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Artificial Intelligence

The development of artificial intelligence (AI) is a small aspect of the computer revolution; though with the creation of AI we, as humans, are able to improve our quality of life. For example, AI can be used to monitor power production plants or to make machines of all kinds more understandable and under the control of humans; even with all its ability it is unlikely that an artificial intelligence system will be able to replace the human mind.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

A standard definition of artificial intelligence is that it is simply the effort to produce on computers forms of behavior that, if they were done by human beings, we would regard as intelligent. But within this definition, there is still a variety of claims and ways of interpreting the results of AI programs. The most common and natural approach to AI research is to ask of any program, what can it do? What are the actual results in terms of output? On this view, what matters about a chess-playing program, for example, is simply how good it is. Can it, for example, beat chess grand masters? But there is also a more theoretically oriented approach in artificial intelligence, which was the basis of the AI contribution to the new discipline of cognitive science. According to this theoretical approach, what matters are not just the inputoutput relations of the computer but also what the program can tell us about actual human cognition (Ptack, 1994).


Viewed in this light, AI aims to give not just a commercial application but a theoretical understanding of human cognition. To make this distinction clear, think of your pocket calculator. It can outperform any living mathematician at multiplication and division and so qualifies as intelligent on the definition of artificial intelligence I just gave. But this fact is of no psychological interest because such computers do not attempt to mimic the actual thought processes of people doing arithmetic (Crawford, 1994). On the other hand, AI programs that simulate human vision are typically theoretical attempts to understand the actual processes of

human beings in perceiving the external world. Just to have labels, let us distinguish between "AI as practical application" (AIPA) and "AI as cognitive science" (AICS). A great deal of the debate about AI confuses the two views, so that sometimes success in AI's practical application is supposed to provide theoretical insights in cognitive science. Chess-playing programs are a good example. Early chess playing programs tried to mimic the thought processes of actual chess players, but they were not very successful. More recent successes have been achieved by ignoring the thoughts of chess masters and simply using the much-greater computational power of contemporary hardware. This approach, called "brute force," exploits the fact that specially designed computers can calculate hundreds of thousands or even millions of moves, something no human chess player can do (Matthys, 1995). The best current programs can thus beat all but the very best chess players, but it would be a mistake to think of them as contributions contributions to AICS (Ptacek, 1994). They tell us nothing about human cognition, except that an electrical machine working on different principles can defeat human beings in playing chess, as it can defeat human beings in doing arithmetic.

Deduction, reasoning, problem solving

Early AI researchers developed algorithms that imitated the step-by-step reasoning that humans use when they solve puzzles or make logical deductions. By the late 1980s and '90s, AI research had also developed highly successful methods for dealing with uncertain or incomplete information, employing concepts from probability and economics. For difficult problems, most of these algorithms can require enormous computational resources most experience a "combinatorial explosion": the amount of memory or computer time required becomes astronomical when the problem goes beyond a certain size. The search for more efficient problem-solving algorithms is a high priority for AI research. Human beings solve most of their problems using fast, intuitive judgments rather than the conscious, step-by-step deduction that early AI research was able to model.AI has made some progress at imitating this kind of "sub-symbolic" problem solving: embodied agent approaches emphasize the importance of sensorimotor skills to higher reasoning.

Cybernetics and brain simulation

Main articles: Cybernetics and Computational neuroscienceIn the 1940s and 1950s, a number of researchers explored the connection between neurology, information theory, and cybernetics. Some of them built machines that used electronic networks to exhibit rudimentary intelligence, such as W. Grey Walter's turtles and the Johns Hopkins Beast. Many of these researchers gathered for meetings of the Teleological Society at Princeton University and the Ratio Club in England.[20] By 1960, this approach was largely abandoned, although elements of it would be revived in the 1980s.

When access to digital computers became possible in the middle 1950s, AI research began to explore the possibility that human intelligence could be reduced to symbol manipulation. The research was centered in three institutions: CMU, Stanford and MIT, and each one developed its own style of research. John Haugeland named these approaches to AI "good old fashioned AI" or "GOFAI".[94] During the 1960s, symbolic approaches had achieved great success at simulating high-level thinking in small demonstration programs. Approaches based on cybernetics or neural networks were abandoned or pushed into the background.[95] Researchers in the 1960s and the 1970s were convinced that symbolic approaches would eventually succeed in creating a machine with artificial general intelligence and considered this the goal of their field.

Cognitive simulate
Economist Herbert Simon and Allen Newell studied human problem-solving skills and attempted to formalize them, and their work laid the foundations of the field of artificial intelligence, as well as cognitive science, operations research and management science. Their research team used the results of psychological experiments to develop programs that simulated the techniques that people used to solve problems. This tradition, centered at Carnegie Mellon University would eventually culminate in the development of the Soar architecture in the middle 80s.[96][97]

Unlike Newell and Simon, John McCarthy felt that machines did not need to simulate human thought, but should instead try to find the essence of abstract reasoning and problem solving, regardless of whether people used the same algorithms.[88] His laboratory at Stanford (SAIL) focused on using formal logic to solve a wide variety of problems, including knowledge representation, planning and learning.[98] Logic was also focus of the work at the University of Edinburgh and elsewhere in Europe which led to the development of the programming language Prolog and the science of logic programming.[99]

"Anti-logic" or "scruffy"
Researchers at MIT (such as Marvin Minsky and Seymour Papert)[100] found that solving difficult problems in vision and natural language processing required ad-hoc solutions they argued that there was no simple and general principle (like logic) that would capture all the aspects of intelligent behavior. Roger Schank described their "anti-logic" approaches as "scruffy" (as opposed to the "neat" paradigms at CMU and Stanford).[89] Commonsense knowledge bases (such as Doug Lenat's Cyc) are an example of "scruffy" AI, since they must be built by hand, one complicated concept at a time.[101]

When computers with large memories became available around 1970, researchers from all three traditions began to build knowledge into AI applications.[102] This "knowledge revolution" led to the development and deployment of expert systems (introduced by Edward Feigenbaum), the first truly successful form of AI software.[30] The knowledge revolution was also driven by the realization that enormous amounts of knowledge would be required by many simple AI applications.

The Future of AI
The concept of ultrasmart computers machines with greater than human intelligence was dubbed The Singularity in a 1993 paper by the computer scientist and science fiction writer Vernor Vinge. He argued that the acceleration of technological progress had led to the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. This thesis has long struck a chord here in Silicon Valley. Artificial intelligence is already used to automate and replace some human functions with computer-driven machines. These machines can see and hear, respond to questions, learn, draw inferences and solve problems. But for the Singulatarians, A.I. refers to machines that will be both self-aware and superhuman in their intelligence, and capable of designing better computers and robots faster than humans can today. Such a shift, they say, would lead to a vast acceleration in technological improvements of all kinds. The idea is not just the province of science fiction authors; a generation of computer hackers, engineers and programmers have come to believe deeply in the idea of exponential technological change as explained by Gordon Moore, a co-founder of the chip maker Intel. In 1965, Dr. Moore first described the repeated doubling of the number transistors on silicon chips with each new technology generation, which led to an acceleration in the power of computing. Since then Moores Law which is not a law of physics, but rather a description of the rate of industrial change has come to personify an industry that lives on Internet time, where the Next Big Thing is always just around the corner.