Artificial intelligence (AI) is the capability of devices or mechanisms and machinery to perform functions usually associated with human intelligence, including scientific systems, reasoning, optimization through experience, and automated motor systems. The American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) is dedicated “to advancing the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines,” and it aims “to increase public understanding of artificial intelligence, improve the teaching and training of AI practitioners, and provide guidance for research planners and funders concerning the importance and potential of current AI developments and future directions.” It publishes the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research.
What had been the imaginative machines of intelligence in science fiction of the 20th century (from the writings of Jules Verne, Arthur C. Clarke, and Isaac Asimov to the motion pictures Forbidden Planet and 2001: A Space Odyssey) is now the reality of the 21st century, featuring computers, neural networks, machines, robots, and humanoid robots. Spurred by the technological necessities of outer space explorations by satellites and human missions, gigantic gains in computers and high-efficiency smart technology were made in the latter half of the 20th century.
AI is widely employed in machine tool automation, where artificial neural networks are applied to sophisticated operations by using fuzzy logic and genetic algorithms so that system ranges can be identified, problem solving by conceptualization can occur, and search algorithms can adapt and evolve. Development of AI in machine tool automation has taken place in the study and application of AI systems in science through the computer modeling of a progression of natural systems. Examples of applications are the ATM bank card and PIN, photographic cameras, vending machines, computer chess playing, financial portfolio computer banks, automobile parts systems, speech-responsive computers, sophisticated medical technologies, such as hearing aids and heart chips, computer-designed patterns on textiles, electronic music, and educational and recreational computer games.
In the field of cognitive science, neuroscientists have employed sophisticated computer-driven imaging techniques including CAT, PET, MRI, CST, and other techniques to view and analyze the brain, with insights into the human mind. Their findings suggest that discoveries of the relationship between technology and thoughts and emotions, stress and brain function, and new paradigms of thought and genotypes and disorders are forthcoming. The brain or intranet will be more fully understood, enhanced, and developed.
The Internet has evolved. Intelligent systems have been developed by connecting computer intelligence and the Internet, enabling people to talk to smart computers and build a global communication system, referred to as the “Intelligent Internet” by William E. Halal. Halal described the UCLA Cultural Virtual Reality Laboratory Web site that recreates ancient Rome, Amtrak’s speech recognition software, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel’s video-conferencing system, IBM’s Super Speech Recognition Program, MIT’s Project Oxygen, Wells Fargo’s Speech Recognition System, Internet Search Engines Voice Recognition Systems, General Motors OnStar driver assistance program, Sprint’s voice dialing, AI use to guide human action figures in computer games, Internet avatars or virtual robots, digital TV monitors, and a talking, seeing, listening and learning computer, as examples of the Intelligent Internet.
Humanlike robots such as ASIMO, Honda’s humanoid robot, can simulate the walk of a human and can use its arms, walk down stairs, sideways, backward, and around objects. Robots are likely to be used in the same environments as humans, especially in space settlement.
Space settlement includes exploration of outer space, utilization of space materials, and construction of and habitation in space colonies. Prototypical colonies including Biosphere II and NASA’s Bioplex Complex employ vast AI technological systems to maintain life support. Space missions to the International Space Station and the planned manned missions to the Moon and Mars necessitate sophisticated AI systems of geographical control, life support, and social\psychological well-being to meet the exigencies and dangers faced by astronauts isolated in an extreme environment. Construction of industrial sites and habitats for humans who migrate from Earth will require advanced AI systems, where life, direction, and functioning are shaped by AI telecommunications more advanced than NASA’s Mission to Planet Earth and Earth Observation System, which provides air, water, land, glacier, and pollution data.
- American Association for Artificial Intelligence. (2005). http//www.aaai.org/
- Halal, W. E. (2004, March-April). The intelligent Internet. The Futurist, 38.
- Negnevitsky, M. (2002). Artificial intelligence: A guide to intelligent systems. New York: Addison-Wesley.
- Whitby, B. (2003). Artificial intelligence: A beginner’s guide. Oxford: OneWorld.