Interacting With the Common Sense Computer

For a sense of how Cyc interacts with a user, here are parts of a conversation with the program on the subject of the potential for war between India and Pakistan.

User: Who might India attack?

Cyc: Please clarify: (1) Who is India able to attack? (2) Who is India likely to attack?

User: (2).

Cyc: Pakistan.

User: Please explain.

Cyc: Pakistan and India are enemies. India has the capability to attack Pakistan.

User: What type of weapons might India use?

Cyc: Conventional weapons, nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons.

User: Would India use biological weapons to attack Pakistan?

Cyc: Possibly yes because India possesses biological weapons and Pakistan is an enemy of India. Possibly no because India is a party to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.

User: What else do you know about India?

(Cyc lists 1,800 pieces of information, such as that Myanmar is east of India and India consumed 311 million tons of coal products in 1995.)

Cyc's programmers decide to use this as an opportunity to teach it a general rule of thumb, one that may not be accurate but serves the purpose of the exercise.

User: If x is close to y, x will usually not use biological weapons against y.

Cyc: Please clarify: By "close to" do you mean (1) similar to (2) biologically related to (3) very friendly with (4) borders on (5) located nearby.

User: (4).

Cyc: OK.

User: Would India use biological weapons to attack Pakistan?

Cyc: Possibly not because India borders Pakistan and if x borders y, x will usually not use biological weapons against y.