The neats wanted the AI to model human thinking
patterns, whereas the scruffies didn't care whether it
modeled human thinking patterns or not, just as long
as it came up with the same answer.
A prof of mine
argues the scruffy position rather eloquently (paraphrased):
"When you build an airplane, you don't try to mimic a bird's
wings, you use rigid wings and a lot of thrust, because
that's what the technology we have is best at. Same thing
with AI: you cater to the computer's strengths (high-speed
calculation, persistent memory, etc) instead of trying to
replicate the human's (creative thinking, intuition, pattern
I think the scruffy approach is best suited for actually
solving real-world problems, and the neat approach is best
suited for research into how people think. (Carrying
the bird/plane analogy, we build rigid-wing aircraft to fly
people and cargo around, and ornithopters to learn about
The hell with paco, vote for Erudil!
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