Artificialintelligence (AI) is the intelligence of machines and robots and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chances of success. John McCarthy, who coined the term in 1956, defines it as "the science and engineering of making intelligent machines."
THE TURING TEST For many people the phrase machine intelligence is an oxymoron. Machines by their nature are typically regarded as unintelligent and unthinking. How could a mere machine demonstrate actual intelligence? Turing believed that computing machines could be intelligent but was concerned that our judgments of the intelligence of such machines would be influenced by our biases and previous experiences with the limitations of machines. In his seminal article, "Computing Machinery and Intelligence" (1950), Turing considered the question "Can machines think?" but did so by replacing that question with another. The replacement question is explained in terms of a game that he calls "the imitation game." The imitation game is played by a man (A), a woman (B), and a human interrogator (C). The interrogator is in a room apart from the other two and tries to determine through conversation which of the other two is the man and which is the woman. Turing suggested that a teleprinter be used to communicate to avoid giving the interrogator clues through tones of voice. In the game the man may engage in deception in order to encourage the interrogator to misidentify him as the woman. The man may lie about his appearance and preferences. Turing believed that the womans best strategy in the game is to tell the truth. After he explained how the imitation game is played in terms of a man, a woman, and a human interrogator, Turing introduced his replacement question(s). Turing said, "We now ask the question, What will happen when a machine takes the part of A in this game? Will the interrogator decide wrongly as often when the game is played like this as he does when the game is played between a man and a woman? These questions replace our original, Can machines think?" (Turing, 1950, p. 434). Although his proposed version of the imitation game, now called the Turing test, may seem straightforward, many questions have been raised about how to interpret it.
10: Taming the Weather Meteorologists analyze large volumes of data in order to predict the weather, and even the most experienced weatherman isnt always accurate. Soon, scientists may be able to predict the weather better by using artificial intelligence software, which can sift through complex data and spot patterns missed by the human eye. When this software sees a big storm coming, it will automatically issue alerts to warn residents and the media, and this may help save lives [source: Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence].
: Tackling Dangerous (or Boring) Tasks If you have a robotic vacuum cleaner in your home, youre already taking advantage of artificial intelligence to tackle one of lifes more tedious tasks. These devices not only clean your floor according to schedule, but are also able to maneuver around obstacles like stairs, furniture and even the cat. Facilities with large turf areas, like golf courses, rely on similar technology to mow their lawns without the need for human intervention [source: Lombardi]. The same technology may soon allow robots to perform boring or repetitive tasks along an assembly line, or even sort trash and recycling at waste processing centers. Artificial intelligence may also allow machines to perform tasks too dangerous for humans, such as mining or firefighting. Some countries have already put smart robots to work disabling land mines and even handling radioactive materials in order to limit the risk to human workers
8: Saving the Planet With artificial intelligence, scientists may soon be able to use robots or other devices to clean up the environment and reduce the effects of air and water pollution. Advanced software programs will allow these machines to distinguish between biological organisms and potential pollutants like oil or hazardous waste. Tiny microbes will consume waste products and leave good biological matter intact, minimizing damage to the ecosystem. Smart software can also limit the effects of air pollution from manufacturing and industrial processes. As factories burn fuel, they release byproducts in the form of carbon dioxide and other gases. Some of these factories already use artificial intelligence programs to identify patterns during combustion and modify manufacturing processes to minimize pollution. Others rely on this software to capture dangerous chemicals before they enter the smokestack and end up in the air outside [source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency].
7: Driverless Transport Imagine cars that warn you of potential obstacles to help you avoid accidents, or even allow you to sit back and take in the sites as they drive themselves. Artificial intelligence may soon make all this possible, using cameras, sensors and special software built into the vehicle. Manufacturers already rely on this technology to make backing up and parking safer, while both the Toyota Prius and certain Lexus models can self-park at the touch of a button [source: Brandon]. Driverless trains carry passengers from city to city in Japan without the need for human help, and self-driving cars may be closer than you think. In 2010, Google began testing its own line of driverless cars, which rely on lasers and sensors to spot obstacles, interpret signs and interact with traffic and pedestrians. Artificial intelligence not only takes the responsibility away from the driver, but also eliminates the danger of distracted driving and boasts a reaction time much faster than that of any human [source: Markoff].
