AI Overview

Broad Discussions of Artificial Intelligence

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Exactly what the computer provides is the ability not to be rigid and unthinking but, rather, to behave conditionally. That is what it means to apply knowledge to action: It means to let the action taken reflect knowledge of the situation, to be sometimes this way, sometimes that, as appropriate. . . .

In sum, technology can be controlled especially if it is saturated with intelligence to watch over how it goes, to keep accounts, to prevent errors, and to provide wisdom to each decision.

- Allen Newell, from Fairy Tales

Allen Newell
Allen Newell

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."

The National Academy of Science offers the following short summary of the field: "One of the great aspirations of computer science has been to understand and emulate capabilities that we recognize as expressive of intelligence in humans. Research has addressed tasks ranging from our sensory interactions with the world (vision, speech, locomotion) to the cognitive (analysis, game playing, problem solving). This quest to understand human intelligence in all its forms also stimulates research whose results propagate back into the rest of computer science—for example, lists, search, and machine learning." From Section 6: Achieving Intelligence of the 2004 report by the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB)Computer Science: Reflections on the Field, Reflections from the Field (2004).

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) . . .

Good Starting Places

Some Definitions

Brief Answer to the Question "What is Artificial Intelligence?" by John McCarthy, one of the founders of the field.

Artificial Intelligence overview entry by Stuart C. Shapiro, scanned from pages 89-93 of the Encyclopedia of Artificial Intelligence, edited by Shapiro.

What is Artificial Intelligence? by Aaron Sloman. Clear and straightforward overview, with links to slides and several online resources.

Other Good Overview Articles

The Manifest Destiny of Artificial Intelligence by Brian Hayes, American Scientist (July/August, 2012). "Artificial intelligence began with an ambitious research agenda: To endow machines with some of the traits we value most highly in ourselves˜the faculty of reason, skill in solving problems, creativity, the capacity to learn from experience. ...Fifty years later, problem-solving machines are a familiar presence in daily life. ... In spite of these achievements, the status of artificial intelligence remains unsettled. We have many clever gadgets, but it‚s not at all clear they add up to a „thinking machine."

Can Computers Think? "Set of 7 poster-sized argumentation maps that chart the entire history of the debate. The maps outline arguments put forth since 1950 by more than 380 cognitive scientists, philosophers, artificial intelligence researchers, mathematicians, and others. Every map presents 100 or more major claims, each of which is summarized succinctly and placed in visual relationship to the other arguments that it supports or disputes. The maps, thus, both show the intellectual history of this interdisciplinary debate and display its current status. Claims are further organized into more than 70 issue areas, or major branches of the arguments. "

AI's Half-Century. By Margaret A. Boden. AI Magazine 16(4): Winter 1995, 96-99. "The first 50 years of AI are reviewed, and current controversies outlined. Scientific disputes include disagreements over the best research methodology, including classical AI, connectionism, hybrid systems, and situated and evolutionary robotics. Philosophical disputes concern (for instance) whether computation is necessary and sufficient for mentality, whether representations are essential for intelligence, whether consciousness can be explained objectively, and whether the Cartesian presuppositions of (most) AI should be replaced by a neo-Heideggerian approach. With respect to final verdicts, both juries (scientific and philosophical) are still out. But AI has aided theoretical psychology and revivified the philosophy of mind."

Understanding Artificial Intelligence. Scientific American. 2002. New York: Warner Books, Inc. A collection of essays with a Foreword by Rodney Brooks and an Introduction by Sandy Fritz.

What is Artificial Intelligence?. From the public statement by The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour (AISB).

Why Do We Need AI?

P vs NP Problems. One reason why we need AI is that some problems for which a proposed solution is easy to check are too complex to generate all the possible solutions.

4 areas of computing

Introductory Readings

AI Magazine: AI Magazine's Special 25th Anniversary Issue, 26(4): Winter 2005. As stated in David Leake's Editorial Introduction: "The year 2005 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence. This special issue celebrates the anniversary by presenting perspectives on AAAI's history, on the future of AAAI, and on the past and future of artificial intelligence. It highlights the many voices contributing to AAAI by featuring personal remembrances and visions from many people, including founders of AAAI, presidents who guided the society's development, and others spurring on AI research and applications. While a single issue can only scratch the surface, this special issue clearly illustrates the spirit, accomplishment, and optimism that will drive the next 25 years."

