We have AI as a field mostly just because of long, aggressive funding by DARPA, early on especially of the MIT AI Lab. Since then DARPA has funded the prize where computer controlled cars chase across a desert. It appears that some people at DARPA are hoping that something good happens from their funding. Tough to say something good will never happen! If something okay leaks out of the research, then some lives of some US soldiers might be saved and, by now, may have already. In that case, good. DARPA is likely some of the very best money spent, even if for some years the work looks weak. At least with the money so far, a lot of quite bright people have TRIED to make progress in AI.
Some years ago, I was one of three researchers in an AI group that did some of the world's best AI work. I had two conclusions: (1) For the practical progress desired now, just use 'traditional' approaches of (A) see problem, (B) analyze problem, (C) find assumptions can make about the problem, (D) do some math starting with the assumptions, (E) take the conclusions of the math as progress on a solution, (F) use the best of what have to wrap up the best solution can see. (2) For the AI part, so far "We dance 'round in a ring and suppose while the secret sits in the middle and knows.".