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What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence is a broad discipline. It contains many diverse subfields and it has strong links to areas such as Cognitive Science and Philosphy of Mind. The term "Artificial Intelligence" was first coined by Prof. John McCarthy for a Conference on the subject held at Dartmouth in 1956. McCarthy defines the subject as the "science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs". The term "intelligence" is, of course, the subject of both scientific and philosophical debate. Within Artificial Intelligence many researchers use the term to mean giving computers behaviours which would be thought intelligent in human beings.

Artificial Intelligence research covers a wide range of topics. It includes making computers better at tasks that are widely perceived as intelligent, such as proving mathematical theorems. It also investigates processes we have only recently recognised are of significant difficulty, such as recognising objects in pictures. It even investigates problems which had not even been considered before the invention of computers, such as making it easier to find information on the world wide web.

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