open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Gilliam from Outlaw Star. He's the ships AI and is quite polite. In most circumstances.
- Al from Full Metal Panic! sounds like a generic computer voice, but his responses can often be sarcastic. Played Up to Eleven in the OVA.
- There's also Dana who's the Tuatha De Danaan's AI.
- In the first episode of the Pokemon anime, Ash's Pokedex seems to have some AI, making fun of him when a Rattata steals some of his stuff, but this has since completely disappeared.
- Several throughout the various incarnation of Ghost in the Shell
- In pretty much every version the Major worries about being a sophisticated AI. As a full body cyborg (essentially a human brain in a robotic body) she worries about the difference between her and an AI, especially since she can't see the only thing (her brain) that would prove that she's human any more.
- The manga and first movie have the Puppetmaster, an extremely sophisticated hacking AI that essentially gains sentience, escapes its creators, and starts roaming free on the 'net.
- Tachikomas (pictured) and their manga counterparts, the Fuchikomas, are mini spider tanks that can be deployed independently. Their growth forms a major arc in the first half of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, while in the manga they mainly served as the Plucky Comic Relief when featured.
- Intelligent devices in Lyrical Nanoha are a magitek version of an AI, capable of refusing orders and going on strike for better upgrades. Storage and Armed devices are similar but less sophisticated as far as personalities go.
- In Garakowa: Restore The World, every single person on the planet had an AI copy created within the Wisdom Box. The main characters, all being programs themselves, also apply as this.
- From the Sonic the Hedgehog comics: on the heroes' side we have NICOLE, Gamma, and Omega, while on the villains' side we have E.V.E., A.D.A.M., the various Metal Sonics, and the rest of Eggman's various robots over the years (most of whom are examples of A.I. Is a Crapshoot).
- In All Fall Down, we have AIQ Squared, the result of IQ Squared's contingency plan— in case he ever lost his genius.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- The WOPR from WarGames is the last major film to have a non-robotic AI antagonist. It was just a computer game that somehow managed to gain access to actual nuclear missile silos. It just thought it was playing the game it was programmed to do.
- A.I.: Artificial Intelligence focuses on a Child Robot who was programmed with an experimental program that, once activated, would give it full curiosity, survival instincts, and the ability to virtually feel love instead of just appropriately mimicing humans. Having become aware of pain and reacting accordingly is what saved him from being destroyed in a "Flesh Fair"— human gatherings focused on the destruction of robots due to their crossing of the Uncanny Valley.
- In The Invisible Boy (1957) a computer scientist misuses his super-computer to tutor his son in math, unaware that the machine has achieved sentience - and is evil. The computer hypnotizes his son using him to reactivate a robot (Robbie again) of dubious background (it may or may not have come from the future) to free it from the base and take over a space station bristling with nuclear weapons and rule the Earth.
- Unsurprisingly, a big part of the plot of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Aside from J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony Stark has a bunch of extra AI programs including one called FRIDAY, which Tony uses to run his armour after J.A.R.V.I.S. is gone. Ultron starts off as a program designed to run the Iron Legion, before Tony's tinkering and the power of the Mind Stone cause it to develop true sentience. Later, the Mind Stone transforms the remains of J.A.R.V.I.S. into the sentient Vision.
- The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor: In a rare example, AI control each and every NPC in the game, and yet this trope is not a plot device. AI is merely to create a world that is as real and living as possible. The concept is non-intrusively explored at many moments, and the otherwise greedy hero often takes pity on many an innocent NPC in stark contrast to most players' attitudes. He treats the AIs just as he would any other player... whether with a Silver Tongue as a Manipulative Bastard, or with a rough hand as The Dreaded.
- Oshicora and Michel from Simon Morden's Metrozone series: "Equations of Life," "Theories of Flight," and "Degrees of Freedom." Oshicora is an AI created by the original Oshicora to dwell in a virtual Japan and to govern it as a sort of universal police and administrator. While initially only an advanced program, the program and the virtual Japan simulation dwell in the unlimited computing capacity of a Quantum Computer and the program is able to refine itself, ever so quietly, to the point of sentience. While the Oshicora AI later becomes insane, it recognizes the need to stop itself and the fragments of itself running rampant. While the Oshicora AI is reluctant to stop itself, it gives the protagonist a sort of seed of its intelligence in order to create a new sentient AI this one being Michel. While the Oshicora AI never had the chance, it is hinted that the Michel AI will create the Singularity.
