In July 2001, a young Australian writer of fiction was asked to help envision the next generation of intelligent reasoning systems. She was an unlikely candidate. At the age of 27, she was preoccupied with storytelling, testing her acting abilities in semi-professional theatre and toying with plots for a science fiction novel. In search of ideas for future inventions, she attended a conference on ‘Symmetry: Art and Science’, planning to audit the event for a day. She didn’t realise that a wellfunded systems architect was scouting the forum, looking for novel approaches to a longstanding problem in computer science.



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