Defining Artificial Intelligence

In this post I'll try to figure out (primarily for myself) what is Artificial Intelligence.

Evidently, the "artificial" part requires no explanation, and the real problem is only with the "intelligence" part.

An extremely over-simplified, and actually incorrect definition would be "Intelligence is the ability to think logically". Evidently, logic cannot be the sole basis of intelligence, at least because intelligence requires an ability to comprehend the environment, not only deduct. Moreover, logic itself is not an ultimate intelligence resource - it cannot explain the environment. Even planning an experiment - a generic method of studying the environment - requires not only logic, but also some kind of stimulus to learn the environment (possibly derived from the adaptation requirement which, in turn, is one of the mechanisms of self-preservation and self-defense).

What is an autonomous "intelligent" agent?

In this post, some definitions and examples are given. This is an introductory text.

First of all there is a need to explain why "intelligent" is in braces in the title. Well, it's simple: whatever the agents are at the moment of writing, they are just specific, narrow algorithms with no signs of intelligence. As soon as I come across the evidence of the contrary, I will happily remove the braces around "intelligent". But for now - braces stay.

What is an agent? According to the numerous sources I checked, agent is an entity with some characteristic features. These fundamental features are:

  • agent acts on behalf of others. For example, you may hire a person who would attend parents' meetings at the school of your children: in this case, that would be a "parental agent" :) , who comes to the meetings on your behalf.
  • agents are to some extent autonomous (i.e., enjoy some degree of autonomy). In our example, the "parental agent" has freedom to act and respond the way he feels appropriate in his communication with other parents at the meeting; but at the same time he must follow the behaviour strategy you outlined for the official messages announced by the school staff.
  • agents are proactive and reactive. Proactive means that agent may exhibit his own independent initiative, which is not (at least directly) related to the delegated tasks of the agent. Reactive tells us that agents will respond to stimuli - e.g., given a task, agent will try to do that task.
  • agents are able to learn - that is, they have memory, which influences their further actions.
  • agents may be cooperative - help each other or just join efforts to complete given tasks.
  • agents are mobile.

Sphinx STT

Julius STT

Ukrainian Association for Information Processing and Pattern Recognition, UAsIPPR

Dallas Personal Robotics Group, DPRG

TREX, the Teleo-Reactive Executive

Academic Job Exchange board

The Player Project

OpenCV, Open Source Computer Vision

Willow Garage ROS

Master and PhD in Artificial Intelligence at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya


Artificial Intelligence Group at the Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge

AI and Education Group

Syndicate content Syndicate content