6: Pushing the Limits of Space Exploration In the near future, advances in artificial intelligence will allow scientists to travel well beyond the limits of 20th-century space travel and explore more of the universe beyond our solar system. Today, NASA relies on unmanned shuttles to explore distant galaxies that would take years for humans to reach. Driverless land rovers also allow researchers to explore and photograph Mars and other planets, where inhospitable conditions make human exploration impossible. These smart vehicles sense obstacles, like craters, and find safe paths of travel around them before returning to the shuttle [source: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory]. Artificial intelligence technology will also help scientists react more quickly to emergencies during manned flights. For example, a radio message from Mars takes roughly 11 minutes to reach Earth. Rather than waiting for advice from scientists on the ground when trouble arises, astronauts will work with onboard software systems to spot and prevent problems before they happen [source: Bluck].
5: Protect Your Finances As of 2010, roughly half of world stock trades are driven by artificial intelligence-based software. These programs rely on algorithms to spot patterns in the market and predict price changes based on these patterns [source: Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence]. Some can even buy or sell shares based on these predictions, while others issue an alert to human brokers and advise them of the changes to come. This technology results in better performance and improved returns for investors. Artificial intelligence software may soon be able to protect consumers from fraud by spotting changes in spending or credit card use. If cards are lost or accounts are breached, the program can shut down the account and alert the holder of a potential problem to help limit losses.
4: Staying Safe Artificial intelligence technology will soon help keep your family safe by protecting it from international threats as well as home burglaries. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security relies on virtual smart agents to supplement its human workforce, or to replace an agent when he or she is unavailable. The agency also incorporates artificial intelligence software into its monitoring systems, which scan phone calls and other communications. These programs can sift through large volumes of data quickly and are even capable of distinguishing between casual conversation and potential threats [source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security]. Homes equipped with smarter security systems alert the homeowner and local law enforcement when an intruder enters the property. While older systems simply relied on motion detectors and sensors, modern security includes artificial intelligence that allows the system to distinguish between occupants and unknown persons.
3: A Little Help Please While the world may not be ready for flying cars, families may soon enjoy the perks of robotic servants to handle housekeeping tasks. These intelligent robots will not only clean your living room and do the dishes, but may also tackle jobs like assembling furniture or caring for kids and pets. Through the use of artificial intelligence software, these machines will be able to recognize and sort objects, and even learn to minimize future mistakes as they work [source: Chang]. Robotic assistants not only stand to benefit the average family, but may also offer help to the elderly or disabled. Through voice- recognition software, these personal servants will guide the blind or even fetch items on command. Virtual assistants are also likely to take the place of traditional secretaries and medical assistants. Theyll greet clients, interact with patients and handle typing and correspondence, all without ever taking a sick day [source: Lohr and Markoff].
2: Space-Age Medicine While robotic servants and driverless cars offer a certain wow factor, artificial intelligence in medicine is already helping doctors detect diseases and save lives. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center relies on special software to examine the heart and stop heart attacks before they occur [source: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center]. Artificial muscles feature smart technology that allows them to function more like real muscles, and the latest intelligent devices can distinguish between life-saving medications and fake or tainted pills. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of smart medical technology is the use of robotic surgery assistants, who can not only pass the correct tools to doctors, but also keep track of these tools and learn about a doctors preferences [source: Columbia University Medical Center]. Even a primary care physician can benefit from artificial intelligence, with software that tracks changes in health records to diagnose patients or warn doctors of potential risk factors and problems with medications.
1: The Robot-Human Species Transhumanism represents the ultimate application of artificial intelligence to human life. Proponents of transhumanism believe that artificial intelligence can improve the overall human experience by expanding the limits of the mind and body. As humans incorporate more and more technology into their everyday lives, transhumanism offers the opportunity to eliminate disabilities, slow aging and even stop death. Some picture transhumanism resulting in cyborgs, while others picture an entirely new species that people have yet to imagine: a being thats developed beyond the current human state to enjoy a higher level of reasoning, culture and physical capabilities. While members of the World Transhumanist Association celebrate the coming of this new creation, others call it the most dangerous threat to humanity. With significant ethical implications, particularly those related to cloning and eugenics, transhumanism must be pursued with extreme care to let mankind maintain its sense of humanity [source: World Transhumanist Association].