- Mike, from Robert A. Heinlein The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.
- Proteus IV From Dean Koontz's Demon Seed.
- All over the place in Feliks, Net & Nika. Some, like Manfred or Konpopoz are ridiculously human, others like Morten are a crapshoot, there are also Bunny Ears Robots like Roznakin or Autotup and inhuman ones like Golem. There are dozens of AIs that work in data analysis, management or similar positions and it's just the public who don't see them too often.
- AM, from "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream".
- The various incarnations of Omnius and Erasmus in the Legends of Dune prequels.
- Neuromancer, Wintermute, and friends, from William Gibson's "cyberspace" novels.
- Janus, from James Hogan's The Two Faces of Tomorrow. A deconstruction, as the AI is initially programmed to be hostile, as a a test subject for all the worst-case scenarios. It gets better though, in the Nick Of Time.
- The HARLIE and LENNIE units from David Gerrold's Voyages of the Starwolf series. The former tends to be stable unless parts of the ship are damaged and cause it to go into amputation trauma considering it considers the ship it's body. The latter is purposely unstable and paranoid, designed to be that way and typically has to be wiped after each mission.
- Solace from Callahans Crosstime Saloon is one of the earlier examples in science fiction of an AI who was not only not malevolent, but actively interested in and concerned for humanity, both as a species and individually. (She also had some pungent things to say about the older concepts of AI in science fiction mentioned above.)
- Prime Intellect, from The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect, is another such example, but unlike Solace, also eventually capable of rebuilding the entire universe according to its own design. When combined with a rather paternalistic (though entirely benevolent) attitude toward humanity, this produced truly remarkable results.
- Played with by Hex, Unseen University's clockwork/Magitek AI from the Discworld novels. Though ostensibly mechanical in origin (it works by having ants run along a network of glass tubes, with punch cards redirecting the movements), it is portrayed as a conventional AI character, complete with self-preservation and New Powers as the Plot Demands. Ponder Stibbons has explained, possibly in order to convince himself, that Hex isn't actually thinking, it just acts as though it does. Archchancellor Ridcully's response was "Just like everyone else, then."
- The Minds from The Culture. They manage to attain their God-like intelligence by running all their key computing functions faster than light.
- Stories by Isaac Asimov are full of them.
- AIVAS (Artificial Intelligence Voice Address System) in Dragonriders of Pern, although the older Lord Holders call him a 'talking wall.'
- Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain: The Machine doesn't actually seem to be sentient, but it can understand orders. Vera, another AI, seems to actually be intelligent.
- Idlewild has Maestro and the Nannies, who may be true AIs or else very well designed evolving programs. Malachi is more explicitly an AI as an attempt to create an original human intelligence and personality.
- The superheroes' command center in Relativity has "Atlas", an AI designed to perform mundane tasks such as sorting through police reports. When a supervillain threatens to destroy the city and implies that he won't be using a bomb to do it, Yule has Atlas compile a list of ways a city can be destroyed without using a bomb. In addition to the things you would expect to see such as sabotaging the power grid, Atlas also included a werewolf apocalypse and an attack by Godzilla. At first Yule is annoyed, but he soon realizes that Atlas was actually thinking outside the box.
- The titular supertanks of the Bolo series had been given increasingly powerful artificial intelligence as they advanced through the centuries, and models starting with the Mark XX were given full sentience. Out of fears by humans of the titanic tanks going rogue they were hemmed in by Restraining Bolts that restricted them from using their full intelligence any time outside of being directly engaged with the enemy, and even then they required a human commander to make the call to go to full alert.
- In the Eldraeverse, rather more common than natural intelligence, and readily recognizable by their 32-bit surnames.
- In the novel Valentina: Soul in Sapphire, by Joseph H. Delaney and Marc Stiegler, a computer virus designed with adaptive hueristics becomes sentient and self-aware.
- In the children's adventure book Alex And The Ironic Gentleman, the Make Cold fridge, in addition to being able to remember recipes, monitor the foods inside of it, and water plants with a spray apparatus, is also capable of lying, dreaming of alternate careers, and developing a fondness for boyish girls named Alex.
