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The Quest for Artificial Intelligence by Nils J. Nilsson

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3

Gatherings

IN SEPTEMBER 1948, AN INTERDISCIPLINARY CONFERENCE WAS HELD AT THE California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California, on the topics of how the nervous system controls behavior and how the brain might be compared to a computer. It was called the Hixon Symposium on Cerebral Mech-anisms in Behavior. Several luminaries attended and gave papers, among them Warren McCulloch, John von Neumann, and Karl Lashley (1890–1958), a promi-nent psychologist. Lashley gave what some thought was the most important talk at the symposium. He faulted behaviorism for its static view of brain function and claimed that to explain human abilities for planning and language, psychologists would have to begin considering dynamic, hierarchical ...

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