Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rube Goldberg and Factual Proof in Legal Settings

My abstract for a One-Day Workshop on AI & Evidential Inference in Conjunction with ICAIL 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 10, 2011:

Peter Tillers, "A Rube Goldberg Approach to Fact Investigation, Evidential Inference, and Factual Proof in Legal Settings"

There is no single logical or analytical process that characterizes effective human deliberation about ambiguous, incomplete, and inconclusive evidence about facts. Some or many of the early proponents of AI knew this: They knew or believed that intelligent creatures -- like those who possess mechanisms like our neural brains -- have a variety of distinct information processing mechanisms (e.g., sensory mechanisms, mechanisms for storing sensory data, etc.) that are clumped together and that, taken together, somehow manage to generate sweet inferential and epistemic music. The work that I did with David Schum led me to an analogous conclusion: Investigating factual hypotheses and drawing inferences about factual hypotheses involve a variety of disparate marshaling processes that, despite their distinctiveness (or, perhaps one might even say, incommensurability), work together in a way not specifiable by any kind of recipe or strict logic to produce elegant and frequently accurate factual inferences. However, it does not follow and it is not true that structured deliberation about evidence is pointless.

The dynamic evidence page

It's here: the law of evidence on Spindle Law. See also this post and this post.