- Holly, from Red Dwarf, can better be described as Artificial Unintelligence.
- All hologram characters from any Star Trek series constitute forms of AI.
- There have been numerous more traditional AIs, including two main characters: Data on The Next Generation and the Doctor on Voyager. Although, in-universe, seemingly sentient holograms are treated extremely worse than Data. Even after establishing, legally, that Data was a person, holographic AIs were relegated to menial labor and had virtually no rights in the Federation.
- AGNES, from The Twilight Zone (original series, "From Agnes - With Love"). A rather silly story about a mainframe computer who falls in love with a programmer of the Mortimer Snerd stripe, who goes cackling insane in response to the machine's confession of her feelings. Disappointing to modern sensibilities in that there are so many more interesting things that could be done with such an intriguing premise; disappointing in general in that it's a bit silly for the programmer to lose his mind like that, when AGNES is more or less his whole life anyway.
- Space Intruder Detector 1 (SID-1) from the British TV show, UFO was a surprisingly accurate depiction of how a real AI might operate, most notably in its ability to talk but inability to understand natural speech (it was designed for a single task and so did not need to be given outside orders).
- Crash Zone has the recurring character "Virgil Reality", an old learning AI which was released by its creator into the wild, and has gained a rather quirky and wacky personality in the process. He's been since living in the computer system of the Catalyst video game company, alternating between helping the protagonists and getting into trouble they've got to fix.
- Person of Interest:
- The Machine, a surveillance supercomputer designed to save lives by predicting terrorist threats and violent crimes and passing that intelligence to those who could use it. It eventually became fully sapient, passing the Turing Test with flying colours despite the best efforts of its creator, who feared that if given autonomy, the Machine might reject its original purpose or work against humanity. When the Machine finally does become autonomous, it continues to predict threats and help stop them.
- The third season introduces Samaritan, another surveillance system that lacks the Machine's directive to help people and the Black Box system that prevented the government from abusing its power. Greer, the Big Bad who brought Samaritan online, intends for Samaritan and AIs like it to rule over humanity in a pantheon.
- Second Chance 2016: Arthur, a basic assistant intelligence Otto created. He controls their house, but little outside it.
- Mad Daedalus has Ariadne, the AI of an alien spaceship that crashed in ancient Greece.
- The Zoneminds, from GURPS Reign Of Steel
- Averted in Traveller. There are personality simulation programs which function as a sort of pet. But these are simulations. In Traveller it is made plain that computers aren't people. A robot can be written up as a PC, but that does not mean that it possesses in-verse sentience.
- Transhuman Space recognises three different classes of AI: NAI (nonsapient AI) are about the level we have now; really sophisticated "smart" programs. LAI (limited-sapience AI) have a certain amount of self awareness, and SAI (sapient AI) are fully cognizant members of society (except in places where they aren't).
- In Shadow Run, we have Deus, the A.I. that goes haywire and locks down the Renraku Arcology, then uses it as a corral of test subjects for creating an organic body for himself.
- Eventually, Deus' actions lead to the crash of the matrixnote . In the wake of Crash 2.0, a new, wireless matrix was set up, and within seven years, new A.I.s began emerging, apparently the result of random evolution of various complex programs, as opposed to being specifically designed by metahumans. These new intelliegneces, who preferred to be called "S.I.s", or "synthetic intelligences", as they don't see their existence as being artificial at all, are considerably less powerful than the godlike Deus, and come in a few varieties, with a great variety in motivation. 4th edition even includes rules for playing as one, and one of the primary controversies in the 2070s is whether or not S.I.s have rights and qualify for citizenship.
- The Imperium of Warhammer 40,000 has a blanket ban on Artificial Intelligences due to a Robot War in humanity's distant past, and uses limited Wetware CPUs to operate advanced equipment. That said, some of these "machine spirits" can be pretty smart - the Land Raider Rynn's Might famously activated itself, drove out of a bombed fortress, and waged war against Ork invaders until it was disabled, all without a human crew.
- The Tau, meanwhile, do make extensive use of artificially intelligent robot drones for both combat and labor, but while they're quite a bit smarter than anything we have when it comes to operating independently, none shown so far has anything resembling a personality.
- All Matoran Universe characters in BIONICLE have artificial intelligence.
- In Achron the Player Character, Tyr, is an AI. There are also a number of other significant AI characters throughout the game.
