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A lot of textbooks and introductory lectures typically split AI into connectionism and GOFAI (Good Old Fashioned AI). From a purely technical perspective it seems that connectionism has grown into machine learning and data science, while nobody talks about GOFAI, Symbolic AI or Expert Systems at all.

Is anyone of note still working on GOFAI?

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  • $\begingroup$ This is somewhat related to my question on the use of CD Theory (Conceptual Dependency), which would be GOFAI. After more than a week I am still waiting for an answer... so I guess that kind of also answers your question! :) $\endgroup$ – Oliver Mason Sep 13 '16 at 14:54
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Oh yeah, definitely. Just to pick one example, you have Douglas Hofstader's group at Indiana. I think most of what they do would fall under the rubric of GOFAI (or at least closer to that than the statistical machine learning stuff).

Beyond that, just go to the CORR and browse around the AI category. You'll see plenty of neural networks and probabilistic stuff, but you'll also find the papers by the folks doing symbolic processing / GOFAI as well.

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't think the work at Hofstadter's group really classifies as GOFAI. Even 30 years ago (when CopyCat was at the height of development) the work there was a novel hybrid of symbolic and subsymbolic approaches. But yes, the work there now is certainly distinct from the vogue for statistical ML. $\endgroup$ – NietzscheanAI Sep 9 '16 at 6:18
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    $\begingroup$ I mean, yeah, you can argue either side of that, but for the purpose of this discussion, I think it's fair to lump their stuff in with GOFAI. It's not like there's a really strict definition of what GOFAI means anyway. :-) $\endgroup$ – mindcrime Sep 9 '16 at 15:02
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    $\begingroup$ Yup, it's a matter of opinion. $\endgroup$ – NietzscheanAI Sep 9 '16 at 15:03
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Sure! There's the whole Semantic Web scene! OWL is derived from DLs and Frames, arguably has a lot in common with semantic networks too. Expert-driven decision support systems are still being developed (and researched) in industries where the human is required to take responsibility or getting data is not going to happen. As the ideas evolve so do the names.

Check out the academic conferences like KR, ISWC, FOIS, even broader AI conferences like IJCAI have a healthy dose of symbolic AI, I even spotted a search algorithm in the 2019 line up.

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