Chapter VII.4. Artificial Intelligence

Computers have always been so quick at calculating mathematical problems that people inevitably looked at computers as nothing more than electronic brains. As computers grew in power, a lot of people naturally assumed it'd only be a matter of time before computers could become just as smart as human beings. To study how to make computers smart, computer scientists have created a special field — artificial intelligence, or AI.

One mathematician, Alan Turing, even proposed a test for measuring when a computer's calculating ability could be considered a form of intelligence. This test, known as the Turing Test, consisted of hiding a computer and a human being in a locked room. A second human being, acting as the interrogator, could type questions to both the computer and the human without knowing which was which. If the computer could consistently respond in a way that the human interrogator couldn't tell whether he was chatting with a computer or a human, the Turing Test claimed the computer could be considered intelligent. (No one suggested the Turing Test might really prove that the human interrogator could just be a moron.)


In 1990, Hugh Loebner, Ph.D., proposed a contest to determine the most human-like conversational programs. This contest, known as the Loebner Prize (, is held annually, although at the time of this writing, no computer program has successfully passed the Turing Test.

The main goal ...

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