Intelligent Systems And Their Societies Walter Fritz

Foreword

 

If you wish to leave your worries and preoccupations behind, get out of your mental rut, and survey what we are as intelligent beings, then read this book. You will learn many things about artificial intelligent systems and how the study of such systems helps us to understand intelligence and the processes in our brains.

First, let us place ourselves in the correct historical context. We are now living in an extraordinary historical period. About 2 million years ago, a certain kind of mammal used a branch as a tool for the first time. We now call those mammals human beings. That mammal discovered that a branch is a kind of arm, but it is more effective for pounding. This discovery was the first great historical event on the road of mastering our environment. He invented tools, starting with artificial arms (sticks) and artificial fists (stones). With tools, humans could act much more efficiently. They began to live a better and easier life. Still, a natural muscle moved these tools and a natural brain guided them.

The second historical event, which occurred about 200 years ago, we call the industrial revolution. Movement by an artificial force (steam) replaced the biological force; the machine was born. The tools, now moved by a manufactured force, were stronger and faster than those moved by muscle. Thus, the ability of man to act, in quality and quantity, was immensely greater than before. The standard of living made an important advance. Still, a natural brain guided this combination of artificial arm and artificial force.

Today, humans are taking the third and final step. We are giving our machines artificial brains. These machines will act for us with no further guidance, apart from giving them objectives. With only their objectives, they will do whatever they need to do to reach those objectives. Each person will then be able to do as much as hundreds of people can today. This massive work force should then cause a decrease in the number of working hours and an immense increase in the quality of life. Truly, we live in an extraordinary historical period.

This book will help you understand these machines with artificial brains and use them in a better way. Basically, there will be three kinds of intelligent machines:

For instance, a special purpose machine can be a car that drives itself to the destination that we indicate. But, being "special purpose", the car naturally cannot bake a cake.

In contrast, a robot -- a machine with eyes, ears, hands, and feet -- will, in principle, be able to do anything a person can do. But its level of intelligence will limit its usefulness. Some robots will be much more intelligent than a person, and some less so.

Finally, a computer brain is a computer with an intelligent program that will give us advice and is able to learn from it's and our experiences. It is a computer brain without a body, it is not attached to a machine.

The study and use of artificial intelligent systems has an interesting side effect. Since antiquity, philosophers have said: "Know thyself". Because humankind is distinguished from animals by our much greater intelligence, we must know our intelligence, our minds, and our brains. We can look at human beings from many points of view, as biological beings, employees, fathers, or mothers, but when we look at the decision process for selecting an action, we should view them as intelligent systems.

Analyzing artificial intelligent systems gives us a new understanding of both human intelligence and other intelligences. However, it is difficult to study the mind with a similar one--namely ours. We need a better mirror.

As you will see, in artificial intelligent systems we have this mirror and we can observe the processes of the artificial mind in every detail. This reflection will give us insight into how our own brains work. Then we define society as a system composed of intelligent systems, and we analyze society from that point of view. This analysis will help us understand society, its function, and that our society is more important to our quality of life than we normally realize.

Finally, knowing what a society is, from the point of view of intelligent systems, makes it clear why we have wars and how to prevent them. Related to the idea of a society is the interaction of its members; that is its ethics. We will see that using a formal or scientific way of treating a society leads as a consequence, to a science of ethics.

Philosophy has treated many questions; however, we will now discuss these questions from a scientific point of view. This book is only a first step. In it, we will examine, as far as possible, these interesting questions. Other investigators will surely follow and develop answers more completely.

I believe that you cannot start a scientific investigation without considering the consequences. Therefore, I have included a chapter on the great benefits and also the undesirable consequences of producing intelligent systems. Finally, after learning so much about intelligent systems, how can we increase our own intelligence?
I sincerely hope that you will enjoy reading this book, and that it will give you a new understanding of these matters.

Since 1979, the author has written a number of computer programs dealing with "artificial intelligence" in general, and specifically dealing with a robot brain. We will review these systems in the chapter on "Artificial Intelligent Systems". On the basis of this experience, the author wrote this book.

I herewith express my thanks to Ramón García Martínez, to all my other friends who helped develop the field, to Javier Blanqué who wrote the first version of the "Autonomous Intelligent System" in C and taught me that language, and to all who took the trouble to read and comment on the manuscript, specifically to Charles François, Alex Fritz, and Fritz Matthiess. Special thanks are due to Mark Ottenberg for his enthusiastic help in editing and getting this book on the web. In 2002 and with the help of T. M. Georges's Analytical Writing for Science and Technology (Exterior link) I wrote a new edition of this book .

 

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Walter Fritz
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