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Paperback | $20.00 Short | £13.95 | ISBN: 9780262513821 | 224 pp. | 6.1 x 9.1 in | January 2003

Do the Right Thing

Studies in Limited Rationality


Like Mooki, the hero of Spike Lee's film "Do the Right Thing," artificially intelligent systems have a hard time knowing what to do in all circumstances. Classical theories of perfect rationality prescribe the "right thing" for any occasion, but no finite agent can compute their prescriptions fast enough. In Do the Right Thing, the authors argue that a new theoretical foundation for artificial intelligence can be constructed in which rationality is a property of "programs" within a finite architecture, and their behavior over time in the task environment, rather than a property of individual decisions.

Do the Right Thing suggests that the rich structure that seems to be exhibited by humans, and ought to be exhibited by AI systems, is a necessary result of the pressure for optimal behavior operating within a system of strictly limited resources. It provides an outline for the design of new intelligent systems and describes theoretical and practical tools for bringing about intelligent behavior in finite machines. The tools are applied to game planning and real-time problem solving, with surprising results.

Contents: Limited Rationality. Execution Architectures for Decision Procedures. Metareasoning Architecture. Rational Metareasoning. Application to Game Playing. Application to Problem Solving Search. Learning the Value of Computation. Toward Limited Rational Agents.

About the Author

Stuart Russell is Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. This book builds on important philosophical and technical work by his coauthor, the late Eric Wefald.