Artificial Minds

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Open, Lecture—Fall

Though science has continued to reveal, with increasing precision, the ways in which patterns of matter and energy arrange themselves into life, the mind has largely eluded physical explanation. How does thinking arise from brain cells, and how can thought control the body? Researchers in artificial intelligence (AI) believe that the best way to understand the mind is to reproduce it in a machine. They have been exploring ways to program computers to behave intelligently since the middle of the last century. How far has the field of AI come since then, and what are its prospects for the future? In this course, we will examine in detail the major paradigms of AI research, from symbolic approaches such as knowledge representation, propositional and predicate logic, and search methodologies to more recent approaches that focus on adaptation and learning, such as neural networks, genetic algorithms, artificial life, and robotics. We will also investigate the idea of swarm intelligence and machine creativity and consider some important philosophical questions surrounding AI, including consciousness, the mind-body problem, and the Turing Test.