O'Reilly logo

Database Nation by Simson Garfinkel

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Avatar Rights Now!

More than a hundred years ago, the world's first computer programmer, the Lady Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), wrote a series of letters to Charles Babbage, the inventor of the mechanical computer. In one famous letter, Lovelace imagined that Babbage's machines might one day be capable of independent thought—provided that they had the proper programming. In 1950, the great computer pioneer Alan Turing wrote an essay exploring how computers might one day be intelligent, and proposing a test by which humans could judge if a machine was truly intelligent or not. Since that time, tens of thousands of scientists have devoted their lives to the pursuit of artificial intelligence. Perhaps billions of dollars have been spent towards this goal. And the few breakthroughs have reaped significant returns for some happy entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, after more than 150 years of technological progress, mechanical thought is still elusive.

Today, there exists a great philosophical debate as to whether or not true artificial intelligence is even possible. The debate is eerily similar to a debate on artificial flight that unfolded in the last years of the nineteenth century. Back then, some people thought that artificial flight was possible, and some thought it impossible. Scientific proofs were published showing conclusively that man could never build a flying machine.[14] But while this debate was taking place, inventors all over the world were steadily moving towards the goal. Early ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required