Allen: AI Growing Up: The Changes and Opportunities. By James F. Allen. AI Magazine 19(4) Winter 1998, 13-23. "Many people make many confusing claims about the aims and potential for success of work in AI. Much of this arises from a misunderstanding of the nature of work in the field. In this article, I examine the field and make some observations that I think would help alleviate some of the problems. I also argue that the field is at a major turning point, and that this will substantially change the work done and the way it is evaluated."

Doyle & Dean: Strategic Directions in Artificial Intelligence. By Jon Doyle and Thomas Dean (1996). ACM Computing Surveys 28 (4): 653-670, reprinted with permission in AI Magazine v.18 (1). "Abstract: This report, written for the general computing and scientific audience and for students and others interested in artificial intelligence, summarizes the major directions in artificial intelligence research, sets them in context relative to other areas of computing research, and gives a glimpse of the vision, depth, research partnerships, successes, and excitement of the field."

Gates: Bill Gates' Keynote Address at IJCAI, August, 2001. " Part of the reason I think that AI is the most interesting field to be working in is that they [the tough problems] were not solved. They’re very tough problems, and so 25 years later the dreams are very much the same. I do think the last four or five years have been extremely valuable in laying the foundation for where these solutions will come from, things like the advances in Bayesian modeling, combining those with other systems; some of these approaches I think hold promise to even get us to those very lofty goals, which founded this entire field."

Grosz & Davis: A Report to ARPA on Twenty-First Century Intelligent Systems. Edited by Barbara Grosz and Randall Davis. AI Magazine 15(3): Fall 1994, 10-20. (Also available from the collection of AAAI Policy Reports.) This report describes AI research areas where fundamental scientific advances could enable intelligent systems to meet national needs.

. .To achieve their full impact, computer systems must have more than processing power--they must have intelligence. They need to be able to assimilate and use large bodies of information and collaborate with and help people find new ways of working together effectively. The technology must become more responsive to human needs and styles of work, and must employ more natural means of communication.
- Barbara Grosz and Randall Davis

Hendler: A Chat about the Future of Artificial Intelligence with Professor James Hendler. Provided by CNN. Interview date: December 16, 1999. Very lively and very informative!

  • For more interviews with AI scientists, see our INTERVIEWS page.

Leake: Artificial Intelligence. By David B. Leake Indiana University. [Van Nostrand Scientific Encyclopedia, Ninth Edition, Wiley, New York, 2002.] "Artificial intelligence (AI) is a branch of computer science that studies the computational requirements for tasks such as perception, reasoning, and learning, and develops systems to perform those tasks. AI is a diverse field whose researchers address a wide range of problems, use a variety of methods, and pursue a spectrum of scientific goals."

McCarthy: John McCarthy answers basic questions about AI. "Q. What is artificial intelligence?
A. It is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs. It is related to the similar task of using computers to understand human intelligence, but AI does not have to confine itself to methods that are biologically observable. "

Russell: Stuart Russell on the Future of Artificial Intelligence. Ubiquity; Volume 4, Issue 43 (December 24 - January 6, 2004). "UBIQUITY: The original grand vision of artificial intelligence (AI) in the 1950s and '60s seemed to dissipate into many small, disparate projects. Should this fragmentation be written off as an inevitable Humpty-Dumpty problem or is it possible to bring the fragments back together into a single field? RUSSELL: I think we can put it back together in the sense of being able to join the pieces. Of course, the pieces won't be subsumed under one Über theory of intelligence."

Schank: Where's the AI? By Roger C. Schank. AI Magazine 12(4): Winter 1991, 38-48. Roger Schank surveys four viewpoints about what artificial intelligence is.

Schubert: Turing's Dream and the Knowledge Challenge. Lenhart Schubert 's lecture at CSE Colloquia - 2006, The University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering Colloquium Series, available from the ResearchChannel ("a non-profit organization founded in 1996 by a consortium of leading research universities, institutions and corporate research centers dedicated to creating a widely accessible voice for research through video and Internet channels"). "In this Turing Center distinguished lecture, Lenhart Schubert explains that there is a set of clear-cut challenges for artificial intelligence, all centering around knowledge. The solution to those challenges could realize Alan M. Turing's dream - the dream of a machine capable of intelligent human-like response and interaction."

