Chris Riesbeck photo and contact information


I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Northwestern University. I received my Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University in 1974. My dissertation was on natural language understanding. I have done research on case-based reasoning, memory-based language understanding, and authorable intelligent systems for education. I am a co-director of The Center for Computer Science and Learning Sciences , the director of the MS program in Computer Science, and a Fellow of the American Association for Artifical Intelligence.

What is AI?

Anyone who works in Artificial Intelligence should be able to define what that means. If you Google "define:artificial intelligence", you'll see lots of definitions, mostly oriented around the notion of computers doing things that require intelligence.

These definitions are clearly inadequate, for at least three reasons:

So here's a definition of AI that gets at the heart of why we study what we do:

Artificial Intelligence is the search for the answer to the fundamental question: Why are computers so stupid?

It's left as an exercise for the intelligent reader as to why this definition addresses the three weaknesses listed above.