A.I. and Genius Machines by Scientific American Editors

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A.I. and Genius Machines by the editors of Scientific American

In science fiction, artificial intelligence takes the shape of computers that can speak like people, think for themselves, and sometimes act against us. Sometimes the machines seem to know everything, and symbolize implacable and unknowable power, as in The Matrix. Such machines can also embody the limits of logic, and by extension our own powers of reason. In Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL was a computer of vast capability driven insane by the demands of his programming – to honestly and completely report information – when those instructions conflicted with orders to keep state secrets. Star Trek has given us the android, Lieutenant Commander Data, who strives to be more human. None of these visions came true in quite the way science fiction writers imagined, even though in many ways computers surpass their fictional counterparts. This eBook reviews work in the field and covers topics from chess-playing to quantum computing. The writers tackle how to make computers more powerful, how we define consciousness, what the hard problems are and even how computers might be built once the limits of silicon chips have been reached. Artificial intelligence also raises some thorny ethical questions, such as whether morality can be programmed. These are kinds of issues that make artificial intelligence and computing fascinating. Building an intelligent machine brings together the human desire to create and the question of what makes us what we are. If anyone ever builds a true thinking machine, that last question becomes much more complicated, not less. Data and HAL would probably agree.


About Scientific American Editors

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Founded in 1845, Scientific American is the longest continuously published magazine in the US and the home of the most exciting authors presenting the most dynamic ideas in science today. As the leading popular source and authority on science, technology, and innovation, Scientific American’s award-winning scientist-authored content engages, educates and inspires current and future generations of curious citizens and public and private sector leaders. Together with scientificamerican.com, Scientific American MIND and 14 local language editions around the world, Scientific American gives readers unique access to the most important insights and developments in science and technology in the world today.
Published January 28, 2013 by Scientific American. 215 pages
Genres: Computers & Technology. Non-fiction

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