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Special Reports on  " Technology"

      Click on a title below to access the article in this Special Report.

Special Reports

Artificial Intelligence: Oxymoron or New Frontier?

While computers have surpassed human mental capabilities in certain areas, other mental functions remain beoynd their scope. The debate over the limits of artificial intelligence continues.

Introduction
Are thinking and intelligence just forms of symbol processing? If they are, then digital computers would seem, in principle, to exhibit ...

How Artificial Intelligence Fails
The computer revolution has had an impact on many aspects of our ordinary lives, ranging all the way from the way we write letters or make our airline reservations to the invisible ways in which our banks, governments, and credit card agencies keep track of our finances. The development of artificial intelligence (AI) is just one small corner of the computer revolution, and our assessment of AI will have only a small bearing on our assessment of the enormous impact and achievements of the computer revolution. ...

Controversies in Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is very young. It is only forty or fifty years old. In comparison, physics is at least three hundred years old. The goals of AI are to understand intelligence and build intelligent machines. However, almost everything about AI is still controversial. AI is just getting started. Some even doubt whether AI is possible in principle, saying that machines cannot truly be made to think. Some say that the study of artificial intelligence will never get off the ground. ...

Computers and Psychology: Keeping the Human Aspect
To get clear about the issues that the invention and application of computers have presented us with, we need to make a sharp distinction between artificial intelligence, a hugely successful branch of engineering, and the application of its techniques and theoretical concepts to the problems of understanding human thinking, in what has come to be called cognitive science. Apart from a core of enthusiasts, it is now widely agreed that the use of computational concepts in psychology, driven by the thrilling analogy between computers running programs and brains thinking, is a flop. Yet this core of enthusiasts still exercises a great deal of influence in the academic world and, in the way these things go, in shaping public consciousness, long after the original program is in the doldrums. ...

Where it's been and Where it's going
As the other articles in this theme illustrate, research in the provocatively named field of artificial intelligence (AI) evokes both ...

AI Is an Empirical Science
A number of Big Questions have, from time immemorial, attracted human attention: What is the nature of matter? How did the universe begin? What is life? What is mind? Artificial intelligence addresses that fourth question: explaining how a material system (a brain or computer) can behave intelligently and then constructing "artificial" systems (computer programs) that do behave intelligently. ...

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