Artificial Life is an interdisciplinary effort to investigate the fundamental properties of living systems through the simulation and synthesis of life-like processes. The young field brings a powerful set of tools to the study of how high-level behavior can arise in systems governed by simple rules of interaction.
Cynthia Breazeal here presents her vision of the sociable robot of the future, a synthetic creature and not merely a sophisticated tool. A sociable robot will be able to understand us, to communicate and interact with us, to learn from us and grow with us. It will be socially intelligent in a humanlike way. Eventually sociable robots will assist us in our daily lives, as collaborators and companions.
The National Conference on Artificial Intelligence remains the bellwether for research in artificial intelligence. Leading AI researchers and practitioners as well as scientists and engineers in related fields present theoretical, experimental, and empirical results, covering a broad range of topics that include principles of cognition, perception, and action; the design, application, and evaluation of AI algorithms and systems; architectures and frameworks for classes of AI systems; and analyses of tasks and domains in which intelligent systems perform.
The biannual International Conference on the Simulation of Adaptive Behavior brings together researchers from ethology, psychology, ecology, artificial intelligence, artificial life, robotics, engineering, and related fields to advance the understanding of behaviors and underlying mechanisms that allow natural and synthetic agents (animats) to adapt and survive in uncertain environments.
The Turing Test is part of the vocabulary of popular culture—it has appeared in works ranging from the Broadway play "Breaking the Code" to the comic strip "Robotman." The writings collected by Stuart Shieber for this book examine the profound philosophical issues surrounding the Turing Test as a criterion for intelligence. Alan Turing's idea, originally expressed in a 1950 paper titled "Computing Machinery and Intelligence" and published in the journal Mind, proposed an "indistinguishability test" that compared artifact and person.
The complex social behaviors of ants have been much studied by science, and computer scientists are now finding that these behavior patterns can provide models for solving difficult combinatorial optimization problems. The attempt to develop algorithms inspired by one aspect of ant behavior, the ability to find what computer scientists would call shortest paths, has become the field of ant colony optimization (ACO), the most successful and widely recognized algorithmic technique based on ant behavior.
Herbert Simon (1916-2001), in the course of a long and distinguished career in the social and behavioral sciences, made lasting contributions to many disciplines, including economics, psychology, computer science, and artificial intelligence. In 1978 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for his research into the decision-making process within economic organizations. His well-known book The Sciences of the Artificial addresses the implications of the decision-making and problem-solving processes for the social sciences.
Evolutionary robotics is a new technique for the automatic creation of autonomous robots. Inspired by the Darwinian principle of selective reproduction of the fittest, it views robots as autonomous artificial organisms that develop their own skills in close interaction with the environment and without human intervention. Drawing heavily on biology and ethology, it uses the tools of neural networks, genetic algorithms, dynamic systems, and biomorphic engineering.
Reasoning about knowledge—particularly the knowledge of agents who reason about the world and each other's knowledge—was once the exclusive province of philosophers and puzzle solvers. More recently, this type of reasoning has been shown to play a key role in a surprising number of contexts, from understanding conversations to the analysis of distributed computer algorithms.
In What Is Thought? Eric Baum proposes a computational explanation of thought. Just as Erwin Schrodinger in his classic 1944 work What Is Life? argued ten years before the discovery of DNA that life must be explainable at a fundamental level by physics and chemistry, Baum contends that the present-day inability of computer science to explain thought and meaning is no reason to doubt there can be such an explanation.