Sloman: What is Artificial Intelligence? By Aaron Sloman. Computer Science Department, University of Birmingham, UK. A very crisp & clear tour of the AI landscape.

  • Also available: slide presentations of several of his talks, including "Talk 10: WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE? Talk for applicants for AI undergraduate degrees at University of Birmingham;" and "Talk 13: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND PHILOSOPHY A talk on AI and philosophy, and how AI can improve on philosophy (and vice versa) for first year AI students at Birmingham."

Tate: Austin Tate [AIAI, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh] Answers Some Questions including: What is your definition of AI, how is it linked to what we define as intelligence, what have been the key break throughs in AI?.

Early Overview Articles by Pioneers in AI

McCarthy: What is Artificial Intelligence? By John McCarthy. Computer Science Department, Stanford University. One of the founders of the field of AI, McCarthy covers the basics in a question and answer format, starting with: "Q. What is artificial intelligence? A. It is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs. It is related to the similar task of using computers to understand human intelligence, but AI does not have to confine itself to methods that are biologically observable. Q. Yes, but what is intelligence? A. Intelligence is the computational part of the ability to achieve goals in the world. Varying kinds and degrees of intelligence occur in people, many animals and some machines."

Minsky: Thoughts About Artificial Intelligence. By Marvin Minsky. From Ray Kurzweil's 1990 book, The Age of Intelligent Machines. "What Is Artificial Intelligence? Even though we don't yet understand how brains perform many mental skills, we can still work toward making machines that do the same or similar things. 'Artificial intelligence' is simply the name we give to that research. But as I already pointed out, this means that the focus of that research will keep changing, since as soon as we think we understand one mystery, we have to move on to the next."

Newell: The Knowledge Level. By Allen Newell. AAAI Presidential Address, 19 August 1980. AI Magazine 2(2): Summer 1981, 1-20, 33. A classic article describing the differences in viewing computer programs at the symbol level or the knowledge level.

Newell: Fairy Tales. By Allen Newell. AI Magazine 13(4): Winter 1992, 46-4. In this reprint of Allen Newell's classic essay, Newell argues not only that fairy tales are for all of us, but that, even more, they have a close connection to technology.

Reddy: To Dream The Possible Dream. Raj Reddy's Turing Award Lecture presented at the ACM CS Conference, March 1, 1995. "This essay is collection of retrospective and prospective remarks on the role of AI within CS and in society. It includes comments on questions such as: Can artificial intelligence equal human intelligence? Isn't AI just a special class of algorithms? Isn't AI just software? Why should society support AI and CS research? What next for AI? And so on. The main theme is that AI continues to be a possible dream worthy of dreaming."

Turing: Computing Machinery and Intelligence. By Alan M. Turing (1950). Mind 59 (Oct 1950): 433-60. ["Originally published by Oxford University Press on behalf of MIND (the Journal of the Mind Association), vol. LIX, no. 236, pp. 433-60, 1950. Published on the abelard site by permission of Oxford University Press."] An all-time classic paper that discusses the prospects of AI and dismisses some still-current arguments against AI.

General Readings

...because computers lack bodies and life experiences comparable to humans', intelligent systems will probably be inherently different from humans.
David L. Waltz

AI Reaches the Golden Years. By David Cohn. Wired News (July 17, 2006). "Artificial intelligence is 50 years old this summer, and while computers can beat the world's best chess players, we still can't get them to think like a 4-year-old. This week in Boston, some of the field's leading practitioners are gathering to examine this most ambitious of computer research fields, which at once has managed to exceed, and fall short of, our grandest expectations. 'Artificial intelligence has accomplished more than people realize,' said futurist Ray Kurzweil. 'It permeates our economic infrastructure. Every time you place a cell phone call, send an e-mail, AI programs are directing information.' ... AI technology is used by banks to police transactions for fraud, by cell phone companies for voice recognition, and by search engines to scour the web and organize data. Beyond business, programs like Artificial Intelligence in Medicine help doctors diagnose and treat patients, while vision-recognition programs scan beaches and pools and alert lifeguards to signs of drowning. ... Today, AI is still in its infancy, making it difficult to tell just what to expect in the future. 'It took more than 100 years between Mendel and deciphering the genetic code, and even that wasn't the end of genetics,' said Stanford's [John] McCarthy. Keeping things in perspective, the conference this week isn't aimed at figuring out how to reach singularity but will present research papers from leaders in the field of AI on practical applications and breakthroughs." [Also see these related articles.]

