Man, His Thoughts and Thinking Devices
Artificial Intelligence and Cybernetics are widely misunderstood to be the same thing. However, they differ in many dimensions. Artificial Intelligence grew from a desire to make computers smart like humans. Cybernetics grew from a desire to understand and build systems that can achieve human goals. These two sciences present man an opportunity to start getting useful feedbacks for life solutions More
Artificial Intelligence and Cybernetics are widely misunderstood to be the same thing. However, they differ in many dimensions. Artificial Intelligence grew from a desire to make computers smart like humans. Cybernetics grew from a desire to understand and build systems that can achieve human goals. These two sciences present man an opportunity to start getting useful feedbacks for life solutions. The book tells us of the origin of these sciences beginning that many of the concepts included today in cybernetics had their origins long before the word "cybernetics" was associated with them. Self-regulating devices were constructed as early as several hundred years B.C. In the late 1700s, Watt's steam engine had a governor. In 1868 James Clerk Maxwell published an article on governors. In the 1940s the study of regulatory processes became a continuing research effort. Two key articles were published in 1943 -- "Behavior, Purpose and Teleology" by Arturo Rosenblueth, Norbert Wiener, and Julian Bigelow and "A Logical Calculus of the Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity" by Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts.
In 1964 the American Society for Cybernetics was founded to facilitate the work of those with an interest in the field of cybernetics as a whole. Between 1964 and 1974 the American Society for Cybernetics held several conferences and began a journal, but during the late 1970s the society was less active due to the illness and death of some of its key officers. The 1980s saw a resurgence of interest due in part to a desire by many people for more communication across disciplines and in part to a feeling that the original questions that were posed were not receiving sufficient attention.
What's the Significance?
For forty years, symbolic AI researchers labored under this assumption, attempting to pin down and catalogue human knowledge in declarative form in order to build a brain. The project had a few successes. For instance, computers are geniuses when it comes to playing games like chess -- remember Gary Kasparov's famous loss to Deep Blue in 1997? But symbolic AI failed to solve the problem of common sense and procedural knowledge, two fundamental components of human consciousness.
The book lets us know how man started dealing with AI beginning with studying how computers reason and think like man by letting us know that according to Chris Chatham at Developing Intelligence, the brain-computer metaphor has led to a lot of over-simplification in our thinking about our thinking. "An unfortunate legacy is the tendency to seek out modularity in the brain the idea that computers require memory has led some to seek for the 'memory area,' when in fact these distinctions are far messier." We're now learning that regions cannot be associated with a singular function (i.e. the frontal cortex as "the place where personality occurs").
The brain is not a storage dump, and consciousness is not a place. Synapses are also far more complex than electrical circuits. Neither processing speed nor short-term memory capacity is fixed, whereas RAM is.
Computers can take in and process certain kinds of information much faster than we can. They can swirl that data around in their “brains,” made of processors, and perform calculations to conjure multiple scenarios at superhuman speeds. For example, the best chess-trained computers can at this point strategize many moves ahead, problem-solving far more deftly than can the best chess-playing humans. Computers learn much more quickly, too, narrowing complex choices to the most optimal ones. Yes, humans also learn from mistakes, but when it comes to tackling the kinds of puzzles computers excel at, we’re far more fallible.
This book is about the science of cybernetics in relation to the thoughts of man and how man has used this idea of his discovery of machines to train computers that will behave, think like a man and even help man to create other devices.
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