligence even in bygone eras, Unger describes how in the modern age it has been the cause of disturbingly low levels of white-collar productivity and a surprisingly high degree of incomplete literacy in Japan. He goes on to demonstrate convincingly not only the ultimate incompatibility of the script with existing computer technology but also the futility of the hope that AI, the goal of the hugely expensive Fifth Generation Project, will rescue the Japanese from this problem. He also explores the emotionally laden cultural mythology underlying Japanese resistance to script reform, which he points out is the obvious engineering solution to the drive to integrate computers into Japanese society. He concludes that the Japanese push towards AI and their refusal to acknowledge these fundamental facts about their writing system are intimately related and largely explain why Japan has been the first nation to spend vast amounts of money on AI research.--Publisher description.

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