2.4 Artificial Intelligence-based Approaches

Note: This is an excerpt from a draft of my thesis, A Computer Model of National Behavior. The introduction and table of contents
are also available

2.4 Artificial Intelligence-based Approaches

Smith states that the roots of Artificial Intelligence (AI) go back to Aristotle, who first tried to formalize “right thinking.” Smith notes that “[Aristotle’s] syllogisms (three-part deductive reasoning) provided patterns for argument structures that always give ‘true‘ conclusions given ‘true‘ premises. [sic]” Mohsin, Amine, and Majeed note that Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan is one of the earliest proponents of artificial life:

For seeing life is but a motion of limbs, the beginning whereof is in some principal part within, why may we not say that all automata(engines that move themselves by springs and wheels as does a watch) have an artificial life? For what is the heart but a spring, and the nerves but so many strings, and the joints but so many wheels giving motion to the whole body such as was intended by the artificier [sic]?

and further:

By ratiocination, I mean computation. Now to compute, is either to collect the sum of many things that are added together, or to know what remains when one thing is taken out of another. Ratiocination, therefore, is the same with addition and subtraction.

However, little practical work would come of Hobbes’ dream until the dawn of the computer age. The first decades of Computer Science saw steady advance in the field and application of AI. According to Smith, McCulloch and Pitts described artificial neurons in 1943, and eight years later Minsky and Edmons built SNARC, the first neural computer. Also in the 1950s LISP, a popular language family for AI programs, was written, as were checkers and chess playing programs. The emergence of board-game playing programs was a harbinger of future AI-society work, but one not built on for years.

Monolithic AI systems developed from the 1960s to the 1980s, but failed to progress. Weizenbaum states that by 1966 the AI program ELIZA could pass for a human. It proved useful enough that specialized versions of ELIZA were created since, according to Whitby. MYCIN, a domain specific system to diagnosis blood disorders, was running successfully by the late 1970s. Many practical applications were developed, and some some researches focused on developing social simulations. However, the effort to create a broadly credible AI system was not successful.

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