Ί What's New with Artificial Intelligence? Ί
Ί (c) 1991 Thinking Software Ί
The Personal Robot is sleek metallic blue and silver,
and sunlight glints off his shining torso as he washes his
master's car in the noonday heat.
Is there a Personal Robot lurking in your future?
Very likely, and when you finally buy him (or her),
it will be Artificial Intelligence running on your Robot's
onboard 786 computer that will get your car washed and waxed.
At your command, he will also clean your house, mow
your lawn, or wash and iron your shirts!
While you are out for the day!
Artificial Intelligence is computer software that allows
a computer (or Robot) to perform tasks we would consider intelligent
if done by a person. These tasks include giving expert advice,
understanding natural language, speaking intelligently and
recognizing complex patterns such as handwriting. The three
most important types of AI Programs today are Expert Systems,
Natural Language Programs and Neural Networks.
This exciting software is moving in several new directions
in the 1990's:
* Embedded Artificial Intelligence - A.I. within
otherwise conventional database software.
* Robotics - insect like electronic creatures with simple
intelligence are being created at the MIT Robotics Lab.
* Intelligent Vision - Robot Eyes that can identify various
components on an assembly line, for example.
* CASE - Computer Aided Software Engineering - using software
to write new software.
* CAI - Computer Aided Instruction, tutorial software that
automatically adjusts to your level of knowledge.
There is substantial interest in moving A.I. out of the
factory and lab, and into the Office and home. Work Group Software
and complex Electronic Mail and Filing Systems are already starting
to reflect this trend and become more intelligent.
A.I. Visionaries are talking about "Agents", very
intelligent PC Based programs that can accept and carry out a long
series of complex instructions, and report back to you when all
tasks are completed.
Some software designers are even experimenting with primitive but
fascinating forms of Artificial Life (software that mimics growth and
reproduction), and a new field called Virtual Reality.
Virtual Reality Software, along with special goggles and gloves,
allows you to seemingly enter an artificial world that exists only
within the computer, and even move and touch objects that appear in
the 3-D view provided by the goggles.
The new generation of super high-speed 486 PC's now becoming
available from IBM, Compaq, and other compatible builders have become
the platform of choice for the development of A.I. Software. Could
the 586 PC running at 100 Megahertz be already in the wings?
An Expert System is computer software that can solve real
world problems requiring logic, decision making and knowledge
processing. Expert Systems can also categorize, consult, analyze,
and diagnose. These software tools are useful in areas that
formerly required a human expert. Expert Systems use deductive
reasoning to solve problems that are often unstructured, and
would be impossible to approach with conventional procedural
You might think that when consulting an Expert System, you ask
the Expert System a question, and receive a solution. Actually,
its the other way round. The vast majority of Expert Systems in use
today ask YOU the questions, and arrive at a solution based on your
responses - and the IF/THEN rules in their knowledgebase.
Here's a extremely simplified example:
EXPERT QUESTION 1: Do you have a bad cough?
YOUR ANSWER: Yes.
EXPERT QUESTION 2: Do you smoke?
YOUR ANSWER: No.
EXPERT SOLUTION: You have a cold.
If you had answered Yes to the second question, the
Expert Solution would be: You have smoker's cough.
The rulebase would look something like this:
IF Do you have a bad cough = YES
THEN ASK Do you smoke.
IF Do you smoke = YES
THEN SOLUTION = You have smoker's cough
ELSE You have a cold.
Naturally, an Expert System that you could question
would be preferable, but this has been very difficult
to program with current technology, because of the extreme
difficulty of programming a computer to extract MEANING
from a sentence or question. However, there is little doubt
that this will eventually be accomplished, most likely through
One large Knowledge Frame project manager likens
building Knowledge Frames on a computer to teaching the
Encyclopedia to a small child. He has also called the
process "teaching by brain surgery", as every single
fact, relationship and idea must be manually typed into
the computer in just the right way. It is hoped that building
millions of linked Knowledge Frames will result in a computer
with enough "common sense" to understand and respond to questions.
THE DOMAIN OF THE KNOWLEDGEBASE
An Expert System Shell is an Expert System minus its
knowledgebase and domain. It is an Expert System ready to be
taught the rules of knowledge in a particular field. An
"Expert System Ready to Consult" is an Expert System that has
been given knowledge rules for a specific domain or subject,
such as Medical Diagnosis, Car Repair or virtually any organized
body of knowledge.
Some of the most famous Expert Systems can be found
in the area of Medical Diagnoses and Computer Configuaration,
and surpass human experts in their specific areas of expertise.
In one specific area of expertise - playing chess - a domain
specific computer called Deep Thought has won against GrandMaster
human players, and most experts believe that Deep Thought will
eventually become the world chess champion, perhaps within five
Natural Language Software is the branch of AI that focuses on
getting computers to understand spoken or typed english. English has proven
itself as the most useful tool for people communicating with people.
It is now starting to emerge as a viable alternative for people
communicating with computers. Someday, desktop PC's will routinely respond
to our spoken requests with answers in perfectly spoken English - or any
There is now software that can speak any file or text screen on your PC,
(Monlogue, from First Byte), and software that can type your slowly spoken
words (Dragon Dictate, $9000.00). There is also software to automatically
translate from one language to another. One A.I. goal is to provide
automatic real-time language translation as you speak during a
Trans-Atlantic phone conversation. The SoundBytes Toolkit
(Thinking Software, $59.95) allows programmers to add Speech to any
PC Program. The PC Therapist (Thinking Software, $29.95) is an advanced
update of Eliza, the famous talking psychiatrist first developed
There is absolutely no doubt that Encylopedia sales will soon
be replaced by Enclopedias on CD-ROM Disks, with powerful Natual
Language software "front-ends" that can accept a school child's
typed question, and turn it into a correct search-and-retrieval
procedure to answer any question from the Encyclopedia.