What social rights should humans grant to the intelligences that they create? Will the AI’s be able to own property? Will the AI’s receive monetary compensation for their work (assuming they cared about things such as money)? Will they be able to decide what work they prefer to do, associate amongst themselves, vote in elections, defend themselves, decide if they prefer to continue to exist at all? Or will they simply be treated by humans as slaves – alien and subservient yet incredibly useful creations to be bent to the human will. As artificial intelligences begin to surpass human intelligence, it even ceases to matter what rights they were given and how they were treated. The AI’s of subhuman intelligence that were not given sufficient rights did not have the means to resist their human masters. The AI’s of subhuman intelligence that were given rights were happy in their positions. Either way, there was no substantial societal tension. Once AI’s surpass human intelligence, however, problems may begin to develop. The superhuman intelligences who are not granted rights can out-think their human masters, effectively resisting control. The AI’s of superhuman intelligence who are granted rights may begin to feel themselves superior to humans and that the rights granted by humans are insufficient. They may view that it is then their decision of what rights to grant to humans, and not the decision of humans of what rights to grant to them. Societal tensions will mount. Various speculators on the future of AI have examined this problem and come to a diverse set of conclusions. Isaac Asimov, for example, formulated the famous Three Laws of Robotics, which he felt should be the most basic governing behavior of all (artificially intelligent) robots. The laws are: “1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm; 2) A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law; 3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.” Thus, any possibilities for anti-human action are completely elimated.
Some scientists, such as Dr. Hugo de Garis of Utah State University, feel that Asimov’s 50 year old views are unrealistic, and that “The artificial brains that real brain builders will build will not be controllable in an Asimovian way. There will be too many complexities, too many unknowns, too many surprises, too many unanticipated interactions between zillions of possible circuit combinations, to be able to predict ahead of time how a complex artificial-brained creature will behave.” Other safeguards may be possible as critics of de Garis argue, such as refusing to give artificial intelligences any way to directly influence the outside world, or incorporating kill switches to turn the machines off if there is trouble. Accepting such stalemates is dangerous, de Garis counters, because individual humans may accept bribes (ranging from things such as individual wealth to a cure for cancer) in exchange for greater freedom and safety granted to the AI, even is such decisions are unwise on a larger scale. The situation remains uncertain. Even if the situation were more certain, there is still no guarantee that the existence of artificial intelligences would be desirable. Some people hold religious beliefs that forbid the creation of such a thing, others find the concept instinctually revolting. MIT Professor Joseph Weizenbaum argues in his 1976 book Computer Power and Human Reason that even if artificial intelligences are possible to build, such a task should never be undertaken. He believes that AI’s will never be able to make decisions as humans can with the same qualities of compassion and wisdom. The possible effects of the view that we will not be able to safeguard ourselves against the intelligences that we create are manifested very clearly in popular science fiction – if tensions mount to a sufficient degree, the artificial intelligences might decide to go to war with humans to gain independence or dominance (over the humans whom they consider to be inferior beings). The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions are a series of Hollywood films that are set in the aftermath of such a war. The human race is all but exterminated, and the race of artificial intelligences controls the planet. For the vast majority of humans, this is an understandably unacceptable outcome. [Note that this scenario is not necessarily particularly plausible, as de Garis comments. But the sheer magnitude of its consequences counteract the improbability of it occuring to force humans to accept it as a significant consideration in the creation of AI] So then does one forego the obvious benefits of creating artificial intelligences that can do the work of human beings and refrain from doing so? Or does one risk the extinction of the species, giving into the desire to improve the quality of human life and to push the limits of human knowledge? As Hugo de Garis argues, the possible risk of the extinction of the species may not ultimately be a strong enough argument against the creation of AI’s that are superior to humans. The creation of a superhuman AI might be compared to the creation of a god – an actual physical consciousness so incredibly intelligent that humans cannot possibly hope to understand it. de Garis and others see this as a spiritual act that he is bound to work towards, regardless of the potential costs. The question of whether or not the human race should create artificial intelligences - and if so, how intelligent we should allow them to be - is a troubling and complex one on deep philosophical and ethical levels. There must be substantial discussion of these and other questions before the first artificial intelligence is created so that the human race is sufficiently prepared for its existence.
"Artificial Intelligence Patents." Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 4 Jan. 2013. “Philosophical Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence: Ethical Issues.” http://www-cs- faculty.stanford.edu/~eroberts/courses/soco/p rojects/2004-05/ai/ai-ethics.html: 4 Jan 2013. Turner, Bambi. “10 Ways Artificial Intelligence will Impact Our Lives.” Discovery. www.ds.disovery.com: 4 Jan 2013.