How could we tell if a computer had acquired artificial intelligence (AI) at a human level? One way would be to apply the Turing test, though not everyone agrees that this test is foolproof (see Chinese Room).
AI has not developed at nearly the rate many of its pioneers expected back in the 1950s and '60s. At the same time, progress in fields such as neural networks and fuzzy logic continues to be made and there are few computer scientists who doubt that it is only a matter of time before computers are outperforming their biological masters in a wide variety of tasks beyond those that call for mere number-crunching ability. Certainly the rate of evolution of technology-based intelligence is many orders of magnitude greater than the biological development of the brain. This suggests that either machines will eventually supercede us, or, more likely perhaps, we shall become part-machine ourselves through the addition of powerful neural prostheses.
Small steps toward the integration of man and device are already being taken in the form of electronic implants to provide improved hearing, sight, and mobility. It may even be a universal fact that once life has achieved a certain level of technical sophistication, its subsequent evolution takes place at enormous speed and in directions that we are poorly equipped to imagine (see nature of intelligence).
Archived newsWhatever happened to machines that think? (Apr 27, 2005)
Related entries• android
• artificial life
Related categories• COMPUTERS, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, AND CYBERNETICS
• EXTRATERRESTRIAL AND NON-HUMAN INTELLIGENCE
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