In the article, As We May Think by Vannevar Bush, the author predicted technology in the future. The author wrote this article in 1945 and it impresses me so much that it seems like he knows what will be the technology of 21st century. He predicted the World Wide Web, hypertext, personal computer, speech recognition and Wikipedia. I have heard a funny story from someone that when scientists wish to create new inventions, they ask sci-fi Hollywood directors what they are going to have in their new movies. Like Einstein said, imagination is more important than knowledge. Bush did a great job in this article. He predicted the future and it becomes real. Now we have the Internet that links the whole world together. We can send messages to other people on the other side of the world within a second. We have technology that makes our daily lives more convenient.
Bush's optimistic view of the future can be compared to Men, Machines, and the World About by Norbert Wiener. Human beings are the living things that are really weak. He wrote that some fish can live in temperature under the freezing point of the water but humans can't. We can create computers but we can't calculate math problems as fast as computers do. We can gain lots of advantages from technology but we need to use it in the right, smart way. Jacob's story of the monkey's paw at the end of the Wiener's article makes readers think about how to use their technological power in the appropriate way. The analogy is that you meet the talisman, the monkey's paw, and you can ask three wishes. The story does not have a happy ending. If we have a great technology and we don't use it in the proper manner, instead of granting us a better life, it may be dangerous to us.
In another article, Computing, Machinery, and Intelligence, Alan Turing, who played an important role in the artificial intelligence (AI) field, asked the question, "Can machines think?" According to AI: A Modern Approach, a textbook by Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig, there are four possible goals to pursue in AI: First, systems that act like humans, the Turing test approach. Second, systems that think like humans, the cognitive modeling approach. Third, systems that think rationally, the "laws of thought" approach. Finally, systems that act rationally, the rational agent approach. We have to take into account these four aspects. When we want to implement AI, it is not only as smart but also with the potential for rational thought like real humans.
Sometimes, rationality and smarts can't go together. Have you ever seen the movie I-Robot? I like the scene where Will Smith is sinking and the robot made the decision to help him instead of another girl. The robot gives the reason that when it makes a decision, it calculates survival potential rate. The calculation shows that a man (Will Smith) has a higher rate than that little girl. The robot can help only one life, so it decides to help him. This scene shows that a robot can't think like a human but thinks rationally. If it were human, it is common sense that it should help the more vulnerable girl first.
Nowadays AI can do many things that we could not imagine before. For example, Deep Blue, the chess playing system, defeated the reigning world chess champion, Garry Kasparov, in 1997. An automobile with the AI system went with no hands across America from Pittsburgh to San Diego by driving without human control 98% of the time. NASA has adopted AI in an on-board autonomous planning program which controls the scheduling of operations for a spacecraft. Moreover, AI can solve crossword puzzles better than most humans.
P.S. I have several AI games, if you are interested, please go to: