= N =
neats vs. scruffies n.
The label used to refer to one of
the continuing holy wars in AI research. This conflict
tangles together two separate issues. One is the relationship
between human reasoning and AI; `neats' tend to try to build
systems that `reason' in some way identifiably similar to the
way humans report themselves as doing, while `scruffies' profess
not to care whether an algorithm resembles human reasoning in the
least as long as it works. More importantly, neats tend to believe
that logic is king, while scruffies favor looser, more ad-hoc
methods driven by empirical knowledge. To a neat, scruffy methods
appear promiscuous, successful only by accident, and not productive
of insights about how intelligence actually works; to a scruffy,
neat methods appear to be hung up on formalism and irrelevant to
the hard-to-capture `common sense' of living intelligences.
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.