History of AI?

We call ourselves Homo sapiens-man the wise-because our mental capacities are so important to us. For thousands of years, we have tried to understand how we think; that is, how a mere handful of stuff can perceive, understand, predict, arid manipulate a world far larger and more complicated than itself. The field of artificial intelligence, or AI, goes further still: it attempts not just to understand but also to build intelligent entities.

A1 is one of the newest sciences. Work started in earnest soon after World War 11, and the name itself was coined in 1956. Along with molecular biology, A1 is regularly cited as the “field I would most like to be in” by scientists in other disciplines. A student in physics might reasonably feel that all the good ideas have already been taken by Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and the rest. AI, on the other hand, still has openings for several full-time Einsteins.

A1 currently encompasses a huge variety of subfields, ranging from general-purpose areas, such as learning and perception to such specific tasks as playing chess, proving mathematical theorems, writing poetry, and diagnosing diseases. A1 systematizes and automates intellectual tasks and is therefore potentially relevant to any sphere of human intellectual activity. In this sense, it is truly a universal field.

What is Artificial Intelligence ( AI )

We have claimed that A1 is exciting, but we have not said what it is. Definitions of artificial intelligence according to eight textbooks are shown Below These definitions vary along two main dimensions. Roughly, the ones on top are concerned with thought processes and reasoning, whereas the ones on the bottom address behavior. The definitions on the left measure success in terms of fidelity to human performance, whereas the ones on the right measure against an ideal concept of intelligence, which we will call rationality. A system is rational if it does the “right thing,” given what it knows.

Systems that think like humans


The exciting new effort to make computers think . . . machines with minds, in the full and literal sense.” (Haugeland, 1985) “[The automation of] activities that we associate with human thinking, activities such as decision-making, problem solving, learning . . .” (Bellman, 1978)

Systems that think rationally


The study of mental faculties through the use of computational models.” (Chamiak and McDermott, 1985) “The study of the computations that make it possible to perceive, reason, and act.” (Winston, 1992)

Systems that act like humans


The art of creating machines that perform functions that require intelligence when performed by people.” (Kurzweil, 1990) “The study of how to make computers do things at which, at the moment, people are better.” (Rich and Knight, 1991)

Systems that act rationally


Computational Intelligence is the study of the design of intelligent agents.” (Poole et al., 1998) “A1 . . .is concerned with intelligent behavior in artifacts.” (Nilsson, 1998)

Historically, all four approaches to A1 have been followed. As one might expect, a tension exists between approaches centered around humans and approaches centered around rationality.’ A human-centered approach must be an empirical science, involving hypothesis and experimental confirmation. A rationalist approach involves a combination of mathematics and engineering. Each group has both disparaged and helped the other. Let us look at the four approaches in more detail.

(AI) Acting humanly: The Turing Test approach

The %ring Test, proposed by Alan Turing (195O), was designed to provide a satisfactory operational definition of intelligence. Rather than proposing a long and perhaps controversial list of qualifications required for intelligence, he suggested a test based on indistinguishability from undeniably intelligent entities-human beings. The computer passes the test if a human interrogator, after posing some written questions, cannot tell whether the written responses come from a person or not. article 26 discusses the details of the test and whether a computer is really intelligent if it passes. For now, we note that programming a computer to pass the test provides plenty to work on. The computer would need to possess the following capabilities:

Note We should point out that, by distinguishing between human and rational behavior, we are not suggesting that humans are necessarily “irrational” in the sense of “emotionally unstable” or “insane.” One merely need note that we are not perfect: we are not all chess grandmasters, even those of us who know all the rules of chess; and, unfortunately, not everyone gets an A on the exam. Some systematic errors in human reasoning are cataloged by Kahneman et al. (1982).

  • natural language processing to enable it to communicate successfully in English.
  • knowledge representation to store what it knows or liears;
  • automated reasoning to use the stored inforrnation to answer questions and to draw new conclusions;
  • machine learning to adapt to new circumstances and to detect and extrapolate patterns.

Turing’s test deliberately avoided direct physical interaction between the interrogator and the computer, because physical simulation of a person is unnecessary for intelligence. However, the so-called total Turing Test includes a video signal so that the interrogator can test the subject’s perceptual abilities, as well as the opportunity for the interrogator to pass physical objects “through the hatch.” To pass the total Turing Test, the computer will need

  • computer vision to perceive objects, and
  • robotics to manipulate objects and move about.


These six disciplines compose most of AI, and Turing deserves credit for designing a test that remains relevant 50 years later. Yet A1 researchers have devoted little effort to passing the Turing test, believing that it is more important to study the underlying principles of intelligence than to duplicate an exemplar. The quest for “artificia1 flight” succeeded when the Wright brothers and others stopped imitating birds and learned about aerodynamics. Aeronautical engineering texts do not define the goal of their field as making “machines that fly so exactly like pigeons that they can fool even other pigeons.”


