Artificial Intelligence (AI) is defined as intelligence exhibited by an artificial (non-natural, man-made) entity. AI forms a vital branch of computer science, dealing with intelligent behavior in machines. When an AI system is embodied in its working environment and interacts with and learns from it, it becomes known as an Intelligent Agent (IA).
The academic theory of AI
The philosophy of artificial intelligence attempts to answer such questions as:
- What is intelligence? At what point would most people agree that a machine is, in fact, intelligent?
- Can a machine have intelligence comparable to a human?
- Even if a non-organic creature had problem-solving capabilities like a human, could it have consciousness and emotions? Could it feel?
- The recognition that to an entity (artificial or real) its emotions and feelings are just as real to itself as to our own, and the ethical treatment as such.
The ethics of artificial intelligence considers questions such as these:
- Supposing that we could create robots with intelligence comparable to ours, should we? Is it dangerous? Is it immoral?
- If, one day, our machines are able to think as we do, should they have the same rights that we do?
A common theme in science fiction, AI is often portrayed as a burgeoning force vying for power against humanity as in: The Terminator, The Matrix, Colossus: the Forbin Project or Eagle Eye.
An alternative portrayal, championed by Asimov is that of a subservient race as in: Asimov's Robot series, C-3PO, Marvin, Bicentennial Man, AI.
A few stories put AI robots on equal footing with humanity like Data from the popular Star Trek series, or talk about the merging of humanity with AIs as in Ghost in the Shell.
The inevitability of the emergence of AI has been suggested/portrayed by writers such as Samuel Butler, Warwick, Iain Banks, Vernor Vinge and more.
For thousands of years, humanity has dreamed of making thinking machines, out of spirit, alchemy, clockwork, chemistry or electricity. In the 20th century the field of AI research was founded to make this ancient wish come true using digital computers. In the course of fifty years, the popularity and funding for the field has risen and fallen in a series of AI winters and summers, and today the field works mostly behind the scenes, providing the heavy lifting for the most difficult problems of the technology industry. Read more...
Artificial neural network
An artificial neural network (ANN), is an interconnected group of artificial neurons that uses a mathematical or computational model for information processing based on a connectionist approach to computation. There is no precise agreed definition among researchers as to what a neural network is, but most would agree that it involves a highly complex network of simple processing elements (neurons), where the global behaviour is determined by the connections between the processing elements and element parameters. Since anything approaching a full appreciation of neuronal function remains a distant dream, and since the factors producing global output result from many non-linear, modulating, and poorly understood real-time feedback signals within a single neuron, the highly linear artificial networks (where 'neurons' are modeled as input/output nodes) are perceived as academic research tools rather than even a distant representation of brain function. Read More...