The Quest for Artificial Intelligence: A History of Ideas and Achievements

D.M. Hutton (Norbert Wiener Institute of Systems and Cybernetics,Wales, UK)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 18 October 2011




Hutton, D.M. (2011), "The Quest for Artificial Intelligence: A History of Ideas and Achievements", Kybernetes, Vol. 40 No. 9/10, pp. 1553-1553.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

This book attempts to follow the development of artificial intelligence (AI) from its initial conception to that of the present time. The problem with a book of this nature is twofold: to tell as best it can what is meant by AI; and second, to contrast the early ideas of AI with the developing process that has given us the AI as it is understood today. Two not impossible aims but ones that are fraught with endless difficulties. To examine what the early concepts of AI were, particularly around the eighteenth century is an historical exercise, but to record the effects of the enormous advances in technology where hardware is changing in its design and manufacture as we write tests the skills of the most ambitious author.

This author uses another strategy and introduces and describes the developments and the technology that has been utilised in the name of a title called AI. If AI is defined as a study of the ways of mimicking human intelligence (whatever that is?) the book becomes readable and can be regarded as a successful historical listing of projects and programmes that have been designed to produce “smart” applications. The reader who accepts this as the text's main aim will find a great deal of useful information about such applications which include details of clever speech processing research, internet algorithms and applications in the field of robotics and automation which are indeed extremely “smart”.

To do this, the author describes with much clarity how these chosen examples function and what the “AI system” is programmed to do, and how it does it. Plenty of descriptive material is included with references listed in support.

What the book offers is an interesting commentary on an area of endeavour that has provided some remarkable “spin‐offs” and which is one that has an extremely bright future. In consequence, definitions of “intelligence”, “AI” or “smartness” can be left to other authors.

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