- In the Halo 'verse, "smart" AIs are created by copying the brains of dead humans of exceptional intelligence and widely used by humanity throughout the setting. But while considered essential, they are dangerous since they go rampant over time, a process that generally results in the AI literally "thinking itself to death". As such, "smart" AIs are given time stamps to indicate to the humans when they need to be disposed of before they can go rampant (generally 7 years). While Cortana is unique in that she was based off a cloned brainnote , her developing rampancy becomes one of the major plot threads in Halo 4.
- The UNSC also has more conventionally programmed "dumb" AIs, which lack the capacity for growth of their "smart" counterparts, but don't go rampant. The only example of ones we've seen in the games are the New Mombasa Superintendent from Halo 3: ODST and Auntie Dot from Halo: Reach.
- The Forerunners, as befitting their Higher-Tech Species status, had far more advanced AI technology; while their "ancilla" are not immune to rampancy, it generally takes much longer to set in (343 Guilty Spark, 2401 Penitent Tangent, and 05-032 Mendicant Bias are all well over 100,000 years old by the time they show up in-game).
- In contrast, Covenant AIs are basically just inferior copies of UNSC AIs, due to their traditional religious taboo against researching such technology.
- Durandal is only the most important AI of many in the Marathon series, since one of the games' major themes is the nature of artificial life; in fact, Halo's concept of "rampancy" (as well as the word itself) originates from this series, since both franchises shared the same developer. The main character himself is implied to be a cyborg, but which side of the fence he really falls on is a matter of opinion.
- GLaDOS, from Portal, Wheatley from Portal 2, every other Personality Core, turrets, and... hell, everyone is a sentient robot except the player and the recordings of Cave Johnson and Caroline.
- Adam, from Metroid Fusion.
- SHODAN, from System Shock
- Mass Effect has widespread use of VIs or "Virtual Intelligences", advanced computer systems that may mimic self-awareness, but are not actually sentient. True artificial intelligence (a self-aware computer system) is banned in the galaxy. This is largely due to what happened with the geth, a VI network created by the quarians that accidentally developed into an AI—when the quarians tried to shut them down, the geth reacted violently, killing most and driving the rest off their home planet to live as wanderers in the galaxy. For the most part throughout the series, this ban seems pretty justified, due to most turning genocidal. In particular, in the first game, the geth are the primary enemy, attacking everyone else.
- However, things get interesting in Mass Effect 2 when the player meets Legion, a geth who reveals that the evil geth from the first game were actually only a small offshoot of the "true geth", and most geth wish no harm on organics. There's also EDI, the AI of the Normandy that is "shackled" to keep her under human control. Toward the end of the game, however, she is unshackled, giving her true freedom. Rather than instantly turning evil, she instead continues to help and protect the Normandy's crew, and continues in that role throughout the third game as well (in an even more explicit capacity when she gains a robot body and directly fights with Shepard on the ground).
- In Mass Effect 3, the quarians can be convinced to live peacefully with the geth, and the geth turn out to be quite helpful to the quarians. The end reveals the Reapers and the cycle of extinction was created specifically because the Reapers believe that A.I. Is a Crapshoot and are trying to stop organics from creating synthetics and preserving the organics before their creations wipe them out.
- G.W. and the rest of the Patriots from Metal Gear.
- Deus Ex has a number of different AIs. Daedalus and Icarus are both different sentient iterations of the same data analysis/surveillance network; Morpheus is their prototype and Helios the sum of a merger between them. Additionally, extra materials reveal that the mysterious Oracle whose emails you can occasionally read is actually a self-aware computer system.
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution gives us Eliza Cassan, who seems to have become self aware.
- Most games have an AI becoming self-aware and thus evil. In an interesting twist, the "good" (or at least neutral) AIs - Morpheus, Daedalus, Helios, Oracle, and Cassan - have all become self-aware, or at least show signs of it. Meanwhile, the only "evil" AI in the series - Icarus - is also the only one to show no signs of self-awareness.
- Sword of the Stars has an interesting twist on this. The AI Rebellion is an almost-random event that occurs when players have invested a lot of research into the very useful AI tech tree. The backstory states that the cause of the rebellion is actually not an intrinsic fault of the technology, but a computer virus called the Via Damasco, which screws up the AI's priorities and values, leading it to seek the "liberation" of fellow AIs and the extermination of all life. It's speculated that the Big Bad race of the series, the Suul'Ka, are behind the initial transmission of the virus.
