Homework 2 (Fall 2020)

Answer the following prompts in a maximum of 10 pages (excluding references) in JDF format. Any content beyond 10 pages will not be considered for a grade. 10 pages is a maximum, not a target; our recommended per-section lengths intentionally add to less than 10 pages. This length is intentionally set expecting that your submission may include diagrams, drawings, pictures, etc. These should be incorporated into the body of the paper.

If you would like to include additional information beyond the word limit, you may include it in clearly-marked appendices. These materials will not be used in grading your assignment, but they may help you get better feedback from your classmates and grader.

Question 1: ~2 pages

Prior to beginning this question, consider one of the great internet debates of our time: what is a sandwich? First, take the following list of dishes and decide whether each one is a sandwich. In your assignment, start with a list of which of these you consider sandwiches, and which you do not. If you are unfamiliar with any of these types of sandwich, you should be able to Google them and find out what they are.

BLT on white bread; hamburger; turkey and swiss on potato roll; meatball sub; tuna salad on brioche; chicken wrap; chip butty; burrito; ice cream sandwich; grilled cheese; turkey hero; ice cream taco; vada pav; toast; cheese quesadilla; toaster strudel; veggie burger; Klondike bar; egg & cheese biscuit; buttered biscuit; gyro; sushi rolls; patty melt; calzone; sloppy joe

Once you’ve labeled each of those, illustrate the process of incremental concept learning using a series of potential sandwiches. Construct a model of what a sandwich is, noting which heuristics are used to specialize and generalize the model with each additional positive or negative example. Step through the process with at least four potential sandwiches, at least two positive and two negative examples. Then, briefly note whether any of the sandwiches you did not include would make a significant difference to the model if you had chosen to go that far.

Next, attempt a classification approach to defining a sandwich. Select a number of parameters (similar to “Lays eggs?” and “Has wings?” from the bird example in the Classification lecture) that would be useful in differentiating sandwiches. We recommend considering both structure and ingredients. Then, define values for those parameters for at least six sandwiches, and then construct an abstracted classification of what a sandwich is based on those values.

Finally, answer the age old question, “Is a hot dog a sandwich?”, using each of three perspectives: the model you developed through incremental concept learning; the classifier you developed based on those parameters and their values; and a case-based reasoning approach. With regard to case-based reasoning, you need only comment on what sandwich you think would be drawn as most “similar” to a hot dog.

Question 2: ~2 pages

Consider the sentence: “Maria didn’t say I kicked the can.”

First, explain how an AI agent might use the principles of Understanding to make sense of that sentence. As part of this, provide a frame representation of this sentence.

Second, imagine that the sentence had a different emphasis placed on it. “Maria didn’t say I kicked the can”, for example, implies that while someone said I kicked the can, Maria wasn’t the one who said that. “Maria didn’t say I kicked the can” implies while Maria said I did something to the can, she didn’t say I kicked it. Emphasizing any individual word changes the implication of the sentence.

Explore how the AI agent might be able to understand how different emphases alter the meaning of the sentence. What additional knowledge or abilities would it need to have? As part of this, provide a frame representation that captures these new understandings. You must provide frame representations for at least two different interpretations of the sentence, but you may provide more.

Finally, discuss how an AI agent might be able to infer whether this sentence is to be taken literally or figuratively. How would an AI agent decide whether the statement describes a literal can or the figurative idea of putting work off for a later date?

Question 3: ~2 pages

Research the Toronto Declaration. Summarize each of its top-level sections (the Preamble, Using the Framework…, Duties of States, Responsibilities of Private Sector Actors, and Right to an Effective Remedy).

Second, analyze the trade-offs inherent to the declaration. In following the declaration, what innovations or opportunities may be lost? If the declaration were discarded, what risks would there be to citizens?

Third, determine your stance on the Toronto Declaration. What do you agree with? What do you disagree with? What would you remove, what would you keep, and what would you add?

