Way to Artificial Intelligence

The general perception of information technology and computers in particular has been that of a computing mechanism primarily used to manipulate data and present it in various ways. The comparison with human intelligence has been rather tenuous and in the realm of science fiction. It may therefore come as a surprise to many that scientists and engineers have been working on systems which may replicate organic intelligence in future. In fact, many algorithms and software have already been designed to mimic real intelligence. Artificial intelligence has found widespread use in biometrics.

Fingerprint readers are commonplace and are extensively deployed in access control systems. Face and iris recognition have lately become popular security devices. Expert systems are a branch of artificial intelligence where computers are used to play the role of experts. They are also known as decision support systems and were first deployed by the military. They are used to help military commanders to take tactical decisions under battle conditions.

Sometimes the amount of processing and calculations on the field can best be solved by expert systems. As the name suggests, state of the art technology can at present only help in assisting people in taking decisions. However, researchers in this field are confident in creating expert systems which will completely replace human interface. Robotics is another exciting area under the umbrella of artificial intelligence. As of now, robots are assisting humans in automating factory operations.

Computer aided design and computer aided manufacture are already crafting complex mechanical devices with high accuracy. Robots are also used in mines and restricted places for operations which are dangerous for human beings. They are also used in conducting delicate surgeries in hospitals. Other terms which are associated with artificial intelligence are neural network and fuzzy logic.

Neural networks as the name suggests is a type of system which is designed to replicate human decision process. The tree like structure with different path in the decision process forms the units of a neural network. It is evident that neural networks are essentially hierarchical and follow a definite pattern. As against a rule based approach, fuzzy logic claims a more exalted place in the pantheons of artificial intelligence. Some scientists believe that human intelligence is not pure logic and has an enormous amount of fuzziness. Two people under similar circumstances may very well behave in different fashion.

They therefore conclude that true intelligence is actually fuzzy. However in practice, it is not easy to mathematically model fuzziness. Probability and random number theory have assumed importance and these concepts are used widely in designing systems with fuzzy logic.

The subset of artificial intelligence consists of Expert systems with decision support systems and Robotics. These are implemented with neural networks or fuzzy logic. Human brain is too complex and the logic widely dispersed, to be replicated in its entirety.

Therefore those mechanical activities which do not require much logic and are hierarchical in nature are best suited for present day applications .A day will certainly come when human intelligence is fully replicated by artificial means, though it may not happen in the immediate future. Copyright (c) 2007 Dean Barnard.

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