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Introduction to Artificial Intelligence

Cognitive Introductions

Introduction: What is AI?

My colleague Russell Beale once suggested a useful introductory definition of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for people who know nothing about it: “AI can be defined as the attempt to get real machines to behave like the ones in the movies.”

This may give an inkling of what a lot of AI research involves, but it leaves out important facets of AI, especially its scientific aspects. No short definition adequately captures the variety of research goals and topics covered by AI, so I’ll offer a description rather than a definition.

AI is a relatively new discipline (born in the middle of the 20th century). It is increasingly frequently mentioned in newspapers, magazines, on TV, in films, and in various kinds of computer entertainments, yet it is not widely understood. Some people even foolishly think it has already failed and been abandoned, whereas in fact it is steadily…

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