Machines in the Myths: The State of Artificial Intelligence 
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 Machines in the Myths: The State of Artificial Intelligence


Columns     DeAnne DeWitt

Machines in the Myths: The State of Artificial Intelligence
Use the term "Artificial Intelligence" around most people, and it conjures
images of thinking, emotive machines, often in anthropomorphic form. Film
and fiction have portrayed AI so often and in such depth, that the meme of
"machine consciousness" has become embedded in people's minds.  From 2001's
HAL to Star Wars robots to Terminator and the sad little boy in A.I., we've
been provided with images and mythic tales of machines making informed
conscious decisions and exhibiting emotion.
This is the section of AI that captures the most public interest, possibly
because it's the most tangible incarnation of the science. And quite
possibly it is the most inclusive of the branches, as it requires a bit from
every other AI segment, with a little fuzzy logic thrown in for color. And
robots have the common touch. They are something that a hobbyist can build.
Even I have a Lego Mindstorm running about the place.
In fact, I would suggest that the media actually does a disservice to the
scientists by ignoring the real science in favor of imaginary, but flashier
science. The real science is moving forward, perhaps fraught with ethical
implications, perhaps blindly into avenues for which we don't have
philosophical signposts yet, but moving forward none the less. The
twenty-first century is upon us, and these scientists are leading the charge
into the future. The question becomes, can the philosophers and ethicists
keep up?

Links, References and More Information
This is by no means an inclusive survey of all technologies or applications
in the field of AI. Please see the links below if you are interested in
researching more about the field.
AI's Greatest Trends and Controversies. IEEE Intelligent Systems.
(January/February 2000). (Also available in pdf.)

AI on the Web
AI Topics
This site is oriented toward teachers, students and the general public
interested in or researching artificial intelligence or expert systems.

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Tue, 17 Feb 2004 20:27:58 GMT  
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