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Topic X Intelligent

System
Concepts

LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this Topic, you should be able to:
1.

Define artificial intelligence;

2.

Discuss the differences between artificial intelligence and natural


intelligence; and

3.

State the advantages of using artificial intelligence compared to


conventional computing.

X INTRODUCTION
Since the introduction of computer system and data processing, human beings
have used both the computer system and data processing to make their day-today work easier. Therefore, work that usually consumes a lot of time requires
much computation and may be considered as trivial can be simplified and
automated. One limitation of computer technology is in the decision and
instruction given by a computer user. If a user makes a wrong decision and gives
instruction to the computer based on that wrong decision, then the outcome will
also be wrong. Due to this weakness, a field of study has been established to
enable machines and computers to think and make decisions in order to reduce
mistakes made by human beings. This field of study is called Artificial
Intelligence (AI).

X TOPIC 1 INTELLIGENT SYSTEM CONCEPTS

1.1

WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE?


ACTIVITY 1.1

Before we look at the definition of artificial intelligence, think for a


while, what do you understand about artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a field that studies methods or ways for machines
such as computers to act and do things like work and thinking similar to human
beings.

Most experts agree that artificial intelligence is closely connected to two main
ideas. First is to study the human thought processes to understand what
intelligence is all about. The second idea involves the representation of these
processes through machines such as computers and robots.
The abilities listed below represent intelligent behaviour or signs of intelligence:

Understanding or learning from experience;

Determining real meaning behind several contradictory or incomplete


messages;

Acting promptly and effectively in new situations;

Using reasoning to solve problems and take appropriate actions;

Overcome difficult situations;

Understanding and achieving meaning through normal and rational ways;

Using knowledge to manipulate surroundings;

Thinking and making decisions; and

Recognising the importance of different elements in a particular situation.

Even though the main objective of artificial intelligence is to develop machines


that can emulate human intelligence, the capabilities of commercial artificial
intelligence products are still far from reaching the above-specified abilities.
Nevertheless, artificial intelligence software continues to be updated and
improved. Its uses also increase by allowing growth in productivity and quality
through automation of work that initially may require only little human
intelligence.

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1.2

DEFINITIONS OF ARTIFICIAL
INTELLIGENCE?

There are several definitions attributed to the concept of artificial intelligence.


These definitions can be categorised into two comparative dimensions as follows:
First Dimension:
Looking at artificial intelligence from a behavioural aspect, that is thought and
action. Here, thought refers to the thought process and reasoning.
Second Dimension:
Measuring the success of artificial intelligence based on human performance and
the ideal concept of intelligence that is rationality.
When these two dimensions are mapped out, the resulting table is as shown in
Figure 1.1.

Figure 1.1: Categories of Artificial Intelligence Definition (Russell and Norvig, 1995)

Next, let us look at several definitions that can fit into each part of the figure
presented above.

X TOPIC 1 INTELLIGENT SYSTEM CONCEPTS

1.2.1

System that Thinks Like Human Beings

Definitions under this category refer to cognitive modelling approach. Here, two
definitions are given as guidelines:
Definition 1:
'The exciting new effort to make computers think machines with
minds, in the full and literal sense'
(Haugeland, 1985)

Definition 2:
"[The automation of] activities that we associate with human
thinking, activities such as decision-making, problem solving,
learning"
(Bellman , 1978)
Cognitive modelling approach is based on cognitive science field of study.
Cognitive science combines artificial intelligence computer model with
experimental techniques from psychology field in an effort to build and test
theories regarding how the human mind functions.
If we were to claim that a particular system thinks like human beings, then we
must have ways to determine how they (human beings) think. There are two
ways to determine this. These are:

Introspection - looking at how we think about a particular matter or arrive to


a decision.

Psychological experiments.

If input, output and expression of time of a system are similar to a human being,
then this will be proof that there are mechanisms in the system that operate the
same way as in that particular human being. Thus, the fields of artificial
intelligence and cognitive science are beneficial to one another, particularly in the
study of sight, natural language and learning.

ACTIVITY 1.2
In your opinion, how can a machine think and act like a human
being, and then think and act rationally like a human being?

