What is – and isn’t – AI?

The following is an excerpt from the book I’ve been working on for the better part of a year.  I may or may not finish it (as is both my prerogative and my style), but recent discussions elsewhere have prompted me to post this here, for the time being.

AI-lowres-300x285What it is:

Artificial Intelligence is a complicated topic, and as such the pursuit of Artificial Intelligence is equally complicated.  A complicated pursuit of complexity, one could say.  So what then is Artificial Intelligence?

It does us little good to provide a single definition, as there are many.

  1. The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.
  2. An area of computer science that deals with giving machines the ability to seem like they have human intelligence.
  3. The capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior.

Or, from the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence: “the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines.”

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