What is artificial intelligence? (Or, can machines think?)

Robohub

Here are the slides from my York Festival of Ideas keynote yesterday, which introduced the festival focus day Artificial Intelligence: Promises and Perils. I start the keynote with Alan Turing's famous question: Can a Machine Think? and explain that thinking is not just the conscious reflection of Rodin's Thinker but also the largely unconscious thinking required to make a pot of tea. I note that at the dawn of AI 60 years ago we believed the former kind of thinking would be really difficult to emulate artificially and the latter easy. In fact it has turned out to be the other way round: we've had computers that can expertly play chess for 20 years, but we can't yet build a robot that could go into your kitchen and make you a cup of tea. In slides 5 and 6 I suggest that we all assume a cat is smarter than a crocodile, which is smarter than a cockroach, on a linear scale of intelligence from not very intelligent to human intelligence.


Is It Enough to Get the Behaviour Right?

AAAI Conferences

This paper deals with the relationship between intelligent behaviour, on the   one hand, and the mental qualities needed to produce it, on the other.  We   consider two well-known opposing positions on this issue: one due to Alan   Turing and one due to John Searle (via the Chinese Room).  In particular, we   argue against Searle, showing that his answer to the so-called System Reply   does not work.  The argument takes a novel form:   we shift the debate to a different and more plausible room where the   required conversational behaviour is much easier to characterize and to   analyze.  Despite being much simpler than the Chinese Room, we show that    the  behaviour there is still complex enough that it cannot be produced without   appropriate mental qualities.


Making Law for Thinking Machines? Start with the Guns - Netopia

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The Bank of England's warning that the pace of artificial intelligence development now threatens 15m UK jobs has prompted calls for political intervention.


The Evolution of Artificial Intelligence: From ELIZA to Watson Insights Unboxed

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In an earlier blog article I wrote about how human intelligence differs from artificial intelligence, namely human intelligence is general intelligence while artificial intelligence is specialized intelligence. The article provides "food for thought" for those who fear technology evolution, and specifically AI. In today's article I offer more reflections on the evolution of AI. Put in simple words, AI is about Thinking Machines. The English computer scientist Alan Turing was the first academic who proposed to consider the question "Can machines think?" in 1950.


The Age of Thinking Machines

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We live in the greatest time in human history. Only 200 years ago, for most Europeans, life was a struggle rather than a pleasure. Without antibiotics and hospitals, every infection was fatal. There was only a small elite of citizens who lived in the cities in relative prosperity. Freedom of opinion, human and civil rights were far away. Voting rights and decision-making were reserved for a class consisting of nobility, clergy, the military and rich citizens. The interests of the general population were virtually ignored.