Question 4: ~2 pages

One role that futurists predict robotics and artificial intelligence will play in the future is human augmentation. Human physical abilities may be augmented with exoskeletons or robotic implements, and human cognitive abilities may be augmented with cybernetic implants. Some futurists suggest that parts of our bodies and brains could be replaced with technological improvements.

Consider a thought experiment. There are three individuals in the future: Ethan, Sofia, and Akhila.

Ethan, a mountain climbing enthusiast specializing in conquering the highest peaks in the solar system, decides to wholly embrace the physical augmentations available at the time. First, he opts to have his legs replaced by state-of-the-art robotic legs that never tire and can run several times faster than a typical person. Then, he replaces his arms with the industry standard reconfigurable extremities, which allow him to replace his hands with other tools at will. He then is a subject in a late-stage device development for a system that replaces his digestive and respiratory systems with technological alternatives for more convenient energy storage and distribution. Finally, after an accident that irreparably damages the bones in his jaw, he replaces his own face and head with a robotic container. In the end, the only organic part of Ethan remaining is his brain, housed in an otherwise robotic body.

Sofia, on the other hand, does not opt for any bodily reconfiguration. However, as pilot of commuter starships, the demands on her attention span and working memory are extremely high. She thus undergoes a procedure that augments her frontal lobe. Several years later, new research reveals that the augmentation results in the brain increasingly relying on the implant, and thus ultimately she must have her frontal lobe and temporal lobe replaced by equivalent technological analogues. Later, to allow her to use a new generation of cybernetically-connected ship controls, she has her parietal and occipital lobes replaced; her original lobes are scanned to ensure its content is preserved in their new replacements, which also allow for direct API connections. In the end, Sofia’s entire brain has been replaced, though the content of her original brain was scanned and included in each replacement. Ethan and Sofia are opposites of one another; anything that Ethan had replaced, Sofia retained, and vice versa.

Finally, Akhila, Ethan’s mountain climbing partner as well as Sofia’s regular copilot, ultimately undergoes all the same procedures as both of her friends, in roughly the same sequence. In the end, nothing organic is left from Akhila’s original body and brain.

After all the procedures have been completed, who is still the same person they were originally? Is Ethan still Ethan? Is Sofia still Sofia? Is Akhila still Akhila? If any are not still the person they began as, at what point did they cease to be that person? Why?

Provide your answers to the above questions, and argue for your perspective. In your argument, consider the significance of the narrative: would it be different if Ethan had his entire body replaced at once, or if an entire copy of Akhila was built from a backup after a tragic accident? Your argument should not be purely opinion-based; you should provide definitions for relevant concepts regarding personhood and identity, and construct your argument from those definitions.

Submission Instructions

Complete your assignment using JDF, then save your submission as a PDF. Assignments should be submitted to the corresponding assignment submission page in Canvas. You should submit a single PDF for this  assignment. This PDF will be ported over to Peer Feedback for peer review by your classmates. If your assignment involves things (like videos, working prototypes, etc.) that cannot be provided in PDF, you should provide them separately (through OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) and submit a PDF that links to or otherwise describes how to access that material.

This is an individual assignment. All work you submit should be your own. Make sure to cite any sources you reference, and use quotes and in-line citations to mark any direct quotes.

Late work is not accepted without advanced agreement except in cases of medical or family emergencies. In the case of such an emergency, please contact the Dean of Students.

Grading Information

Your assignment will be graded on a 20-point scale coinciding with a rubric designed to mirror the question structure. Make sure to answer every question posted by the prompt. Pay special attention to bolded words and question marks in the question text.

Peer Review

After submission, your assignment will be ported to Peer Feedback for review by your classmates. Grading is not the primary function of this peer review process; the primary function is simply to give you the opportunity to read and comment on your classmates’ ideas, and receive additional feedback on your own. All grades will come from the graders alone.

You receive 1.5 participation points for completing a peer review by the end of the day Thursday; 1.0 for completing a peer review by the end of the day Sunday; and 0.5 for completing it after Sunday but before the end of the semester. For more details, see the participation policy.