WillWare writes "There has recently been released a partially open-sourced version of the Cyc artificial intelligence program. Information can be found at http://www.opencyc.org/. Cycorp, the commercial venture that developed Cyc, writes the following on the benefits of this release.
From this point forward, real-world common sense can be expected to play an integral part of software applications. For the first time, the world's only large-scale, task-independent, language-independent, extensible, reusable, common-sense knowledge base is being made available to the world. Beginning now, software can become increasingly and arbitrarily smarter.
They expect the following benefits for themselves.
To establish Cyc as the standard for knowledge representation, for knowledge management, for data base integration, and in general for intelligent software applications. Also, the release of OpenCyc will help lay the groundwork for the massively parallel effort to rapidly grow the Cyc [knowledge base]… OpenCyc will raise awareness for symbolic knowledge representation. It will also create opportunities for combining symbolic and rule-based systems with other technologies, such as neural networks, planning systems, machine learning and genetic algorithms.
One might expect that the most MNT-relevant AI programs will look more like CAD programs than common-sense databases, at least in the near future. Where the Cyc technology would have an advantage would be in addressing problems that are not already well formulated and well studied. Perhaps a Cyc-based program could be a good researcher, or a good economic or political advisor, or would fare better in meeting the unexpected challenges that might be encountered on a long term space mission than a more clearly goal-specific program. In any event, it's an interesting development, and it will be intriguing to see what is done with the open-source release."