As the recipient of the 2017 AAAI Distinguished Service Award, I was asked if I would contribute a piece to AI magazine. A colleague suggested I might want to share
my “recipe for success,” and I decided to take the suggestion
literally. Thus, this article is presented in the form of a recipe.
In traditional cookbook style, I give a little background, then
lay out the ingredients, and follow with some steps for putting everything together. The recipe is primarily aimed at up-and-coming researchers in the field, but there are a few notes
as well for the more advanced “cooks,” and thus I hope
everyone will consider partaking. Follow these simple steps,
and I believe that not just you, but everyone in our field, will
be able to enjoy the results.
One of the things we are taught early in our careers as scien-
tists is to avoid writing in the first person, to avoid self-pro-
motion, and to stay focused in our own areas and avoid
external involvements if we want to get promoted (especial-
ly in academe). In this article, I’m going to break the first rule,
try to stay within bounds of the second, and urge people to
break the third. I ask your forgiveness in advance.
More years ago than I would care to admit, I was a young
professor giving one of my first invited talks. The speaker
who preceded me was the already-famous Giovanni Wieder-hold of Stanford University. As he was being introduced, with
an intro that went on for quite a while — fellow of this, recipient of that, etc. — Gio leaned over and whispered to me,
“You just have to live long enough!” I hate to disagree with
Gio, a man who has been a role model for me over many
phases of my career, but now that I’m older than he was then,
and my own introduction has gotten longer, I realize he was
not quite right. Living long enough is clearly a necessary condition, but it is not sufficient. If you really want to succeed in
our field, you need to serve the profession, not just yourself.
To Serve AI
(It’s a Cookbook)
■ James A. Hendler was recognized
with the AAAI Distinguished Service
Award at AAAI- 17 for his contributions
to the field of artificial intelligence
through sustained service to AAAI and
other professional societies and through
government activities promoting the
importance of artificial intelligence
research. This article presents his recipe
for success, with advice directed to newer AI researchers (and some notes for
experienced ones as well).