Integrated AI Systems


  • Ronald J. Brachman Cornell University
  • David Gunning Facebook AI Research
  • Murray Burke Consultant



From Shakey the Robot to self-driving cars, from the personal computer to personal assistants on our phones, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has led the development of integrated artificial intelligence (AI) systems for more than half a century. From the earliest days of AI, it was apparent that a robust, generally intelligent system should include a complete set of capabilities: perception, memory, reasoning, learning, planning, and action; and when DARPA initiated AI research in the 1960s, ambitious projects such as Shakey the Robot went after the complete package. As DARPA realized the challenges, they backed away from the ultimate goal of integrated AI and tried to make progress on the individual problems of image understanding, speech and language understanding, knowledge representation and reasoning, planning and decision aids, machine learning, and robotic manipulation. Yet, even as researchers struggled to make progress in these subdisciplines, DARPA periodically resurrected the challenge of integrated intelligent systems and pushed the community to try again. In the 1980s, DARPA’s Strategic Computing Initiative took on challenges of integrated AI projects such as the Autonomous Land Vehicle and the Pilot’s Associate. These did not succeed, but instead set the stage for the several decades of more siloed research that followed, until it was time to try again. In the 2000s, DARPA took on the integrated AI problem again with its Grand Challenges, which led to the first self-driving cars, and projects such as the Personalized Assistant that Learns, which produced Apple’s Siri. These efforts created complex, richly-integrated systems that represented quantum leaps ahead in machine intelligence. The integration of sophisticated capabilities in a fundamental way is the key to general intelligence. This is the story of DARPA’s persistent long-term support for this essential premise of AI



How to Cite

Brachman, R., Gunning, D., & Burke, M. (2020). Integrated AI Systems. AI Magazine, 41(2), 66-82.



Special Topic Articles