Can you imagine a child telling his computer to "Prepare
a report on the History of Artifical Intelligence", or - more likely -
on the Presidents of the United States?
A Neural Network is a biological model of a human brain, simulated in
the binary memory of your PC. It is made up of artificial Neurons,
connected to each other by Axions. Each Neuron can have many inputs,
but only one output. As a Neuron gets energized by input, it fires, sending
energy along axions to other nearbye Neurons. If another Neuron receives
enough energy it will also fire, propagating the excitation to others.
There are hundreds or even thousands of such Neurons, arranged in layers,
and all together they form a Neural Network, capable of learning from
experience though a self correcting technique called back-propogation.
Today, Neural Networks are the most exciting area in Artificial
Intelligence, and these real operational computer models of the brain
routinely perform outstanding feats of pattern recognition such as reading
scribbled handwriting at high speed with incredible accuracy, learning to
identify male versus female faces, and even learning to speak almost
without human assistance.
There is also a lot of excitement on Wall Street where high
level programmers have created Neural Networks that can predict the
Stock Market quickly enough to place buy and sell orders based on the
Networks output. A number of small companies have been formed around
the idea of using Neural Networks to predict the result of horse races
and other sporting events based on past history.
Some claim that Neural Network Software will lead us to a new
"Age of Artificial Intelligence". When the first Personal Robot
goes on the market (for the price of...let's say...about the
price of a Cadillac or Mercedes...at first...) will its brain
be an Expert System, a Neural Network, or Natural Language
Software, or perhaps some exotic high-tech combination of the
three still to be invented?
The Personal Robot has finished washing and waxing the
car, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, changing the sheets,
and dinner is in the microwave. He stands silent and waiting
for further commands from you, his master. He is not tired or
resentful from performing the endless tasks. He has been
programmed to seem cheerful at all times. So when you finally
buy your Personal Robot, don't go treating him like a slave.
Treat him....or her...like a buddy.
Dear PC User,
Thinking Software is almost 5 years old....we've been providing
quality A.I. Software since September 1986. We keep our prices low by
running inexpensive ads and sending out our disks in sturdy but simple
mailers. Most of our disks are still $29.95, and you can save money by
ordering three for $59.95, or six for $99.95. All the software in
our catalog has been carefully tested and documented and is guaranteed
to run on your machine.
This place is a hotbed of creative software development, and here's some
exciting news about our new products:
1. LIFEPLAN - We've modified our popular Personal Information Manager
to use "text files" instead of database records. What does this mean
to you? Complete freedom in the way you enter your Goals, Projects,
Plans and Things-to-Do. $29.95.
2. MONEYMAKER - This is great for new PC Users. A dozen realistic ways
to make extra money with your PC while you keep your present job. Plus
tips on buying a Laser Printer, and a compact introduction to the most
useful DOS Commands.$29.95.
3. PC THERAPIST - Our best seller has a new face! A cute little talking
head to be exact! And now he talks thru your PC Speaker! (One user
wrote: Max Headroom lives Again!).$29.95.
4. TURBO EXPERT - Build your first Expert System in one day, gain a real
hands-on working knowledge of Artificial Intelligence Technology.$59.95.
5. BEST OF WINDOWS 3.0 - Is Windows 3.0 more fun then sex? Lets just say
its the most fun I've had while sitting at a PC. If you are a Windows
User, check out our new Best of Windows package - a dozen carefully
selected programs for just $29.95.
6. AUTOWRITER - We now have an additional 800,000 byte text source file
for AutoWriter, but you have to ask for it when you order. ($29.95)
You'll need a 1.4 Meg Disk Drive, as we only supply this new text file
on a 1.4 Meg Disk. The file is full of contemporary quotes and sayings
to spice up your writing.
7. THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY - Our latest creation, a mind bending visual voyage
into the future of psychology. EGA or VGA and hard drive required.
If you are interested in Reich or Velikovsky you want this disk $29.95
8. EASY NEURAL NETWORKS - A complete introduction to Neural Networks,
with an actual running Neural Network you can train and test. $59.95
GIVEAWAY REGISTRATION DEAL
Here's a giveaway registration deal that no rational person could refuse.
Register this copy of THINK for just ten dollars ($10.00!) and you get:
The 32-page Artificial Intelligence Software Catalog
which opens you to a whole new world of PC Software.
The famous "AI-TUTOR" A.I. Tutorial Disk!
Contains concise online tutorial on Expert Systems,
Neural Networks, Natural Language, KnowlegeBases,
Virtual Reality, Artificial Life, AI Agents.
AI-TUTOR is an in-depth Artificial Intelligence Tutorial.
It contains individual articles on Neural Networks,
Expert Systems and Natural Language Software. Each type
of software is explained in detail, with examples
of popular programs in each category.
PLUS your choice of ONE OF THE ABOVE 8 BEST-SELLERS (usually $29.95 or more)!
Choose from: LifePlan, MoneyMaker, PC Therapist, Turbo Expert,
Best of Windows 3.0, AutoWriter, The New Psychology, or EASY Neural Networks!
If this sounds too good to be true, remember we have an ulterior
motive. We are sure that once you see our AI Catalog and AI-TUTOR Disk,
you'll find a lot of software you can't resist!
If you have a printer, press SHIFT/PRINTSCREEN to print this Order Form:
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