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It is possible that the view of what is impressive enough in computer behavior to be called intelligence changes with each decade as we adjust to what capabilities are made available in products and services.

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They would probably have followed the same sequence we do:

  • be amazed at the capabilities,
  • ask how it is done,
  • wonder whether this is really intelligence and (or) point out our narrow the performance was,
  • require more next time to be impressed again.
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My sense is that they would, based on a high-level take of Babbage and Lovelace's view of the potential capability of the "analytic engine". If Babbage's Tic-Tac-Toe machine had been built, I am sure that would have been regarded as machine intelligence. Nimatron (Edward Condon) may have been the first game AI, and the capability seems similar to what Babbage was envisioning. Certainly the bogus "Turk" chess-playing hoax was considered a machine intelligence.

Conventional software could connote a form of automation, and I think any form of automation, particularly where the operations are "under the covers", would have been considered a form of intelligence.


I think the current idea of only regarding "strong statistical AI" (Machine Learning) as AI is inherently flawed because of the concept of utility. Intelligence is a spectrum, being a relative measure of problem solving strength, and artificial merely connotes a thing intentionally or skillfully constructed. The Russell & Norvig definition seems to hew to this viewpoint.

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    $\begingroup$ If I remember correctly there was some pope who designed some machine which could solve maths or do something interesting..Do you know who it was? $\endgroup$ – DuttaA Mar 5 '19 at 18:30
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    $\begingroup$ @DuttaA Could this be Pope Sylvester II and his "brazen" robotic head that gave boolean output? The mythical predecessor would have been Talos (although Talos' reputed capability was much broader;) $\endgroup$ – DukeZhou Mar 5 '19 at 18:32
  • $\begingroup$ Probably cannot say for sure.. $\endgroup$ – DuttaA Mar 5 '19 at 18:50

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