Term Paper: Artificial Intelligence

Pages: 8 (2400 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Education - Computers  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] " Most of these bits of information seem so nonessential, that people do not even think twice about them. For instance, "Children are younger than their mothers," or "You cannot see with your eyes closed." However, to give a computer common sense, it needs to store millions of such pieces of knowledge and link them together to make simple deductions. It has to be able to determine if A=B and B=C, then A=C.

Lenat's CYC project has involved hand-coding many millions of assertions. By the end of its first six years, over one million assertions had been entered into the KB. Lenat estimates it will require some two-person-centuries of work to increase this figure to the 100 million assertions necessary before CYC can begin learning for itself from written material. To gather information, knowledge-enterers or "cyclists" go through newspaper and magazine articles, encyclopedia entries, advertisements, and other similar materials, asking themselves what the writer assumed the reader would already know.

Freeman (1990, p.65) says, "Lenat insists that CYC will change the way we live and work." The system will help schools provide one-on-one tutoring to students. It will also make scientific discoveries, apply justice, and even counsel unhappy couples. As CYC continues to grow, Lenat predicts, pieces of it will be stored in computers around the world, its contents made available through phone lines and radio waves. The acquired intelligence "will flow like electricity through a gigantic, ubiquitous knowledge grid."

However, there are many computer specialists who believe CYC is no more intelligent than any other previous computers -- no matter how many bits of information are stored and recalled. Several critics, including Hubert Dreyfus, point out that while this is an interesting programming project, it falls short of the mark as strong AI that claims to duplicate not only human-like intelligent products, but also human-like intelligent process. Human knowledge is often implicit, procedural, and domain specific, rather than explicit, declarative, and general purpose. Computers are still unable to describe objects on a crowded table, write a summary of a movie, tie a pair of shoelaces and understand a joke.

There are many people who believe that humans are not unique in the universe, and a day will come when computers can equal mankind's brain capacity and abilities. In his book Virtual Organisms, for example, technology author Ward says that it is wrong to feel there is something special about life in general or humanity in particular. "This is largely because artificial life studies are, inter alia, helping to show quite the opposite. No elan vital is at work within them, oiling the gears and keeping the whole mechanism ticking over. Everything you need to explain what is going on is right there (1999, p.8)."

Ward gives examples of some of the more interesting AI uses today, and says it is just a matter of time before the ultimate intelligence is reached. For example, British Telephone traffic is so complicated and extensive, it cannot be run by a single large program. As a result, BT is experimenting with various species of small "ant"(as in the insect) programs that are independent and can procreate better offspring by trial, error, and natural selection. In addition, computer viruses and even robots are now able to evolve randomly like their biological counterparts. In Japan, scientists are building a protein-based organic brain.

This, however, does not mean that life is not remarkable, adds Ward. AI research is demonstrating what a breathtaking gamble the whole enterprise is. "Life remains special not because there are magical forces at work within it, but because it manages to keep living without the need for supernatural aid. This only serves to make it all the more marvelous."

The question of machine intelligence is sure to be remain controversial, because it truly questions what if anything makes humans unique. Is it just the fact that humans keep on living "without the need for supernatural aid," as Ward says? Or is there something fundamental that differentiates human life from that of a machine? Or, will there be a future when both the flesh and blood and the technological come together to form one super being? As science fiction writer Arthur Clarke noted:

Whether we are based on carbon or silicon makes no fundamental difference. We should each be treated with appropriate respect.-

With the speed of technological change, the next fifty to one hundred years will surely bring major changes to the level of artificial intelligence. Most likely the scenario will be similar as before: changes will occur in the generations to come that no one could ever imagine. Whether this includes computers that can do stand-up comedy or can recognize right from wrong remains an unknown.

References

Copeland, B.J. (2000). "What is AI." Website visited 21 May, 2004. http://www.alanturing.net/turing_archive/pages/Reference%20Articles/what_is_AI/What%20is%20AI07.html

Freeman, D. (1990). "Common sense and the computer." Discover, 11 64-71.

Gershenfeld, N. (1999).When things start to think. New York: Henry Holt.

Kurzwell, R. (1999). Age of spiritual machines. New York: Penguin Press.

Leibniz. G.W.F. von (1969) "On the general characteristic." In L.E. Loemmker, ed.

Leibniz: Philosophical papers and letters. Boston: Reidel.

Martin, J. (2000). Alien Intelligence. Washington, D.C.: Capital Press.

Simon, H. & A. Newell (1958). "Heuristic Problem Solving: The Next Advance in Operations Research," Operations Research, 6, 1-10.

Ward, M. (1999). Virtual Organisms. New York: Thomas Dunne.

David H. Freedman

"Common Sense and the Computer"… [END OF PREVIEW]

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