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Thread: Whatever happened to...

  1. #1
    ********** |ceWriterguy
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Cool Whatever happened to...

    On starting the Nth rereading of 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress' by Robert Heinlein today, I got to thinking on some things. Let me quote a bit here to set the tone:

    When Mike was installed in Luna, he was pure thinkum, a flexible logic - "High optional, Logical, Multi-Evaluating Supervisor, Mark IV, Mod. L" - a HOLMES FOUR. He computed ballistics for pilotless freightors and controlled their catapult. This kept him busy less than one percent of the time and Luna Authority never believed in idle hands. They kept hooking hardware into him - decision-action boxes to let him boss other computers, bank on bank of additional memories, more banks of associational neural nets, another tubful of twelve-digit random numbers, a greatly augmented temporary memory. Human brain has around ten-to-the-tenth neurons. By third year Mike had better than one and a half times that number of neuristors.

    And woke up.

    Am not going to argue whether a machine can "really" be alive, "really" be self-aware. Is a virus self-aware? Nyet. How about oyster? I doubt it. A cat? Almost certainly. A human? Don't know about you tovarishch, but I am. Somewhere along evolutionary chain from macromolecule to human brain self-awareness crept in. Psychologists assert it happens automatically whenever a brain acquires certain very high number of associational paths. Can't see it matters whether paths are protein or platinum.

    ("Soul?" Does a dog have a soul? How about cockroach?)
    All that to ask - whatever happened to the plethorae of AI projects which we constantly read about back in the late 1990's and on into 2k+1? Have the scientists who were so diligent in their search for artificial intelligence finally acheive it, or did they simply give up?

    To give further credit to my quote - as previously stated this was taken directly from "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Robert A. Heinlein, original copyright 1966 by him.
    Even a broken watch is correct twice a day.

    Which coder said that nobody could outcode Microsoft in their own OS? Write a bit and make a fortune!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    AI seems to fall out of the public eye for a few years, then it gets interesting again and makes a splash, though progress seems to move at a steady pace. Combine that with the fact that people have been concerned with other things since 2001, and you get a recipe that puts such novelties as AI on the backburner, even with big time movies about it coming out in the last while (Bicentennial Man, A.I., I Robot spring to mind).
    Chris Shepherd
    The Nelson-Shepherd cutoff: The point at which you realise someone is an idiot while trying to help them.
    \"Well as far as the spelling, I speak fluently both your native languages. Do you even can try spell mine ?\" -- Failed Insult
    Is your whole family retarded, or did they just catch it from you?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    One of the few things that people realize about AI, is that it is not really as new of a techonology as people think. The only reason I say that is because I whenever you get a new AI product, it is not really called AI.

    A prime example of this is video games, a lot of video games use AI. Really nice AI, if I say so myself.

    So it puts on to wonder if that is AI, and there are other things. Some cars have small parts of them that are AI. I believe there is a car that has automatic traction control or something like that, which is AI based.

    If you are interested in AI, a good book to pick up and read is AI Application Programming, by Tim Jones.

    It is more from a coders side, but it none-the-less explanes a lot about the technology and ascepts of it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member gore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Richard Stallman was doing this in the 70s. It's nothing new.

    The problem with AI coding is people fix the bugs in it. How the hell is the program going to learn if you fix the bugs all by yourself?

  5. #5
    ********** |ceWriterguy
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    True Gore, but ...

    I remember seeing the snippet on Discovery about the guy who had 'given birth' to about 20 'bugs' which were AI programmed. They had sensory arrays for visual and audio, as well as negative feedback sensors for when they ran into things. All he did was load in the 'this is what you are' software and the AI, and let them do the rest. At the point of the snippet, he was a year into the experiment and the bugs had learned how to travel from his study all through his house without bumping into anything, including each other and any stray human/animal which might be in their way. Whatever happened with this electronic infestation?

    I also remember right around the time when everyone was paranoid over Y2K an AI project that had been written to monitor chats to learn language skills, then after time attempt to carry on conversations based on what it had learned. At the time the story aired, the program had a vocabulary of over 1000 words and could discuss specific topics, change chat channels at will, etc. Only when queried on specific details was its AI nature revealed to others... Is it still out there chatting? I'm curious what happened when it discovered Pr0n, BDSM, and how to download mp3's...

    For years now we've had Dragon to let us run our computer by voice. You'd think by now it would be standard issue on all new machines, yet it's still just a 'play pretty' you find in computer science instructor's private offices... has no one developed it further? If they have, what practical uses does it have other than learning *one* person's voice well enough to take the place of a keyboard? (/me thinks on the cell phone commercial where the chickie says "I had a great time last night." and the cell phone text messages "I have lip fungus.")
    Even a broken watch is correct twice a day.

    Which coder said that nobody could outcode Microsoft in their own OS? Write a bit and make a fortune!

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