Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs. It is related to the similar task of using computers to understand human intelligence, but AI does not have to confine itself to methods that are biologically observable.

Intelligence is the computational part of the ability to achieve goals in the world. Varying kinds and degrees of intelligence occur in people, many animals and some machines.

The differences between AI and Conventional Programming is its ability to learn. AI Program has a storage for new things that learned.

After WWII, a number of people independently started to work on intelligent machines. The English mathematician Alan Turing may have been the first. He gave a lecture on it in 1947. He also may have been the first to decide that AI was best researched by programming computers rather than by building machines. By the late 1950s, there were many researchers on AI, and most of them were basing their work on programming computers.

Alan Turing’s 1950 article Computing Machinery and Intelligence discussed conditions for considering a machine to be intelligent. He argued that if the machine could successfully pretend to be human to a knowledgeable observer then you certainly should consider it intelligent. This test would satisfy most people but not all philosophers. The observer could interact with the machine and a human by teletype (to avoid requiring that the machine imitate the appearance or voice of the person), and the human would try to persuade the observer that it was human and the machine would try to fool the observer.

The Turing test is a one-sided test. A machine that passes the test should certainly be considered intelligent, but a machine could still be considered intelligent without knowing enough about humans to imitate a human.

Daniel Dennett’s book Brainchildren has an excellent discussion of the Turing test and the various partial Turing tests that have been implemented, i.e. with restrictions on the observer’s knowledge of AI and the subject matter of questioning. It turns out that some people are easily led into believing that a rather dumb program is intelligent.

Application of AI

Game Playing
You can buy machines that can play master level chess for a few hundred dollars. There is some AI in them, but they play well against people mainly through brute force computation–looking at hundreds of thousands of positions. To beat a world champion by brute force and known reliable heuristics requires being able to look at 200 million positions per second.

Speech Recognition
In the 1990s, computer speech recognition reached a practical level for limited purposes. Thus United Airlines has replaced its keyboard tree for flight information by a system using speech recognition of flight numbers and city names. It is quite convenient. On the the other hand, while it is possible to instruct some computers using speech, most users have gone back to the keyboard and the mouse as still more convenient.

Understanding Natural Language
Just getting a sequence of words into a computer is not enough. Parsing sentences is not enough either. The computer has to be provided with an understanding of the domain the text is about, and this is presently possible only for very limited domains.

Computer Vision
The world is composed of three-dimensional objects, but the inputs to the human eye and computers’ TV cameras are two dimensional. Some useful programs can work solely in two dimensions, but full computer vision requires partial three-dimensional information that is not just a set of two-dimensional views. At present there are only limited ways of representing three-dimensional information directly, and they are not as good as what humans evidently use.

Heuristic Classification
One of the most feasible kinds of expert system given the present knowledge of AI is to put some information in one of a fixed set of categories using several sources of information. An example is advising whether to accept a proposed credit card purchase. Information is available about the owner of the credit card, his record of payment and also about the item he is buying and about the establishment from which he is buying it (e.g., about whether there have been previous credit card frauds at this establishment).

Eliza
http://www-ai.ijs.si/eliza/eliza.html

Eliza (Weizenbaum, 1966) was one of the first AI programs and, at the time, it impressed the people who used it.
The name Eliza was chosen as “it” could learn to talk increasingly well as did Eliza of Pygmalion fame.
You asked Eliza questions and she (it?) responded.

Here is a sample script from an Eliza session

Person : Men are all alike.
ELIZA : In what way?
Person : They’re always bugging us about something or other.
ELIZA : Can you think of a specific example?
Person : Well, my boyfriend made me come here.
ELIZA : Your boyfriend made you come here?
Person : He says I’m depressed much of the time.
ELIZA : I am sorry to hear that you are depressed.
Person : It’s true. I am unhappy.
ELIZA : Do you think coming here will help you not to be unhappy?
Person : I need some help, that much seems certain.
ELIZA : What would it mean to you if you got some help?
Person : Perhaps I could learn to get along with my mother.
ELIZA : Tell me more about your family

References:
http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/whatisai/