Artificial intelligence has been the subject of many bad '80's
movies and countless science fiction novels. But what happens when we
seriously consider the question of computers that think. Is it possible for
computers to have complex thoughts, and even emotions, like homo sapien? This
paper will seek to answer that question and also look at what attempts are being
made to make artificial intelligence (hereafter called AI) a reality.
Before we can investigate whether or not computers can think, it is
necessary to establish what exactly thinking is. Examining the three main
theories is sort of like examining three religions. None offers enough support so
as to effectively eliminate the possibility of the others being true. The three main
theories are: 1. Thought doesn't exist; enough said. 2. Thought does exist, but
is contained wholly in the brain. In other words, the actual material of the brain is
capable of what we identify as thought.
3. Thought is the result of some sort of
mystical phenomena involving the soul and a whole slew of other unprovable
ideas. Since neither reader nor writer is a scientist, for all intents and purposes,
we will say only that thought is what we (as homo sapien) experience.
So what are we to consider intelligence? The most compelling
argument is that intelligence is the ability to adapt to an environment. Desktop
computers can, say, go to a specific WWW address. But, if the address were
changed, it wouldn't know how to go about finding the new one (or even that it
should). So intelligence is the ability to perform a task taking into consideration
the circumstances of completing the task.
So now that we have all of that out of that way, can computers think? The
issue is contested as hotly among scientists...