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1.2.2

System that Acts Like Human Beings

Definitions under this category refer to the Turing Test approach. Here, two
definitions are given as guidelines:

Definition 1:
"The art of creating machines that perform functions that require
intelligence when performed by people"
(Kurzweil, 1990)

Definition 2:
"The study of how to make computers do things at which, at the
moment, people are better"
(Rich and Knight, 1991)
Turing Test was introduced by Alan Turing (1950) to provide an acceptable and
workable definition of intelligence. Turing stated that an intelligent act is the
ability to achieve human level performance in all cognitive tasks that cannot be
distinguished by an interrogator. In summary, the test introduced by Turing is as
follows:
A computer is asked by a human interrogator through a teletype. The test is
successful when the interrogator is unable to determine whether a human or
computer answers the questions.
Turing test prevents physical interactions between the interrogator and computer
because physical stimulation of a person or an entity is not required to determine
intelligence. This test will be considered successful if a particular system requires
sophisticated functions such as natural language processing, knowledge
representation, automated reasoning, and machine learning. However, in
artificial intelligence, objective of an intelligent system to succeed in the Turing
test is not a priority in the decision-making process of a particular problem. It is
more focused on human and machine interactions and how a machine reacts to
instructions or stimulation by a person or user.

X TOPIC 1 INTELLIGENT SYSTEM CONCEPTS

1.2.3

System that Thinks Rationally

Definitions under this category refer to laws of thought approach. Here, two
definitions are given as guidelines:

Definition 1:
"The study of mental faculties through the use computational models"
(Charniak and McDermott, 1985

Definition 2:
"The study of the computations that makes it possible to perceive,
reason and act"
(Winston, 1992)

Laws of thought are based on an attempt to establish the right thinking by


Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher. He established a few structures of
argument that will always give accurate conclusion if built on the right premises.
It is believed that laws of thought determine the operations of the mind, and
bring about the study of logic.
From as early as 1965, there were software and systems that can gather
explanations of a particular problem in logical notation and find solutions to the
problem if given enough time and memory. In artificial intelligence, the tradition
of logicist leads toward software development, a component of an intelligent
system. However, there are two main obstacles to such achievement.
First, it is difficult to get a general problem statement and interpret it in a logical
notation expression. It will be even more difficult if knowledge and facts
regarding the problem are not one hundred percent correct.
Second, there is a big difference between solving a problem through principle
and practical methods. A problem that depends only on a few facts may require
more computing power than the capabilities of available hardware.
Nonetheless, these problems will continue to exist in all development activities of
intelligent systems or any other problem-solving systems. The tradition of logicist
allows understanding of representation with a more accurate determination
process.

TOPIC 1 INTELLIGENT SYSTEM CONCEPTS W

1.2.4

System that Acts Rationally

Definitions under this category refer to rational agent approach. Here, two
definitions are given as guidelines:

Definition 1:
"A field of study that seeks to explain and emulate intelligent
behaviour in terms of computational processes"
(Schalkoff, 1990

Definition 2:
"The branch of computer science that is concerned with the
automation of intelligent behaviour"
(Luger and Stubblefield, 1993

In this approach, artificial intelligence is seen as a study and development of


rational agent. Rational action means action taken in order to achieve an objective
based on the belief of the acting entity while agent is an entity that has perception
and can take action.
Two advantages of learning artificial intelligence as a rational agent:
First, it is more general compared to the laws of thought approach because a
right conclusion process is only a useful mechanism in the development of a
rational system but not a requirement.
Secondly, it is more suitable in the scientific development rather than the
approach based on human thinking and action because rational standards are
clearly defined and are very general.

SELF-CHECK 1.1
What are the categories of definition for artificial intelligence?
State the differences between these categories.

X TOPIC 1 INTELLIGENT SYSTEM CONCEPTS

1.3

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE VS. NATURAL


INTELLIGENCE
ACTIVITY 1.3

Can you think of what are the advantages of artificial intelligence


and the advantages of natural intelligence?

The real value of artificial intelligence is easier to understand compared to


human intelligence or better known as natural intelligence. According to Kaplan
(1985), artificial intelligence has several commercial advantages as shown in
Figure 1.2.

Figure 1.2: Advantages of artificial intelligence

(a)

Artificial Intelligence is Everlasting


From a commercial viewpoint, natural intelligence is easily lost when
workers resign and move to different places, and workers may forget the
information required. Artificial intelligence is everlasting as long as the
computer system and software do not change.

(b)

Artificial Intelligence can be Copied and Distributed


Transferring knowledge from one individual to another requires a long
learning process and the subject learnt is normally not complete or fully the
same. When knowledge is stored in a computer, the knowledge can be
copied from the computer to any other computer at any location easily.

TOPIC 1 INTELLIGENT SYSTEM CONCEPTS W

(c)

Artificial Intelligence may be Cheaper than Natural Intelligence


Sometimes, using a computer to solve a particular problem or carry out a
task is cheaper than when a human being does it.

(d)

Artificial Intelligence is More Consistent and Complete Because it is a


Computer-Based System
Natural language varies since human beings vary and do not perform a
particular task the same way.

