The branch of computer science concerned with making computers behave
like humans by modelling on computers human thoughts. Sometimes AI is meant to
solve a problem that a person can solve but do so more efficiently using a
Coined by Stanford University Professor John McCarthy, AI in
recent years has been applied to games-playing programming (by making computers
play chess and checkers), expert-systems programming (by making computers help
doctors diagnose diseases based on symptoms cited), natural
language-programming (by making computers understand natural human languages),
neural network-programming (by making computers simulate intelligence by
attempting to reproduce various types of physical connections occurring in
animal and human brains), and robotic programming (by making computers see,
hear, and react to various sensory stimuli).
To date, no computer is able to exhibit “full AI,” that is,
fully simulating human behavior. The two most common programming languages used for AI activities are LISP and
Computer; Programming Languages C, C++, Perl, and Java.
Free On-Line Dictionary of Computing. Artificial Intelligence. [Online, January 19, 2002.] Free On-Line Dictionary
of Computing Website. http://foldoc
.doc.ic.ac.uk/foldoc/foldoc.cgi?AI; Jupitermedia Corporation. Artificial
Intelligence. [Online, February 10,
2004.] Jupitermedia Corporation Website. http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/a/
The ability of a computer or other machine to perform actions thought to require intelligence. Among these actions are logical deduction and inference, creativity, the ability to make decisions based on past experience or insufficient or conflicting information, and the ability to understand spoken language.
A Closer Look The goal of research on artificial intelligence is to understand the nature of thought and intelligent behavior and to design intelligent systems. A computer is not really intelligent; it just follows directions very quickly. At the same time, it is the speed and memory of modern computers that allows researchers to manage the huge quantities of data necessary to model human thought and behavior. An intelligent machine would be more flexible than a computer and would engage in the kind of “thinking” that people actually do. An example is vision. In theory, a network of sensors combined with systems for interpreting the data could produce the kind of pattern recognition that we take for granted as seeing and understanding what we see. In fact, developing software that can recognize subtle differences in objects (such as those we use to recognize human faces) is very difficult. The recognition of differences that we can perceive without deliberate effort would require massive amounts of data and elaborate guidelines to be recognized by an artificial intelligence system. According to the famous Turing Test, proposed in 1950 by British mathematician and logician Alan Turing, a machine would be considered intelligent if it could convince human observers that another human, rather than a machine, was answering their questions in conversation.