Overview of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence, otherwise known as AI, is the study and development of intelligent machines capable of performing complex tasks that require thought and behavior normally associated with human intelligence. Computer programs are a common area of specialization in this branch of science. Artificial Intelligence adapts characteristics of human problem-solving skills and then applies them as algorithms easily comprehended by computer systems. Such systems are routinely and widely used today by hospitals, corporations, militaries and homes around the world.
The very nature of computers allows them to easily and consistently perform simple, repetitive tasks by utilizing fixed program rules. In itself, this is an essential and valuable characteristic, relieving people of tremendous amounts of tedious computation.
The challenge, however, is for researchers and developers of Artificial Intelligence to push boundaries by elevating the capabilities of computer systems so as to be adaptable and creative when handling specific and unfamiliar situations. To produce machines that are capable of automating even the most human of tasks requiring intelligent thought. The purpose of Artificial Intelligence research should not be misunderstood, though. It is not to replicate human beings, but rather to develop useful machines that can solve problems as well as humans. To such an end, researchers may employ methods that perform more computations than commonly achievable by human endeavor or methods that are not observed in people.
There is an ongoing philosophical debate about the nature of AI. All successful applications of artificially intelligent systems to date have been highly specific in their abilities. Some AI systems can play chess very well. Some do a remarkable job at organizing information. Others play as human-like opponents in video games. Still, very few people view these successes as proof that computers can think. Yet some do. The major philophical break on the nature of AI systems is between Strong and Weak views. Strong Artificial Intelligence is the view that computers either will be or are capable of thinking. Weak Artificial Intelligence is the view that computers are perfectly good and simulating intelligent abilities, but that there is no thinking (especially, no conscious thinking) going on inside AI systems. In these kinds of philosophical disputes, the point of disagreement often turns out to be definitional. What exactly constitutes "thinking"? What sort of general problem solving abilities would be necessary to say that a thing thinks?
Further Entries on AI
Beginnings of Artificial Intelligence
The Neural Network Approach to Artificial Intelligence
The Expert Systems Approach to Artificial Intelligence
Applications of Artificial Intelligence
Branches of Artificial Intelligence
The Science Fiction of Artificial Intelligence
Web Resources On Artificial Intelligence
Basic Questions About AI
American Association for Artificial Intelligence
Book Resources On Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach by Stuart J. Russel and Peter Norvig
The Brain Makers: Genius, Ego and Greed in the Quest for Machines that Think by HP Newquist