An interesting presentation by Doug Lenat, AI pioneer and founder of cycorp, at google.
Cyc plans to feed all the information in the world into a computer, and then let the computer use first order logic to reason with the information to answer questions. Now before we go all 2001 over this, its interesting that Lenat has been working at it for over twenty years, and the system can now answer questions like 'Is President Bush inhaling or exhaling right now?' correctly, with an 'I don't know'.
To be fair, some of the examples in the presentation are impressive, but is it a victory for AI, or for Moore's law? I am not a great fan of the Deep Blue approach to AI problems. It seems the way to solve an AI problem is to destroy it.
On the other hand, Lenat does point out a very serious problem with gradual learn-by-experience approaches: a Catch-22 situation where the less the system already knows, the harder it is for it to learn further or evolve. So classical AI might be a good bootstrap to give learning systems a headstart. That is actually a very good idea, and I haven't seen anyone doing that.