Artificial Intelligence

Intelligent machines has always been a topic of interest for man.The greek story of Pygmallion who fell in love with a sculpture he created which was later turned to a human by the gods.The golden robots of Hephaestus, the story of Frankeinstein, all show people dreamed about creating intelligent forms. In the 19th century with the advent of computers things where taking a new turn.Man made artificial intelligent forms where no longer a dream or a scince fiction novel but those dreams or stories where about to take shape. Artificial Intelligence or AI was a term coined by John McCarthy in 1956.He defined it as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.”The field of AI research was founded at a conference in the campus of Dartmouth College in 1956.John Mcarthy,Marvin Minsky,Allan Nevell and Herbert Simon were the pioneers in this field.


What is intelligence?

Intelligence can be define as the ability to think to reason to interpret and to learn.It is a process which creates thoughts and which converts these thoughts to actions.So inorder to call a machine or anhting intelligent it must not only perform the given instructions but it should also be able to interpret data and make its own conclusions,it should be able to learn from experience,and it should take necessary actions as the situation demands.


The Turing’s Test

Turing’s test is a test proposed by the mathematician Alan Turing to test whether a machine is intelligent or not.The test is conducted as follows,there are three rooms Room A contains a human,Room B contains the machine under test and Room C contaqins an interrogator who does not know which room contains the human.The interrogator then asks a set of questions to both the

machine and human.Based on the responses if the interrogator is not able to identify where the machine is then the machine is considered to have passed the test. This test has some draw backs:

  1. Even if the machine is found to be intelligent we cannot say how intelligent the system is.
  2. Some may argue that the intelligence under test is not of the machine but of the programmer who created it.
  3. The turing test checks if a system can imitate human behaviour,and human behaviour consists of both intelligent and stupid actions.
  4. The Chinese Room: an argument proposed by John Searle that a computer program could manipulate symbols of which it had no understanding to create intelligent ouput.

The CAPTCHA seen in several websites is an example of the reverse Turing test.It tries to identify whether an automated program or a person is using the website.It works on the simple principle that ordinary sotware will not be able to identify the symbol or atleast the average man doesn’t have access to such software.


The Fifth Generation Computers

An initiative by tha Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry.Begun in 1982,it was supposed to perform large calculations using massive parallel processing capabilities.It was supposed to provide a platform for the future develpoment of AI.The project did not meet with much commercial success as the high parallel computer architure was surpassed by the less specialised SUN systems and the x86 architctures.

Problem Solving

The first AI programs were designed on the belief that man solves a problem by following a step by step procedure.This same algorthim was used in AI programs,but when the size of the program exceded a limit the combinatorial explosion takes place and the computer memory required will reach astronomical numbers.It was later understood that when difficult problems arise humans use intutive methods to reach a conclusion.For this knowledge representation is an important field.AI systems must be able to maintain large Knowledge bases about the world and it should represent objects,properties,categories and relation between the objects. Knowledge Base Management Systems(KBMS) is a much complicated system than the DataBase Management Systems.The

former not only collects data but has to maintain relations between the various information.A DBMS is a collection of Data which can be retrieved using queries.

Current Trends

Some examples of real-world systems based on artificial intelligence are:

  • Speech Recognition Systems.
  • Computer Vision
  • Text Analysis
  • Robot Control
  • Google
  • Intelligence Distribution Agent (IDA), developed for the U.S. Navy, helps assign sailors new jobs at the end of their tours of duty by negotiating with them via email.
  • Systems that trade stocks and commodities without human intervention.
  • Intelligent robots, such as ASIMO, QRIO, AIBO.
  • Intelligent help systems capable of providing context sensitive help to software system users. These systems are able to infer the correct level of help needed to provide because they can
    1. make inferences about the level of skill of the user and
    2. utilize deep knowledge about the software application itself. Using these areas of knowledge it is possible to identify the types of mistakes that users of varying skill levels are likely to make. Novice users who have no conceptual insight into an application tend to make syntactic and semantic mistakes, niaive users tend to make more semantic mistakes whereas expert users tend to make thematic mistakes – i.e. inferring incorrectly that one way of assembling commands to solve a particular problem can be generalized to solve another problem using a comparable sequence of commands.
  • Intelligent help to operators of complex and potentially dangerous industrial process such as nuclear power plants. Human operators of high risk industrial processes have limited attention span and typically perform poorly in situations where cascades of sequential problem sets can result in an inappropriate remedy.
  • “Common sense” reasoning. An ongoing example is the project called [CYC]. CYC attempts to capture and use knowledge about the world to performing reasoning about specific topics. CYC drives it’s inferencing capability by using an encyclopediac amount of knowlege about the world. Its current knowlege base consists of 300,000 concepts, 3,000,000 assertions, and 26,000 relations . CYC can further be trained by interaction with humans in the outside world.

{This article won me the second prize in Technical Essay Writing competition by IEEE Hub1 in 2011} 


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