(AI) Thinking humanly: The cognitive modeling approach


If we are going to say that a given program thinks like a human, we must have some way of determining how humans think. We need to get inside the actual workings of human minds. There are two ways to do this: through intro spectior trying to catch our own thoughts as they go by-and through psychological experiments. Once we have a sufficiently precise theory of the mind, it becomes possible to express the theory as a computer program. If the program’s input/output and timing behaviors match corresponding human behaviors, that is evidence that some of the program’s mechanisms could also be operating in humans. For example, Allen Newel1 and Herbert Simon, who developed GPS, the “General Problem Solver” (Newel1 and Simon, 1961), were not content to have their program solve problems correctly. They were more concerned with comparing the trace of its reasoning steps to traces of human subjects solving the same problems. The interdisciplinary field of cognitive science brings together computer models from A1 and experimental techniques from psychology to try to construct precise and testable theories of the workings of the human mind.


Cognitive science is a fascinating field, worthy of an encyclopedia in itself (Wilson and Keil, 1999). We will not attempt to describe what is known of human cognition in this article. We will occasionally comment on similarities or differences between AI techniques and human cognition. Real cognitive science, however, is necessarily based on experimental investigation of actual humans or animals, and we assume that the reader has access only to a computer for experimentation.

In the early days of A1 there was often confusion between the approaches: an author would argue that an algorithm performs well on a task and that it is therefore a good model of human performance, or vice versa. Modern authors separate the two kinds of claims; this distinction has allowed both A1 and cognitive science to develop more rapidly. The two fields continue to fertilize each other, especially in the areas of vision and natural language. Vision in particular has recently made advances via an integrated approach that considers neurophysiological evidence and computational models.


(AI) Thinking rationally: The “laws of thought” approach


The Greek philosopher Aristotle was one of the first to attempt to codify “right thinking,” that is, irrefutable reasoning processes. His syllogisms provided patterns for argument structures that always yielded correct conclusions when given correct premises-for example, “Socrates is a man; all men are mortal; therefore, Socrates is mortal.” These laws of thought were supposed to govern the operation of the mind; their study initiated the field called logic.


Logicians in the 19th century developed a precise notation for statements about all kinds of things in the world and about the relations among them. (Contrast this with ordinary arithmetic notation, which provides mainly for equality and inequality statements about numbers.) By 1965, programs existed that could, in principle, solve any solvable problem described in logical. The so-called logicist tradition within artificial intelligence hopes to build on such programs to create intelligent systems.


There are two main obstacles to this approach. First, it is not easy to take informal knowledge and state it in the formal terms required by logical notation, particularly when the knowledge is less than 100% certain. Second, there is a big difference between being able to solve a problem “in principle” and doing so in practice. Even problems with just a few dozen facts can exhaust the computational resources of any computer unless it has some guidance as to which reasoning steps to try first. Although both of these obstacles apply to any attempt to build computational reasoning systems, they appeared first in the logicist tradition.


(AI) Acting rationally: The rational agent approach


An agent is just something that acts (agent comes from the Latin agere, to do). But computer agents are expected to have other attributes that distinguish them from mere “programs,” such as operating under autonomous control, perceiving their environment, persisting over a prolonged time period, adapting to change, and being capable of taking on another’s goals. A rational agent is one that acts so as to achieve the best outcome or, when there is uncertainty, the best expected outcome.


In the “laws of thought” approach to AI, the emphasis was on correct inferences. Making correct inferences is sometimes part of being a rational agent, because one way to act rationally is to reason logically to the conclusion that a given action will achieve one’s goals and then to act on that conclusion. On the other hand, correct inference is not all of rationality, because there are often situations where there is no provably correct thing to do, yet something must still be done. There are also ways of acting rationally that cannot be said to involve inference. For example, recoiling from a hot stove is a reflex action that is usually more successful than a slower action taken after careful deliberation.

All the skills needed for the Turing Test are there to allow rational actions. Thus, we need the ability to represent knowledge and reason with it because this enables us to reach good decisions in a wide variety of situations. We need to be able to generate comprehensible sentences in natural language because saying those sentences helps us get by in a complex society. We need learning not just for erudition, but because having a better idea of how the world works enables us to generate more effective strategies for dealing with it. We need visual perception not just because seeing is fun, but 1.0 get a better idea of what an action might achieve-for example, being able to see a tasty morsel helps one to move toward it.

For these reasons, the study of A1 as rational-agent design has at least two advantages. First, it is more general than the “laws of thought” approach, because correct inference is just one of several possible mechanisms for achieving rationality. Second, it is more amenable to scientific development than are approaches based on human behavior or human thought because the standard of rationality is clearly defined and completely general. Human behavior, on the other hand, is well-adapted for one specific eilvironn~ent and is the product, in part, of a complicated and largely unknown evolutionary process that still is far from producing perfection. This book will therefore concentrate on general principles of rational agents and on components for constructing them. We will see that despite the apparent simplicity with which the problem can be stated, an enormous variety of issues come up when we try to solve it. article 2 outlines some of these issues in more detail.


One important point to keep in mind: We will see before too long that achieving perfect rationality always doing tile right thing-is not feasible in complicated environments. The computational demands are just too high. For most of the book, however, we will adopt the working hypothesis that perfect rationality is a good starting point for analysis. It simplifies the problem and provides the appropriate setting for most of the foundational material in the field. articles 6 and 17 deal explicitly with the issue of limited rationality-acting appropriately when there is not enough time to do all the computations one might like.

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Raheem Kolachi

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