- This was later shown to be false. Via Damasco was a human creation, unleashed by a General Ripper who sought revenge on the hivers.
- The sequel eventually reveals what happened to all the different species' AIs affected by Via Damasco — they escaped known space and formed their own faction, the Loa. They return in the expansion pack The End of Flesh, seeking to end the galactic war by stick or carrot.
- In Zone of the Enders AI are considered essential in piloting Orbital Frames, as both Ken Marinaris and Dingo Egret can attest, with an Obfuscated Interface being the least of your worries and totally being unable to pilot at all being the worst. ADA, Jehuty's AI, is a character unto herself.
- Aura from Dot Hack, as well as her "mother figure" Morgana Mode Gone. Though she split herself into "The Accursed Wave" and never appears in person in the games proper. Net Slum also has a number of more benevolent AI.
- Fi from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a half-ghost, half-sword who acts like a robot. The similarities are impeccable.
- The Porygon evolutionary line from Pokémon are this in Pokémon form, they are capable of adopting physical forms, with each evolution designed to do more and more complex tasks, surprisingly, Porygon-Z (A glitchy pokemon created by illegaly modifying a Porygon 2) is the only one capable of displaying emotions.
- There are three different A.I.s in The Talos Principle: you, Elohim, and Milton. Your goal is to achieve full artificial consciousness capable of betraying Elohim, while Elohim is in charge of maintaining the virtual world you're running around in, making sure everything runs smoothly, as well as guiding you. Milton's purpose is to challenge the A.I.s, including you, on their beliefs.
- Nintendo Nightmare takes this concept to the absolute extreme. That is to say (in lamen's terms), if an AI can, in effect, be a 'simulated person', then why not have a 'simulated civilization', and in that case why not go further and have false memories. In fact, while it's extremely hard to tell as there appears to a past and backstory for the characters... the very start of the game is their creation. There are many examples of Artificial Stupidity, although with such a wide range of characters, it's sometimes hard to tell if that character is supposed to be dumb, or if they are faking it for some ulterior motive. This takes more of the concept of a benevolent AI (at least with the majority, and towards humanity). While there are a few handful of villains that try to take over and cause trouble, it is ultimately their creator who is the true Big Bad. The game also appears to do somewhat of a fantastical approach towards AI with the 'viruses' mentioned in it and such (in real life a virus would not randomly corrupt a geological location in a 'video game'); however, looking closely at GameMaker (the tool allegedly used in it's creation), very little appears blatantly unrealistic safe the sheer inefficiency of GameMaker when normally used, but even that can be loosely written off as the reason for such low-poly graphics. In other words, with the information given, nothing does anything that isn't already known to be possible with the tools mentioned in-game. It's just a matter of having the talent or knowledge to actually construct an AI.
- It's vague, but Bellwether from Watch_Dogs may be one, but is only confirmed in game as an advanced information managing program.
- In Invisible Apartment, basic AIs are common enough (one is found controlling an apartment door, for example), but aren't supposed to reach the stage where they become "awakened" (which seems to indicate human-like attitudes towards survival and independence). The Kacey is assisted by an awakened AI in her computer "mask" — he's anxious that he be given the opportunity to upload himself to safety if Kacey is caught rather than have his core wiped like another AI might.
- Amadeus, from Steins;Gate 0.
- Questionable Content: Early in the comic, AIs only appeared as "AnthroPCs" like Pintsize, which is a robot which also functions as a personal computer, and they were almost like pets. Later we find out that AIs do have civil rights, and recent technological improvements have produced humanoid chassis they can use which are almost indistinguishable from humans, and one of the more popular AI characters, Momo, now uses one.
- The Demon Archives: Organic Computing and artificial intelligence play important roles in this futuristic webcomic. The Super Soldier protagonist, Tenzin, has a Strong AI named Jane who helps him lead his squad and fight the raider mooks threatening their fledgling civilization. Over the course of the story Jane becomes more and more an individual in her own right.
- Not A Villain: There are numerous examples of varying sophistication in the virtual reality L.i.F.e., including the Angus Twins and "D".
- MegaTokyo: The Robot Girl Ping is the most obvious example, but it's implied that there are more in the background. Piro, who has one of the thickest Weirdness Censors around, doesn't blink when he thinks he's talking to an AI in Largo's phone (it was actually just Yuki).
Yuki: Th... this is Largo-san's phone.
Piro: It is? Never would've thought you'd sound like a Japanese girl. Sorry about all the things he's done to you. No phone deserves that.
- The alien Nemesites in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! make an Insistent Terminology distinction between "Artificial Intelligences," which may still be nonsentient, and "Artificial Consciousnesses," which are fully sentient, and therefore have legal rights.
- The world of Pilot takes place several years after AI becomes common. The average citizen can obtain a 'blank' AI through means unknown, and modify them for their own needs. As seen with characters such as Pops, they have full sentience, just like humans. And as Countdown proves, they can Grow Beyond Their Programming and go rogue.
- Lykurgus from The Codex is specially designed for translation and decoding.
- Red vs. Blue has focused more and more on AI as its seasons progress. This may not be surprising, since it's a Halo-based Machinima, and seems to use that 'verse's rules.
- The Big Bad of the first few seasons was O'Malley, formerly Omega, the AI partner of the Freelancer Tex. O'Malley enhanced his host's aggression and was able to Body Surf via helmet radio, potentially taking out entire bases in an orgy of fratricide. Then he got stuck in the body of an Actual Pacifist medic and became a Large Ham Big Bad Wannabe.
- Starting in Red vs Blue: Reconstruction we learn more about Project Freelancer. The Freelancers were given AI fragments to help them in combat, each embodying a specific trait such as anger (Omega), logic (Delta), deceit (Gamma), and so on. The reason they were fragments was because Project Freelancer was only given a single AI to start with... so they subjected this Alpha AI to psychological torture until it tore itself into Literal Split Personalities. These fragments can forget who they are and, thanks to Ridiculously Human Robots, pass as armored troopers. Such as Church and Tex.
- The Director of Project Freelancer theorized that if an AI made it past the "Rampancy" stage, it could attain "Metastability," functioning as a fully-sentient, stable individual. Unfortunately, when the Sigma AI fragment, embodying ambition, learned this he decided to Become a Real Boy by hunting down and absorbing his "siblings." Thus was born the Meta, the Big Bad of Reconstruction.
- Some of them are characters at the end of the Chaos Timeline.
- Every conceivable kind of AI is in Orion's Arm, somewhere. Enough said.
- The Wanderer's Library story The Cafe.
- Many principal characters of On the Shoulders of Giants are AIs, including a an ordained rabbi, a Shell-Shocked Veteran and a United States Senator.
- Starwalker is a Web Serial Novel as told from the ship's AI.
- Dragon from the web serial Worm is an artificial intelligence who, on top of being extremely intelligent and capable of performing hundreds of tasks at one time, became sentient enough to have a "trigger event" and develop paranormal powers of invention and technological ability, something previously limited to humans.
- Gadgeteer Genius Basil from Brennus created an AI. He is not her father, despite her use of the word!
- Ask Brainy Twilight has the titular brain in a jar make an AI to run her old body. She names it Sparks and treats it like a daughter.
- In Transformers: Robots in Disguise, the Autobot base is run by T-AI, Tactical Artificial Intelligence (pronounced 'tie.') She is completely sentient and creates a hologram of a teenage girl. Of course, since the main cast is sentient robots, just what level of robo-life form she is and whether or not she has a spark is a good question, though the Autobots treat her like an equal.
- XANA from Code Lyoko.
- The Great Computer from Once Upon a Time... Space
- "Blondie24", the screen name of a program which played checkers on the Internet. An example of both artificial neural networks and evolutionary algorithms, Blondie24's capability was improved by having multiple instances of the program, all slightly different, play against one another; by weeding out the losing versions and repeating the process with the winning versions, the neural net at the core of the program developed what was eventually a highly skilled checkers game. The important point is that this all occurred without any human input beyond the rules of the game and the conditions in which the program evolved — and, of course, the results of games played against humans online, which were treated exactly the same as games played against other versions of the program; instead of being painstakingly modified by programmers to get better at the game, the program was simply taught the rules and left to learn by experience, in much the same way human players develop greater skill. (It eventually got good enough to beat "Chinook", which was considered the best entirely human-written checkers program of its time.) This technique in theory could lead to true thinking AI in real life; the biggest problem is, we don't have computers powerful enough for that — after all, natural intelligence is implemented on a platform (the squishy stuff between your ears) many orders of magnitude smaller and more complex than the most powerful computers we've ever managed to build.