Constructions of the Mind: Artificial Intelligence and the Humanities. "A special issue edited by Stefano Franchi and Guven Guzeldere. Volume 4, issue 2 [Spring 1995] of the Stanford Humanities Review is devoted to the exploration of convergences and dissonances between Artificial Intelligence and the Humanities." More than a dozen full-text articles await you at this site!

Also see Pamela McCorduck's Machines Who Think. Questions to the author include: How long has the human race dreamed about thinking machines? Artificial intelligence - is it real? What so-called smart .computers do -- is that really thinking? Shouldn't we just say no to intelligent machines? Aren't the risks too scary? and, What's ahead as AI succeeds even more?

AI Matures and Flourishes in North America. By David Mike Hamilton, Tom M. Mitchell, and Carol M. Hamilton. IEEE Intelligent Systems, 18(4): 87-88, c3 (July/August 2003). "Separate artificial intelligence organizations in North America have existed for nearly 40 years. From humble beginnings,when a small interest group served the field, to today,when AI groups serve every niche, AI is flourishing.The oldest AI organization in the region is SIGART, the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence. SIGART began publishing a newsletter for its members in the mid 1960s...."

Artificial Intelligence: What Works and What Doesn't? By Frederick Hayes-Roth. AI Magazine 18(2): Summer 1997, 99-113.

AI's Greatest Trends and Controversies. Marti A. Hearst and Haym Hirsh, Editors. IEEE Intelligent Systems (January/February 2000). A timely and thought provoking collection of views from AI scholars and practitioners.

IBM gets smart about Artificial Intelligence. By Pamela Kramer. IBM Think Research (June 2001). Computer vision, data mining, natural language, and more are covered in this article.

  • Also from IBM:
    • IBM Research - Artificial Intelligence: "Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the study of how computer systems can simulate intelligent processes such as learning, reasoning, and understanding symbolic information in context. AI is inherently a multi-disciplinary field. Although it is most commonly viewed as a subfield of computer science, and draws upon work in algorithms, databases, and theoretical computer science, AI also has close connections to the neurosciences, cognitive science and cognitive psychology, mathematical logic, and engineering."
    • Computer Science Brochure

Research Tip: For more pointers to current online readings, check out the homepages of introductory AI courses. You can find these courses by visiting the AI Courses & Academic Departments section on our page of Resources for Students.

The Next Big Thing - Artificial Intelligence. BBC /Open University. "Leading scientists join Professor Colin Blakemore for a live and topical debate to discuss The Next Big Thing in science. This week [March 15, 2002], the panel looks at the issue of Artificial Intelligence. In the 21st century, A.I. is gradually moving more and more into people's everyday lives, especially as the interest in computers and computer games grows. New Artificial Intelligence advancements are constantly becoming available - so who knows what the future might bring?" Be sure to check out:

  • The story so far: "Robots already exist that are autonomous: they can learn, communicate and teach each other. They can navigate their way around our world and be linked to extremely powerful computers that will give them a processing capacity well beyond that of humans. How did scientists develop the technology to produce A.I. machines?"
  • Explore a.i. in depth: "The idea of the robot replacing the need for human intelligence is a startling thought. Could these machines develop beyond our control? This section explains what Artificial Intelligence is and the scientific skills involved."
  • Hear the arguments: "Can A.I. really match human brainpower? The arguments of leading scientists Professor Aaron Sloman, Dr Amanda Sharkey and Professor Igor Aleksander are summarised below. Do you agree with their views?"
  • Watch Machines with Minds: the freeview video of this event, available from the Vega Science Trust.

ThinkQuest Project Sites:

  • AI: Manufactured Minds. Students: Amelia, Chloe, Chris, Kishore, Laura, & Patrick. Locations: Australia, Singapore, & USA. Coaches: James Poirier &Tina Photakis. ThinkQuest International 2006 2nd Place (19 & Under) and winner of the Global Perspective Award. "As a result of Hollywood's highly imaginative work, many people today fail to recognize the significance of the less mind-blowing, but nonetheless equally important implementations of AI in the world today. This website attempts to redefine the way we look at Artificial Intelligence and helps us to be more appreciative of the numerous benefits that are being brought about by our continued research in this field."

