Artificial intelligence the name conjures images of mechanical monsters, the Golem, Dr. Frankenstein’s creation and the rebellious computer Hal. We have always been fascinated by the possibility of creating a machine in our image, but this fascination is often accompanied by apprehension. We fear losing control of our creation and suspect that it might turn against us. It is this duality, this conflict between the desire to create and the fear of the consequences of the creation that has been so successfully exploited by writers. It is also, in part, this fascination that has recently brought the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into public view.

Some recent developments with far-reaching practical applications have shown the enormous potential of AI. If we look beyond the spectacular and leave behind our apprehensions, illusions, and fantasies, we may sense the real and lasting significance of AI. To help dispel some of these myths, I will describe briefly the goals and the major subdivisions of AI.

Note on the Author

Professor Hugo D’Alarcao holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the Pennsylvania State University. For the past five years he has been active in helping design and implement the computer science program at Bridgewater State College. His current research interests are in robotics and computer vision and he is in the process of developing a robotics laboratory at B.S.C.