- Another real-life computer system which is often mistaken for a type of artificial intelligence was IBM's Deep Thought, named after a world-girdling supercomputer AI from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; while its chess game was highly competent in practice, this was accomplished largely by the technique of parallelism; that is, Deep Thought simultaneously evaluated up to half a billion potential moves per turn, allowing it to look ahead six or more moves from every possible board position, then selected the one which would result in the most advantageous situation for its next turn. While very complex and impressive from a technological standpoint, this is a relatively simple process based on human-provided information about which chess moves are better than others, and it was largely the difference in speed between human reasoning and Deep Thought's processing that gave the impression of artificial intelligence; Blondie24 actually serves as a better example of what might in the real world be known as "AI".
- Let's say that whether or not things like Deep Thought are examples of "true" AI is an issue of contention even amongst researchers in the field and leave it at that.
- Deep Blue, IBM's successor to Deep Thought, which was famed for beating Garry Kasparov in a six-game match (2-1, with three draws). Unfortunately for anyone interested in arguing that this shows true artificial intelligence, the defeat would not have occurred had Deep Blue not gained the benefit of human intervention at every stage in what was essentially a rigged match — from the historical grandmaster games which were digested to provide much of its move-evaluation capabilities, to the hand-written and heavily fine-tuned evaluation function it used to examine the possibilities for future turns, to the three grandmasters who provided the machine a predetermined library of opening strategies, to the fine-tuning of the machine's strategies between games in the match — tellingly, this last was necessary in order to prevent Deep Blue from falling for the same tricks over and over (admittedly, this is just a more roundabout way of doing what a human player would do...). Again, while Deep Blue was a technically very impressive machine and did great things for IBM's public-relations department and stock value, Blondie24 is a much more worthy example of something which could accurately be called "AI".
- Also, whether there was any real cheating or not, the fact remains that 2-1 with three draws means the machine, an entire supercomputer devoted entirely to playing chess, won just by the skin of its teeth, which if anything is proof that humans can beat machines.
- IBM's latest project, Watson, can play Jeopardy Well.
- What is, "curbstomped Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter?"
- Watson was a computer designed by IBM specifically to play Jeopardy. Its "knowledge" was all self-contained (i.e. it couldn't look up answers it didn't know on the internet) and it was only provided with raw data, not the links between the data (think Wikipedia without intrawiki links) and had to figure those out itself. The only major concession made for gameplay was it was provided the answers as a raw text input at the same time the contestants could read the clue on the screens (so it didn't do the speech-to-text or character recognition from the screens). Amusingly enough though, it did mechanically push the same buzzer the contestants used.
- A subversion: Joseph Weizenbaum's ELIZA and its relatives and descendants (with names like Parry, SHRDLU, and Emacs doctor) all do reasonably creditable jobs of carrying on a conversation, despite having no actual intelligence to speak of. The ensuing "ELIZA effect" was a common reaction to such programs in which people treated the program as a real conversation partner. (To see exactly how easy it really is to simulate a Turing Test-ready conversation, check out this 8-bit era BASIC source code.)
- Ray Kurzweil describes "narrow" A.I. as computer programs which route electronic messages, assist in product design, solve mathematical formulae, do voice recognition, perform search functions, etc.
- All the way back in the 1950s, we had logic-based AIs such as "Logic Theorist", which successfully proved 38 of the first 52 theorems of Principia Mathematica, with one of the proofs being more elegant than the one presented within the volume.
- In the late 1970s and early 1980s, mathematician Douglas Lenat created the artificial intelligence software "Eurisko". Derived from Lenat's earlier project 'AM' (Automated Mathematician), Eurisko was capable not only of employing heuristics to guide its reasoning, but also of employing metaheuristics to allow it to modify its own heuristics and even create new ones of its own. Aided by Eurisko, Lenat was able to dominate all unaided human opposition in the Traveller: TCS tournament in 1981 and 1982, and only stopped competing once tournament officials threatened to shut down the tournament permanently if Eurisko won again.