The relationship between Biological and Artificial Intelligence


Intelligence can be defined as a predominantly human ability to accomplish tasks that are generally hard for computers and animals. Artificial Intelligence [AI] is a field attempting to accomplish such tasks with computers. AI is becoming increasingly widespread, as are claims of its relationship with Biological Intelligence. Often these claims are made to imply higher chances of a given technology succeeding, working on the assumption that AI systems which mimic the mechanisms of Biological Intelligence should be more successful. In this article I will discuss the similarities and differences between AI and the extent of our knowledge about the mechanisms of intelligence in biology, especially within humans. I will also explore the validity of the assumption that biomimicry in AI systems aids their advancement, and I will argue that existing similarity to biological systems in the way Artificial Neural Networks [ANNs] tackle tasks is due to design decisions, rather than inherent similarity of underlying mechanisms. This article is aimed at people who understand the basics of AI (especially ANNs), and would like to be better able to evaluate the often wild claims about the value of biomimicry in AI. Symbolic AI was the prevailing approach to AI until the early 90's. It is reliant on human programmers coding complex rules to enable machines to complete complex tasks. Continuing failure of this approach to solve many tasks crucial to intelligence provides a good contrast with Machine Learning -- an alternative approach to AI which is essential to the current advent of artificially intelligent machines. In 1994 the reigning chess champion Garry Kasparov was beaten by Deep Blue.

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