Re: purpose of AIs

Robert Owen (
Sun, 12 Dec 1999 15:59:10 -0500

jeff nordahl wrote:

> Can someone please explain their motive for creating an AI in the first
> place.

Well, Jeff, "artificial' or "simulated" intelligence as a program of computer instructions is intended to rapidly perform operations whose output is a logical conclusion. Such programs can be refined to perform trial-and-error operations on their own instructions to self-enhance their performance and in this manner, it is hoped, "bootstrap" themselves to produce novel, emergent capabilities. It is thought that eventually this process could lead to genuine innovations in morphology and functions that operationally redefine the meaning of "intelligence" and render machine-based cognition both autonomous and self-organizing.

This project is often confounded with cybernetics and robotics research, where the objective is to develop control and automotive manipulative systems capable of behaving "intelligently" when confronted with external tasks. Whether or not such mechanisms are anthropomorphic or not is a question of application and engineering requirements.

Much of what remains is fantasy, dreams that have existed for a long time the "moral" value of which, about which you inquire, is coextensive with the spectrum of human desire.

There is much more that can be said requiring details, but this introduces the subject.


Robert M. Owen
The Orion Institute
57 W. Morgan Street
Brevard, NC 28712-3659 USA