(e)

Artificial Intelligence can be Documented


Documenting decisions made by a computer system can be done easily by
following the sequence of activities of the system. Natural intelligence is
difficult to retrace because it maybe impossible to think of the
determination process that leads to the conclusion.

(f)

Artificial Intelligence can do a Few Things Faster than a Human Being


Through the computer processing capability, the speed of achieving a
decision depends on the speed of the computer that has the artificial
intelligence. We can increase the processing capacity repeatedly by
upgrading certain components such as memory and processing chip.

(g)

Artificial Intelligence can do a Few Things More Efficient than a Human


Being
If given a complete and correct set of instructions, a computer can carry out
a more complete and accurate processing. The same goes for artificial
intelligence that makes use of computerisation to solve problems. High level
of observation can be programmed to produce accurate reasoning result.

Nevertheless, natural intelligence also has a few advantages compared to


artificial intelligence as shown in Figure 1.3.

Figure 1.3: Advantages of natural intelligence

10 X TOPIC 1 INTELLIGENT SYSTEM CONCEPTS

(i)

Natural intelligence is very creative


Artificial intelligence always follows the same method. A human being can
learn new knowledge without difficulty, but for a system to learn
something new requires a complex restructuring process.

(ii)

Natural intelligence enables human beings to produce results from direct


sensory stimulation
Artificial intelligence can only interact with symbolic input and
representations.

(iii) Natural intelligence enables human beings to use their vast experience to
solve a problem
Artificial intelligence depends only on complete focus of one experience to
solve the same problem.
The advantages of natural intelligence in contrast to artificial intelligence show a
few limitations of artificial intelligence technology. However, there are a few
cases where artificial intelligence technology has the edge in terms of
productivity and quality. In order for a computer system to act more intelligently
than a human being, the system must be able to make the connection between
objects, events and processes easily like how an individual normally does

ACTIVITY 1.4
High expectation on artificial intelligence is the main problem faced in
the
beginning of the introduction of the technology. Why did it
happen? Is it still happening now?

TOPIC 1 INTELLIGENT SYSTEM CONCEPTS W

ACTIVITY 1.5
The following is a list of a few day-to-day activities. A few of these
activities can be carried out by artificial intelligence, but there are also
a few that are impossible or difficult to be carried out. Mark those
activities that you feel suitable for artificial intelligence and those that
are suitable for natural intelligence.
Activity

Suitable for

1.

Recite poetry

2.

Check re-stock level of goods at


the supermarket

3.

Determine whether to buy a


particular share or not based on
its past 5 years movement trend

4.

Play with kittens

5.

Establish
between
countries

6.

Control the path of a rocket


missile so that it hits the target
accurately

7.

Obtain public
certain issue

8.

Debate on the
ancient texts

9.

Forecast the weather

diplomatic relations
two
neighbouring

support

on

meanings

a
of

10. Control auto-pilot system for a


passenger aeroplane

11

12 X TOPIC 1 INTELLIGENT SYSTEM CONCEPTS

HOW ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS


DIFFERENT FROM CONVENTIONAL
COMPUTING?

1.4

ACTIVITY 1.6
After knowing the advantages of artificial intelligence and natural
intelligence, what do you think are the differences between artificial
intelligence and conventional computing?
The computing or processing and solving method of an intelligent system using
artificial intelligence technology is very different from conventional computing.
Here, the differences between the two methods are explained more clearly.

1.4.1

Conventional Computing

Conventional computing is based on algorithm, a sequence of detailed


procedures to solve a particular problem. Algorithm can be a mathematical
formula or a sequence of processes that leads to a solution. It is converted into a
computer program that instructs the computer on which operation to perform.
This algorithm then, uses data such as numbers, alphabets or words to solve that
problem.

1.4.2

Artificial Intelligence Computing

Artificial intelligence software is based on symbolic representation and symbolic


manipulation. In artificial intelligence, a symbol can be an alphabet, a word, or a
number that is used to represent an object, a process or their relationships.
Example of an object is a person, an item, a concept or an expression of facts. A
knowledge base that expresses facts, concepts, and object relations can be
developed using symbols. Then, various processes are used to manipulate the
symbols to provide advice or recommendations to solve problems.
When a knowledge base is developed, methods to use it must also be developed.
How does an intelligent system make the determination or decision based on the
knowledge base? Basic techniques are search and pattern matching. If provided
with initial information, an intelligent system will access its knowledge base and
search for several specific conditions or patterns. It will find a match that fulfils
the set of criteria for solving the problem. In summary, a computer will search
until it finds the most suitable answer based on the knowledge stored.