  • Introduction to the Science of Artificial Intelligence. By Tim Dunn, Adam Dyess, Bill Snitzer. An award-winning site created by these students for the 1996 Thinkquest competition. [ThinkQuest is an international competition where student teams engage in collaborative, project-based learning to create educational websites. The winning entries form the ThinkQuest online library.]

Artificial Intelligence Tutorial Review. Developed and compiled by Eyal Reingold and Johnathan Nightingale of the University of Toronto. "This review has been designed with the expectation that its readers are new to the area, and care is taken to explain concepts fully. The review should provide an interesting and accessible introduction for beginners, but may be somewhat redundant for readers with more background in the area. Nevertheless, more advanced readers may find interesting links and demonstrations throughout the review."

Logical Versus Analogical or Symbolic Versus Connectionist or Neat Versus Scruffy. By Marvin Minsky. AI Magazine 12(2): Summer 1991, 34-51. Takes the position that AI systems should assimilate both symbolic and connectionist views.

Eye on the Prize. By Nils J. Nilsson. AI Magazine 16(2): Summer 1995, 9-17. "In its early stages, the field of AI had as its main goal the invention of computer programs having the general problem-solving abilities of humans. Along the way, a major shift of emphasis developed from general-purpose programs toward performance programs, ones whose competence was highly specialized and limited to particular areas of expertise. In this article, I claim that AI is now at the beginning of another transition, one that will reinvigorate efforts to build programs of general, humanlike competence. These programs will use specialized performance programs as tools, much like humans do."

Foundations and Grand Challenges of Artificial Intelligence. Raj Reddy's 1988 AAAI Presidential Address. AI Magazine 9(4): Winter 1988, 9-21.

  • In fact, you can read some of the other AAAI Presidential Addresses: "During their term of office, each AAAI President is invited to deliver a presidential address to the AI community. Traditionally, this address has been delivered at the AAAI National Conference on Artificial Intelligence, and, in recent years, the addresses have been published in AI Magazine. As a service to the community, AI Magazine is collecting these articles and making them available (in PDF format) to the scientific community at large."

AI's Next Brain Wave. New research in artificial intelligence could lay the groundwork for computer systems that learn from their users and the world around them. Part four in The Future Of Software series. By Aaron Ricadela. InformationWeek (April 25, 2005). "InformationWeek took a look at four research labs working in artificial intelligence, at IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and Xerox subsidiary Palo Alto Research Center. Instead of leading to another round of outsize expectations, this generation of research likely could lay the groundwork for a new breed of computer systems that learn from their users and the world around them."

Artificial Intelligence. [Radio broadcast; audio available.] Reported by Shay Zeller for The Front Porch. New Hampshire Public Radio (July 12, 2006). "Dartmouth College is celebrating 50 years of Artificial Intelligence this week with a special conference that takes a look forward and a look back at the field. We'll find out how AI has evolved since its inception and how far scientists have come to creating the technological brain that's been depicted in science fiction for decades. We'll also look at the philosophical and ethical questions that go along with creating machines that emulate the human mind. Our guest are: Eugene Charniak, professor of Computer Science at Brown University. ... James H. Moor, professor of Philosophy at Dartmouth. He's the conference's main organizer."

  • Also hear: Golden Anniversary For AI [podcast]. Dartmouth News: Views from the Green (May 5, 2006). "The field of artificial intelligence was officially named 50 years ago by Dartmouth Professor John McCarthy when he convened the 1956 Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence. In this podcast, philosophy professor Jim Moor discusses the history of AI and some of the philosophical questions he's been thinking about. He also talks about this summers's AI@50 conference, which will be held July 13-15 at Dartmouth."

Rolf Pfeifer - New AI. Podcast from Talking Robots (February 2, 2007). "In this episode of 'Talking Robots' we interview Rolf Pfeifer, about the last 50 years in artificial intelligence, the 'new AI', the central role of embodiment for intelligence, and his new popular science book. Rolf Pfeifer is professor of computer science at the Department of Informatics of the University of Zurich, and director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He has pioneered a new approach to artificial intelligence ('New AI'), which emphasizes the role of embodiment and argues that thought is not independent of the body, but tightly constrained, and at the same time enabled by it."

