Other articles by Saks, T

Browse contents of BH 17

Format this page for printing


Core Academy Home Make a Donation Is Genesis History?


Can machines think?
Saks, TV. 2007.  BH 17:123-130. CELD ID 21461

In its early states, the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) had as its mail goal the invention of computer programs having the general problem-solving abilities of humans. Since 1965, leading researchers have been predicting that, within twenty years, machines will be capable of doing any work a man can do, but that goal is as elusive as ever. Actually, whether or not this goal will ever be achieved is a subject of great disagreement among leading experts int eh field. AI has gone in directions quite difference from the expectations of the original founders, who wanted to create programs that could prove mathematical theorems and play chess at an expert level. Those goals have been achieved, but it has proven to be vastly more difficult to created programs that exhibit common-sense, and have enough real-world knowledge to preform tasks such as reading the daily newspaper. Along the way, there has been a major shift of emphasis from general-purpose programs toward performance programs or Expert Systems, with highly specialized competence and limited to particular areas of expertise. I shall share two personal experiences, and then attempt to draw some general conclusions: 1. Learning a hasidic discourse gave me insight to design a program that automatically scheduled a Boeing helicopter factory. 2. By inserting a piece of knowledge into an automated scheduling program, the program used the knowledge more effectively than I would have.