Professor John McCarthy
Father of AI


What is Common Sense

There is common sense knowledge and common sense ability. Common sense knowledge includes facts about events occurring in time, about the effects of actions by the knower and others, about physical objects and how they are perceived, and about their properties and their relations to one another. An example is the fact that eggs contain a yolk and a white and a shell, how to recognize an egg, the effects of hard boiling them and the effects of dropping them. Common sense ability involves the use of common sense knowledge and the observation of the world to decide what to do to achieve one's goals. The "common" in "common sense" refers to the fact that a large amount of this knowledge and ability is common to all humans. Not much of it is understood well enough to include it in computer programs.

Download the article in PDF.