Combinatorial explosion of knowledge
Representing all of the information relevant to an open-ended domain, or to human commonsense understanding in general, is an impossible task, because it results in a combinatorial explosion of relevant information.
The number of facts that must be encoded to scale up from a series of small, independent domains to the totality of commonsense knowledge is insurmountably large. Herbert Dreyfus (1972), James Lighthill (1973), and others.


  • Combinatorial explosion also affects the probelm of searching databases. See Combinatorial Explosion of Search, Box 58.
  • This problem has been raised in the context of the Turing test (see Combinatorial Explosion Makes the All Possible-Conversations Machine Impossible, Map 2 Box 103.
Artificial Intelligence »Artificial Intelligence
Can computers think? [1] »Can computers think? [1]
Yes: physical symbol systems can think [3] »Yes: physical symbol systems can think [3]
The Knowledge Base Assumption »The Knowledge Base Assumption
Combinatorial explosion of knowledge
Hubert Dreyfus »Hubert Dreyfus
+Comments (0)
+Citations (0)