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13

Even though problem solving in artificial intelligence is not directly done through
algorithm process, algorithm is still used in the search process. Artificial
intelligence is a unique approach for computer programming. Although artificial
intelligence is still a computer-based system, it has several distinctive
characteristics as shown in Table 1.1 below.
Table 1.1: Unique Characteristics of Artificial Intelligence Compared to
Conventional Computing
Dimension

Artificial Intelligence

Conventional
Computing

Processing

Usually symbolic

Usually algorithm

Input form

Can be incomplete

Must be complete

Search

Use heuristics (Usually)

Use algorithm

Explanation

Provided

Usually not
provided

Focus

Knowledge

Data, information

Structure

Control is separated from


knowledge

Control is integrated
with data

Output form

Can be incomplete

Must be complete

Manage and update

Easy since
modular

Hardware

Usually workstation and


personal computer

All types

Determination power

Limited but increasing

None

it

is

very

Usually difficult

14 X TOPIC 1 INTELLIGENT SYSTEM CONCEPTS

ACTIVITY 1.7
Sometimes we can be confused with what differentiates a system based
on artificial intelligence technology from a system that functions using
conventional computing. The table below contains several statements
from software, device, or system owners, and all said that their systems
use artificial intelligence. Your task is to identify which one really uses
artificial intelligence.
Statement

Use Artificial Intelligence?

My system can process thousands of ATM


transactions in one hour.

Yes (

No ( )

My system can help me to solve car problems


just by asking several questions.

Yes (

No ( )

My system can add up the total payment


required for insurance policy based on customer
personal background.

Yes (

No ( )

My system can record the speed of a car on the


road.

Yes (

No ( )

My system can control the traffic light at the


intersection based on the total traffic from all
four directions.

Yes (

No ( )

1.5

CURRENT APPLICATIONS OF ARTIFICIAL


INTELLIGENCE

Developing machines that show intelligent characteristics involves research in


various science and technology fields such as linguistics, psychology, philosophy,
computer hardware and software, mechanics, hydraulics and optics. Recently,
there are contributions to artificial intelligence study and research from
organisation and management theory, chemistry, physics, statistics, mathematics,
management science and management information system.
Generally, artificial intelligence is not a commercial field; it is a science field and
also a form of technology. Nevertheless, artificial intelligence provides scientific
basis for several commercial technologies. Major areas are expert system, natural
language processing, speech recognition, fuzzy logic, robotics and others.

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15

The following sections explain the use of artificial intelligence as illustrated in


Figure 1.4.

Figure 1.4: Artificial intelligence applications

1.5.1

Expert System

Expert system is advice giving computer software that emulates the


determination process and knowledge of experts in solving specific problems.
This system is the broadest among all artificial intelligence applications. The
expert system is a favourite among organisations because of its ability to increase
productivity and capability to replace the workforce in areas where experts are
difficult to find and maintain in organisations.

1.5.2

Natural Language Processing

A natural language technology allows computer users to communicate with their


computers in their native language. This technology enables the construction of
interfaces based on conversation as opposed to using programming language
composed of syntax and instructions. Such systems that exist today are limited to
recognising and interpreting written sentences.

1.5.3

Speech Recognition

Speech recognition is similar to natural language processing, but is more focussed


on understanding verbal communication and human voice. Besides that, it also
relates to pattern matching/recognition of visual images.

16 X TOPIC 1 INTELLIGENT SYSTEM CONCEPTS

1.5.4

Robotics

When artificial intelligence is combined with sensory system, sight system, touch
system, and signal processing system, it falls under a category called robotics. An
intelligent robot has a sensory tool such as a camera to gather information related
to operations and to the robotic environment. The intelligent part of the robot
allows it to interpret the information gathered, to act and adapt to the
environment, and not follow instructions only.

ACTIVITY 1.8

(a)

What is a robot? What is its relationship with artificial intelligence?

(b)

What are the differences between an automated machine and an


intelligent robot?

(c)

Based on your answer to question 2, give 3 examples of a tool/


machine that can be classified as intelligent robots and state why you
consider them as intelligent robots.

In Topic 1, you have learnt about artificial intelligence, its definitions, and
several examples of artificial intelligence applications. You have also seen the
differences between artificial intelligence technology and other current
technologies. You should be able to understand:
(i)

Four ways to define artificial intelligence.

(ii)

Differences between artificial intelligence and natural intelligence.

(iv)
x

How artificial intelligence is different from the way computer process


information.

Artificial intelligence is the basic technology for building intelligent systems.


We will look at the concept of intelligent system in the subsequent Topic.