How Many AI People Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb

[the original was posted in the early 1980s by Jeff Schrager, then a PhD student at CMU]

Q: How many Artificial Intelligence (AI) people does it take to

change a lightbulb?

A: At least 55:

The problem space group (5): [

- One to define the goal state,
- One to define the operators,
- One to describe the universal problem solver,
- One to hack the production system,
- One to indicate about how it is a model of human lightbulb changing behavior

],

The logical formalism group (16): [

- One to figure out how to describe lightbulb changing in first order logic,
- One to figure out how to describe lightbulb changing in second order logic,
- One to show the adequacy of FOL,
- One to show the inadequacy of FOL,
- One to show that lightbulb logic is non-monotonic,
- One to show that it isn’t non-monotonic,
- One to show how non-monotonic logic is incorporated in FOL,
- One to determine the bindings for the variables,
- One to show the completeness of the solution,
- One to show the consistency of the solution,
- One to show that the two just above are incoherent,
- One to hack a theorem prover for lightbulb resolution,
- One to suggest a parallel theory of lightbulb logic theorem proving,
- One to show that the parallel theory isn’t complete. …ad infinitum (or absurdum, as you will). …
- One to indicate how it is a description of human lightbulb changing behavior,
- One to call the electrician

],

The robotics group (10): [

- One to build a vision system to recognize the dead bulb,
- One to build a vision system to locate a new bulb,
- One to figure out how to grasp the lightbulb without breaking it,
- One to figure out how to make a universal joint that will permit the hand to rotate 360+ degrees,
- One to figure out how to make the universal joint go the other way,
- One to figure out the arm solutions that will get the arm to the socket,
- One to organize the construction teams,
- One to hack the planning system,
- One to get Westinghouse to sponsor the research,
- One to indicate about how the robot mimics human motor behavior in lightbulb changing

],

The knowledge engineering group (6): [

- One to study electricians’ changing lightbulbs,
- One to arrange for the purchase of the lisp machines,
- One to assure the customer that this is a hard problem and that great accomplishments in theory will come from his support of this effort (The same one can arrange for the fleecing.),
- One to study related research,
- One to indicate about how it is a description of human lightbulb changing behavior,
- One to call the lisp hackers

],

The Lisp hackers (13): [

- One to bring up the chaos net,
- One to adjust the microcode to properly reflect the group’s political beliefs,
- One to fix the compiler,
- One to make incompatible changes to the primitives,
- One to provide the Coke,
- One to rehack the Lisp editor/debugger,
- One to rehack the window package,
- Another to fix the compiler,
- One to convert code to the non-upward compatible Lisp dialect,
- Another to rehack the window package properly,
- One to flame on BUG-LISPM,
- Another to fix the microcode,
- One to write the fifteen lines of code required to change the lightbulb

],

The Psychological group (5): [

- One to build an apparatus which will time lightbulb changing performance,
- One to gather and run subjects,
- One to mathematically model the behavior,
- One to call the expert systems group,
- One to adjust the resulting system, so that it drops the right number of bulbs

].