Artificial intelligence [AI] is broadly used to define computers
doing tasks that require human intelligence. If we consider the
range of human tasks, we recognize that some computing tasks, which
we think require high levels of human intelligence - such as complex
arithmetic - computers can do very easily.
Converely, tasks that people do without even thinking - such as
recognising a face - are extremely complex to automate.
AI is most often employed to perform these difficult tasks, which
appear to require complex and sophisticated reasoning processes
Uses For Artificial Intelligence
There are distinct uses for AI:
- Academic - studying human reasoning to develop
techniques for solving difficult problems, such as expert systems.
- Computational - to perform complex tasks in
much shorter time that human
- Business - to replicate expert knowledge, thereby
capturing valuable corporate assets
Artificial intelligence is based on the assumption that human intelligence
can be reduced to complex manipulation of symbols, and that the
medium used to manipulate these symbols, human or artificial does
not matter. There is some philosophical debate around AI, some arguing
that true intelligence can never be achieved by a computer, that
the functioning and logic of the human brain cannot be simulated.
Collectively, the various viewpoints on AI can be summarized as:
- Computers will never even appear to be really intelligent, though
they might do a few useful tasks that conventionally require intelligence.
- Computers may eventually appear to be intelligent, but in fact
they will just be simulating intelligent behaviour, and not really
- Computers will eventually be really intelligent.
- Computers will not only be intelligent, they'll be concious
and have emotions.
Fortunately, none of these viewpoints have impacted the ongoing
development and use of AI. AI techniques are being used to produce
useful programs that conventionally require human intelligence.
Such computers, whilst behaving 'intelligently' in performing certain
limited tasks, do not yet possess full intelligence. Full AI is
still a long way into the future, but in the interim, we are gaining
understanding of of our own intelligence.
NEXT: How Artificial Intelligence
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