Artificial intelligence and machine learning; Now and the future (podcast). Vanderbilt News Service (March 24, 2006). "Doug Fisher, associate professor of computer science and computer engineering at Vanderbilt University, talks about the state of the art in artificial intelligence and robotics in this by Adelyn Jones of WRLT FM radio in Nashville."

The Prospects for AI. Listen to this panel discussion with Neil Jacobstein, Patrick Lincoln, Peter Norvig and Bruno Olshausen recorded on September 17, 2005 at the Accelerating Change 2005 conference and made available by IT Conversations.

21st-Century AI - Proud, Not Smug. By Tim Menzies. IEEE Intelligent Systems (May/June 2003). "AI is no longer a bleeding-edge technology -- hyped by its proponents and mistrusted by the mainstream. In the 21st century, AI is not necessarily amazing. Rather, it's often routine. Evidence for AI technology's routine and dependable nature abounds...."

It's Alive! - From airport tarmacs to online job banks to medical labs, artificial intelligence is everywhere. By Jennifer Kahn. Wired Magazine (March 2002; Issue 10.03). "In truth, we may never chat up a computer at a cocktail party. But in smaller yet significant ways, artificial intelligence is already here: in the cruise control of cars, the servers that route our email, and the personalized ads clogging our browser windows. The future is all around us."

Artificial Intelligence - Special Issue, CSI Communications 30(6): September 2006. Published by the Computer Society of India (CSI).

"Rose: What do you think has been the most important advance so far?

Brachman: A lot of people will vary on that and I'm sure we all have different opinions. In some respects one of the - - - I think the elemental insights that was had at the very beginning of the field still holds up very strongly which is that you can take a computing machine that normally, you know, back in the old days we think of as crunching numbers, and put inside it a set of symbols that stand in representation for things out in the world, as if we were doing sort of mental images in our own heads, and actually with computation, starting with something that's very much like formal logic, you know, if-then-else kinds of things, but ultimately getting to be softer and fuzzier kinds of rules, and actually do computation inside, if you will, the mind of the machine, that begins to allow intelligent behavior. I think that crucial insight, which is pretty old in the field, is really in some respects one of the lynch pins to where we've gotten.

Horvitz: I think many passionate researchers in artificial intelligence are fundamentally interested in the question of Who am I? Who are people? What are we? There's a sense of almost astonishment at the prospect that information processing or computation, if you take that perspective, could lead to this. Coupled with that is the possibility of the prospect of creating consciousnesses with computer programs, computing systems some day. It's not talked about very much at formal AI conferences, but it's something that drives some of us in terms of our curiosity and intrigue. I know personally speaking, this has been a core question in the back of my mind, if not the foreground, not on my lips typically, since I've been very young. This is this question about who am I.

Rose: ... can we create it?

Horvitz: Is it possible - - - is it possible that parts turning upon parts could generate this?"

The Charlie Rose Show: A panel discussion about Artificial Intelligence (December 21, 2004) [Google Video: fast forward to 26:10.]

Robots/ Mechanical Life. NPR Talk of the Nation: Science Friday With Ira Flatow (August 30, 2002). "This week, an automated convenience store opened in Washington. This robo-mart dispenses snacks, toiletries, and even DVDs. From housekeeping to the battlefield to your neighborhood convenience store, researchers are creating robots to live with us and work for us. In this hour, we'll look at how robots may change our lives. Plus, early attempts to create mechanical life." Guests: Rodney Brooks & Gaby Wood. You can listen to the radio broadcast by clicking here.

Smart Tools - Companies in health care, finance, and retailing are using artificial-intelligence systems to filter huge amounts of data and identify suspicious transactions. By Otis Port, with Michael Arndt and John Carey. Business Week's 2003 edition of The BusinessWeek50. "Some managers still think that artificial intelligence--the decades-long effort to create computer systems with human-like smarts--has been a big flop. But executives at most companies on the BW50 list know better. Artificial intelligence (AI) is often a crucial ingredient in their stellar performance. In fact, AI is now a part of a swath of industries as broad as the BW50 itself."

