Reception host speech

Reception host speech for the 14th International Conference on Logic Programming and Nonmonotonic Reasoning 

Dear Congress guests.

On behalf of the city of Espoo, as the chair of the Espoo city council, it is my honor to welcome you to this evening reception.

I know that you are having your minds full and bellies empty after a day filled of interesting program, but I hope you can spare a moment to look around this beautiful villa from the late 19th century.

We have came a long way since then, here in Espoo, in Finland, in the World, as underlined by those glass covered international head office buildings – just across the motorway.

Those hundred and some years this villa has stood, those years have seen a lot of history. Also history of science.

Many of the principles and their applications you have come here to discuss, have been painstakingly built over that century. And some.

First in abstract theory, but now, more and more in practice.

People in those glass covered head office buildings, they are looking at you and your work, looking with interest.

Not to mention, us politicians. We are looking too.

Some of us want to regulate the applications of your work. As if it were possible.

Some of us want to remove the regulations in order to facilitate new business models. As if you could rush things like that.

Some of us, just hope, to have better tools to do their job better.

You see, legislation and regulation are becoming such a quagmire that no-one is able to grasp their totality any more.

The outcomes, all too often, surprise us.

And that opens a new set of questions we face when we adopt more and more complex reasoning systems.

For example, when you walked here, you passed a metro work site. The decision to build that metro line, it was based on simulation models that predicted how the line would influence urban structure and transportation networks.

The trouble is, we were never told, what those simualtion models were based on. What kinds of reasoning they were using.

Commercial secrets, we were told.

We just had to trust them. Even though, the economical interests involved, were counted in billions of Euros.

Not just the metro line, but all the housing and retail buildings built around the metro stations.

In just two and a half months, we are going to see, how accurate … and neutral those simulation models were, when the metro line finally opens. I hope.

In the next few years, different logic programming and reasoning systems are going to find their way … just about everywhere.

That is why, now is the time to discuss, in addition to things like… Answer Set Programming… questions like transparency and accountability of such systems.

For example, modern high-speed stock trading systems have already become so complex that it is practically impossible to understand the reasoning behind their decisions.

And those trading algorithms are already responsible for more than half of international trading.

You might say, that we have already welcomed our robotic overlords. At least to the stock market.

With that thought.

Once again,

Welcome to Espoo, I hope you enjoy not only this evening, but your whole stay in Finland.

Let me propose a toast, for reasoning!SScienc

And now, food!

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