If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
This article picks up the call for a reflective examination of the prevailing computational metaphor of AI (and philosophical presuppositions behind it) by sketching alternatives that might serve as seeds for discussion-specifically, the seven alternatives introduced in our previous article (see "AI Magazine, spring 1991). The relative strengths and weaknesses of the alternatives are contrasted with those of the computational metaphor.
Engineering and scientific education condition us to expect everything, including intelligence, to have a simple, compact explanation. Today, some researchers who seek a simple, compact explanation hope that systems modeled on neural nets or some other connectionist idea will quickly overtake more traditional systems based on symbol manipulation. Others believe that symbol manipulation, with a history that goes back millennia, remains the only viable approach. AI is not like circuit theory and electromagnetism.
It is consistent with much that psychologists have observed in the natural problem solving people do. Psychologists have also observed, however, that people have several problems in doing analogical or case-based reasoning. I present case-based decision aiding as a methodology for building systems in which people and machines work together to solve problems. The case-based decision-aiding system augments the person's memory by providing cases (analogs) for a person to use in solving a problem.
This article analyzes an attempt to use computing technology, including AI, to improve the combat readiness of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier. The method of introducing new technology, as well as the reaction of the organization to the use of the technology, is examined to discern the reasons for the rejection by the carrier's personnel of a technically sophisticated attempt to increase mission capability. This effort to make advanced computing technology, such as expert systems, an integral part of the organizational environment and, thereby, to significantly alter traditional decision-making methods failed for two reasons: (1) the innovation of having users, as opposed to the navy research and development bureaucracy, perform the development function was in conflict with navy operational requirements and routines and (2) the technology itself was either inappropriate or perceived by operational experts to be inappropriate for the tasks of the organization. Finally, this article suggests those obstacles that must be overcome to successfully introduce state-of-the-art computing technology into any organization.
The US Army has installed PRIDE Merlin is an expert system developed (Pulse Radar Intelligent Diagnostic at Hewlett Packard's Networked Environment), a diagnostic expert Computer Manufacturing Operation system developed by Carnegie Group (Roseville, CA) to forecast the factory's (Pittsburgh, PA), in Saudi Arabia in product demand. Lucid (Menlo Park, CA), producer of American Airlines (Dallas, TX) has the Lucid Common Lisp language, developed an expert system - Maintenance has acquired Peritus, a producer of Operation Control Advisor C/C and FORTRAN compilers. Consolidated Edison (New York, Nova Technology (Bethesda, MD), a NY) has developed the SOCCS Alarm new company founded by Naval Advisor, an expert system that recommends Research Center scientist Harold Szu, operator actions required plans to commercialize neural networks to maintain the necessary and continuous made from high-performance power supply to its customers. Kurzweil AI (Waltham, MA) has Inference (El Segundo, CA) has received a federal grant to develop named Peter Tierney CEO and president. VoiceGI, a voice-activated reporting Tierney was formerly VP of and database management system marketing at Oracle.