Artificial Intelligentsia - Proselytizers of a future in which smart machines reign have not lost the faith. By Gary Stix. Scientific American (October 30, 2000). "To mark the opening of a new computer center that bears the name of AI pioneers Alan Newell and Herbert Simon, the university held a one-day conference on October 19th that brought together experts from inside and outside the university (including Arthur C. Clarke, if only in video presence). Their mission: to answer the question of whether computers would help or hinder the building of a good world in the year 2050."

AI -- The Next 25 Years: Envisioning the future of AI research on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of AAAI. Edited by Matthew Stone and Haym Hirsh, Department of Computer Science, Rutgers University. "We asked our contributors to comment on goals that drive current research in AI; on ways our current questions grow out of our past results; on interactions that tie us together as a field; and on principles that can help to represent our profession to society at large. We have excerpted here from the responses we received, and edited them together to bring out some of the most distinctive themes."

HAL's Legacy: 2001's Computer as Dream and Reality. David G. Stork, editor.(1997). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Compares the book/movie computer celebrity with what has been achieved in AI.

Artificial Intelligence: Realizing the Ultimate Promises of Computing. David Waltz (1997). AI Magazine 18 (3), pp.49-52.

The Role of Intelligent Systems in the National Information Infrastructure. The American Association for Artificial Intelligence. Daniel S. Weld, editor. (1995). The report explains how AI techniques can play a central role in the development of a useful and usable National Information Infrastructure (NII) because they offer the best alternative for addressing three key challenges.

Related Resources

AI on the Web. A resource companion to Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig's "Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach" with links to people, companies, software, reference material and much, much more. Among the many subtopics are Overview of AI and Highly Recommended Links.

Artificial Intelligence FAQs. Easy access to the collection of FAQs that moved from CMU to UCLA.

Bibliographies on Artificial Intelligence. Maintained by Alf-Christian Achilles. This is part of The Collection of Computer Science Bibliographies which is updated monthly and now contains over one million references. The search feature is very user friendly.

Can Computers Think? Mapping Great Debates. Visit MacroVU's site where you can preview their "7 poster-sized argumentation maps that chart the entire history of the debate. The maps outline arguments put forth since 1950 by more than 380 cognitive scientists, philosophers, artificial intelligence researchers, mathematicians, and others."

  • Also see Debatemapper's "collaboratively editable version of Robert Horn's brilliant and pioneering Can Computers Think? map, charting fifty years of philosophical, scientific and technical debate."

The Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence. "Sponsored by the American Association for Artificial Intelligence Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence Conferences traditionally consist of of case studies of deployed applications with measurable benefits whose value depends on the use of AI technology. In addition, many IAAI conferences augment these case studies with papers and invited talks that address emerging areas of AI technology or applications." You can get an idea of what's been going on by reading the tables of contents (available in PDF format) for the Proceedings starting with the 1989 report. (And if you find something of interest, try plugging the title and/or the author(s) into an online search engine to get more information.)

Scientific American Frontiers' Private Eyes Teaching Guide (from the Inventing the Future series). "The development of increasingly advanced technology in computers and robotics has sparked serious debate among scientists regarding the possible existence of artificial intelligence. Scientists divide into two basic factions. One group believes such development is possible in the relatively near future; the other disagrees, arguing that computers and machines will never achieve the equivalent of human intelligence. How smart are smart rooms? Can a computer really be 'smart' at all? Consider the possible answers to this question and debate the positions scientists held about artificial intelligence."

This book assumes that any brain, machine or other thing that has a mind must be composed of smaller things that cannot think at all. . . . Are minds machines? Of that, I've raised no doubt at all but have only asked, what kind of machines?
- Marvin Minsky

More Readings

General Encyclopedias

Abelson, Harold. 1997. Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. In The Computer Science and Engineering Handbook, ed. Tucker Jr, Allen B., 497-499. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Inc.

Jarvis, John. F., and Edward Grant. 1997. Intelligent Machines. In McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, Volume 9, 309-313. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Newell, Allen, and Bruce G. Buchanan.1997. Artificial Intelligence. In McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, Volume 2, 146-150. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Also see our Reference Shelf.

