Artificial intelligence

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Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the construction of a device (or program) with independent reasoning power — a brain. The test for intelligence is most 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. Hubert Dreyfus's critique of artificial intelligence research has been especially enduring. However, it does not explicitly deny the possibility of strong AI, merely that the fundamental assumptions of AI researchers are either baseless or misguided. Because Dreyfus's critique draws on philosophers such as Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, it was largely ignored (and lampooned) at the time of its arrival. However, as the fantastic predictions of early AI researchers continually failed to pan out (which included the solution to all philosophical problems), his critique has largely been vindicated, and even incorporated into modern AI research.

[edit] Machine learning

See the main article on this topic: Machine learning

In the field of artificial intelligence, machine learning is a set of techniques that make it possible to train a computer model so that it behaves according to some given sample inputs and expected outputs. For example, machine learning can recognize objects in images or perform other complex tasks that would be too complicated to be described with traditional procedural code.

[edit] Stephen Hawking's view

In a recent humorous interview with John Oliver, Stephen Hawking references AI as potentially dangerous.


[edit] See also

Icon fun.svg For those of you in the mood, RationalWiki has a fun article about Artificial intelligence.
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