What is Artificial Intelligence? Basic Questions - Excercises


Pre-listening questions

  1. How would you define “intelligence”?
  2. Have you ever thought of computer programs as being “intelligent”?
  3. Do you think that computers or machines will ever be as intelligent as humans?
  4. Are you afraid of the nightmare scenario in which machines have control over people, possibly leading to the annihilation of the human race?

Listen to the recording and answer the following questions:

  1. What does human intelligence depend on?
    • “Arthur R. Jensen, a leading researcher in human intelligence, suggests as a heuristic hypothesis that all normal humans have the same intellectual mechanisms and that differences in intelligence are related to quantitative biochemical and physiological conditions. I see them as speed, short term memory, and the ability to form accurate and retrievable long term memories.”
  2. What is the main advantage of computers over people and vice versa?
    • computation power (computer)
    • abstract thinking (human)
  3. What is the main aim of the Turing test?
    • “Alan Turing’s 1950 article Computing Machinery and Intelligence [Tur50] discussed conditions for considering a machine to be intelligent. He argued that if the machine could successfully pretend to be human to a knowledgeable observer then you certainly should consider it intelligent. This test would satisfy most people but not all philosophers. The observer could interact with the machine and a human by teletype (to avoid requiring that the machine imitate the appearance or voice of the person), and the human would try to persuade the observer that it was human and the machine would try to fool the observer. The Turing test is a one-sided test. A machine that passes the test should certainly be considered intelligent, but a machine could still be considered intelligent without knowing enough about humans to imitate a human.”
  4. In what ways have researchers tried to build an AI system similar to human intelligence?
    • “A few people think that human-level intelligence can be achieved by writing large numbers of programs of the kind people are now writing and assembling vast knowledge bases of facts in the languages now used for expressing knowledge. However, most AI researchers believe that new fundamental ideas are required, and therefore it cannot be predicted when human-level intelligence will be achieved.”

Possible topics for discussion

  1. How has AI been depicted in books and films? (s-f)
  2. Is AI an ethical or moral issue? (ethical)
  3. What effect could AI have on religion?
  4. Do you think machines with AI could ever be programmed to have religious consciousness or religious feelings?

Possible difficulties

Although in this interview the questions are basic, the answers are quite dense and formal.

Reading suggestions

Artificial Intelligence by Patrick Henry Winston, 2003, Addison Wesley Publishing Company.