General Interest Books

Bobrow, Daniel G., editor. 1994. Artificial Intelligence in Perspective. Cambridge, MA: Bradford Book/MIT Press. Printed first in 1993 in the journal Artificial Intelligence 59: 5-20. Bobrow has brought together thoughts and comments from the authors of several classic papers whose work has been continuously used and referred to by AI scientists. The contributors reflect on the impact their work has had during decades of AI research.

Boden, Margaret A. 1977. Artificial Intelligence and Natural Man. New York: Basic Books. Although the examples are somewhat dated, this book remains a clear discussion of the goals and controversial issues of AI.

Fetzer, James H., editor. 1988. Aspects of Artificial Intelligence. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Press. A collection of articles by AI professionals. Contributions on the ontological foundations of AI by B. Cantwell Smith, J. H. Moor, J. C. Maloney, W. J. Rapaport, J. H. Fetzer, B. MacLennan. Articles on AI methodology from C. Glymour, B. Buchanan, D. Nute, T. Rankin, K. Kelly, R. A. Vaughan, R. Scheines.

Gelernter, David. 1994. The Muse in the Machine: Computerizing the Poetry of Human Thought. New York: The Free Press of Macmillan, Inc.

Hogan, James P. 1997. Mind Matters: Exploring the World of Artificial Intelligence. New York: Ballantine Publishing Group. A non-technical look at the development, history, issues and people in the AI field.

Kurzweil, Raymond. 1990. The Age of Intelligent Machines. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Also see → The Age of Intelligent Machines: The Film. By Raymond Kurzweil. "A survey of Artificial Intelligence showing AI at work and under development. The paradoxes, promise and challenges of advanced computer science, with authorities Marvin Minsky, Roger Schank, Raj Reddy and other leaders in the field. " (Total time 28:40).

McCorduck, Pamela. 2004. Machines Who Think: A Personal Inquiry into the History and Prospects of Artificial Intelligence. A K Peters, Natick, Mass. Reviewed in Scientific American; May 2004.]

Minsky, Marvin. 1985. The Society of Mind. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Simon, Herbert. 1996. Sciences of the Artificial. 3rd edition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. A classic book, originally published in 1969, that examines several presuppositions of AI. Updates throughout the book take into account advances in cognitive science and the science of design.

Articles, etc.

Brooks, R. A. 1991a. Intelligence Without Representation. Artificial Intelligence 47 (1-3): 139-159.

Epstein, Robert. 1992. The Quest for the Thinking Computer. AI Magazine 13 (2): 80-95.

Feigenbaum, Edward A. 1996. How the 'What' Becomes the 'How'. Communications of the ACM 39 (5): 97-104.

Hillis, Daniel. 1997. Can They Feel Your Pain? Newsweek 129 (May 5, 1997): 57.

Lenat, Douglas B. 1995. Artificial Intelligence: A Crucial Storehouse of Commonsense Knowledge is Now Taking Shape. Scientific American 273 (3): 80-82.

Masci, David. 1997. Artificial Intelligence. (Cover story). Congressional Quarterly Researcher(November 14, 1997): 985. An easy-to-read overview of AI issues, goals, projects, and a short chronology of AI achievements.

Newell, Allen. 1983. Some Intellectual Issues in the History of Artificial Intelligence. In The Study of Information: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, ed. Machlup, F. and U. Mansfield, 187-227. New York: Wiley.

Newell, Allen, and Herbert Simon. 1976. Computer Science as Empirical Inquiry: Symbols and Search. In Computation and Intelligence, ed. Luger, George F., 91-119. Menlo Park/Cambridge, MA./London: AAAI Press/The MIT Press, 1995. [Originally published in Communications of the ACM 19(3).]

Schank, Roger C. 1990. What is AI, Anyway? In The Foundations of Artificial Intelligence, ed. Partridge, D. and Y. Wilks, 3-13. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Simon, Herbert 1995. Artificial Intelligence: An Empirical Science. Artificial Intelligence 77 (1): 95-127.

Stewart, Doug. Interview with Herbert Simon, June 1994. Omni Magazine. One of the many probing questions is: "What is this the main goal of AI?" [No longer available online.]

Ullman, Ellen. 2002. Programming the Post-Human: Computer science redefines "life." Harper's, Vol. 305, No. 1829: 60-70.

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