Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the construction of a device (or program) with independent reasoning power — a brain. The test for intelligence is widely accepted to be that devised by Alan Turing: (roughly) If a conversation with the device cannot be differentiated from a similar conversation with a human being then the device can be called intelligent.
AI research has produced a number of excellent tools and products, including handwriting recognition, computerized chess and other strategy games, the Lisp programming language, advanced robotics, basic visual recognition capability, and (as a by-product) open source software and the GNU toolchain. However, despite immense amounts of money and research, and despite all these ancillary products, true artificial intelligence — a sentient computer, capable of initiative and seamless human interaction — has yet to come to fruition, though some argue that a sentient computer might be more appropriately referred to as artificial consciousness than artificial intelligence.
John Searle proposed his "Chinese room" thought experiment to demonstrate that a computer program merely shuffles symbols around according to simple rules of syntax, but no semantic grasp of what the symbols really mean is obtained by the program. Proponents of "strong AI", who believe an awareness can exist within a purely algorithmic process, have put forward various critiques of Searle's argument.