13.1 Thinking Machines

Computers are amazing devices. They can draw complex three-dimensional images, process the payroll of an entire corporation, and determine whether the bridge you’re building will stand up to the pressure of the traffic expected. Yet they may have trouble understanding a simple conversation and might not be able to distinguish between a table and a chair.

Certainly a computer can do some things better than a human can. For example, if you are given the task of adding 1000 four-digit numbers together using pencil and paper, you could do it. But the task would take you quite a long time, and you very likely would make errors while performing the calculations. A computer could perform the same calculation in a fraction ...

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