The Age of Intelligent Machines

In “The Age of Intelligent Machines”, inventor and computer scientist Raymond Kurzweil probes the past, present, and future of artificial intelligence, from its earliest philosophical and mathematical roots to tantalizing glimpses of 21st-century machines with superior intelligence and prodigious speed and memory. This book provides the background needed for an understanding of the enormous scientific potential represented by intelligent machines as well as their equally profound philosophic, economic, and social implications. Running alongside Kurzweil’s historical and scientific narrative are 23 articles examining contemporary issues in artificial intelligence. This book won the Association of American Publishers Annual Award for Excellence in Professional and Scholarly Publishing. It contains articles by: Charles Ames; Margaret A. Boden; Harold Cohen; Caniel C. Dennett; Edward A. Feigenbaum; K. Fuchi; George Gilder; Douglas R. Hofstadter; Michael Lebowitz; Margaret Litven; Blaine Mathieu; Marvin Minsky; Allen Newell; Brian W. Oakley; Seymour Papert; Jeff Pepper; Roger Schank and Christopher Owens; Sherry Turkle; Mitchell Waldrop.

The Age of Intelligent Machines
The Age of Intelligent Machines is a non-fiction book about artificial intelligence by inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil. This was his first book and the Association of American Publishers named it the Most Outstanding Computer Science Book of 1990. It was reviewed in The New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor. The format is a combination of monograph and anthology with contributed essays by artificial intelligence experts such as Daniel Dennett, Douglas Hofstadter, and Marvin Minsky.

Kurzweil surveys the philosophical, mathematical and technological roots of artificial intelligence, starting with the assumption that a sufficiently advanced computer program could exhibit human-level intelligence. Kurzweil argues the creation of humans through evolution suggests that humans should be able to build something more intelligent than themselves. He believes pattern recognition, as demonstrated by vision, and knowledge representation, as seen in language, are two key components of intelligence. Kurzweil details how quickly computers are advancing in each domain.

Driven by the exponential improvements in computer power, Kurzweil believes artificial intelligence will be possible and then commonplace. He explains how it will impact all areas of people’s lives, including work, education, medicine, and warfare. As computers acquire human level faculties Kurzweil says people will be challenged to figure out what it really means to be human.


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