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The Quest for Artificial Intelligence by Nils J. Nilsson

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24

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THERE HAVE BEEN NAYSAYERS FROM THE EARLIEST DAYS OF AR TIFICIAL INTELLI-gence. Alan Turing anticipated (and dealt with) some of their objections in his 1950 paper. In this chapter, I’ll recount some of the controversies surrounding AI – including some not foreseen by Turing. I’ll also describe some formidable technical difficulties confronting the field. By the mid-1980s or so, these difficulties had caused some to be rather dismissive about progress up to that time and pessimistic about the possibility of further progress. For example, in wondering about the need for a special issue of the journal Dædalus devoted to AI in 1988, the philosopher Hilary Putnam wrote1 “What’s all the fuss about now? Why a whole issue of Dædalus? Why ...

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