We are brothers and sisters of or machines. Minds and tools have been sharpened against each other ever since the first cutting edge was held in a hunter's hand. The obsidian flake and the silicone chip are struck by the light of the same campfire In the game of life and evolution there are three players at the table; human beings, nature, and machines Nature I suspect, is on the side of the machines. (George Dyson: Darwin Among the Machines) Artificial Intelligence Artificial intelligence or AI as it is more commonly known, is the area of computer science focusing on creating machines that can engage on behaviours that humans consider intelligent. The ability to create intelligent machines has intrigued humans since ancient times, and today with the advent of the computer and 50 years of research into AI programming techniques, the dream of smart machines is becoming a reality. Researchers are creating systems which can mimic human thought, understand speech, beat the best human chess player, and countless other feats never before thought possible.

Before we can go into great detail about artificial intelligence we have to first investigate what intelligence is. So what is intelligence? What properties do humans have which make them intelligent? Human intelligence, presumably, is a product of our brain and central nervous system. It has been suggested that the human brain is a computer and that our intelligence is ultimately the product of a sophisticated "computer program' that is running on our brain. It has proved very difficult to endow machines with "common sense', emotions and those other intangibles, which seem to drive much intelligent human behaviour.

A. Alan Turing's 1950 article Computing Machinery and Intelligence discussed conditions for considering a machine to be intelligent. He argued that if the machine could successfully pretend to be human to a knowledgeable observer then you certainly should consider it intelligent. This test would satisfy most people but not all philosophers. The observer could interact with the machine and a human by Teletype (to avoid requiring that the machine imitate the appearance or voice of the person), and the human would try to persuade the observer that it was human and the machine would try to fool the observer. The Turing test is a one-sided test.

A machine that passes the test should certainly be considered intelligent, but a machine could still be considered intelligent without knowing enough about humans to imitate a human. In the quest to create intelligent machines, the field of Artificial Intelligence has split into several different approaches based on the opinions about the most promising methods and theories. These rivalling theories have lead researchers in one of two basic approaches; bottom-up and top-down. Bottom-up theorists believe the best way to achieve artificial intelligence is to build electronic replicas of the human brain's complex network of neurons, while the top-down approach attempts to mimic the brain's behaviour with computer programs. The human brain is made up of a web of billions of cells called neurons, and understanding its complexities is seen as one of the last frontiers in scientific research. It is the aim of AI researchers who prefer this bottom-up approach to construct electronic circuits that act as neurons do in the human brain.

Although much of the working of the brain remains unknown, the complex network of neurons is what gives humans intelligent characteristics. By itself, a neuron is not intelligent, but when grouped together, neurons are able to pass electrical signals through networks. Expert systems have proven effective in a number of problem domains that usually require human intelligence. They were developed in the research labs of universities in the 1960's and 1970's. Expert systems are primarily used as specialized problem solvers. The areas that this can cover are almost endless.

This can include law, chemistry, biology, engineering, manufacturing, aerospace, military operations, finance, banking, meteorology, geology, and more. Expert systems use knowledge instead of data to control the solution process. "In knowledge lies the power' is a theme repeated when building such systems. These systems are capable of explaining the answer to the problem and why any requested knowledge was necessary. Expert systems use symbolic representations for knowledge and perform computations through manipulations of the different symbols But perhaps the greatest advantage to expert systems is their ability to realize their limits and capabilities. But what happens if we succeed in creating artificial intelligence? Does what we created have rights.

Since we have just duplicated the human mind does it have the same privileges as humans.