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The Quest for Artificial Intelligence by Nils J. Nilsson

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Dreams and Dreamers

THE QUEST FOR ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) BEGINS WITH DREAMS – AS ALL quests do. People have long imagined machines with human abilities – automata that move and devices that reason. Human-like machines are described in many stories and are pictured in sculptures, paintings, and drawings.

You may be familiar with many of these, but let me mention a few. The Iliad of Homer talks about self-propelled chairs called “tripods” and golden “attendants” constructed by Hephaistos, the lame blacksmith god, to help him get around.1* And, in the ancient Greek myth as retold by Ovid in his Metamorphoses, Pygmalian sculpts an ivory statue of a beautiful maiden, Galatea, which Venus brings to life:2

The girl felt the kisses he gave, blushed, ...

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