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Over sixty years ago, A Dartmouth professor named John McCarthy coined a term that would become an enormously successful, and problematic, marketing slogan: artificial intelligence. The term AI is now ubiquitous in the technology industry. Its use bears little relation to the things with which McCarthy was concerned, and it’s often used to sex-up stuff that has little to with what practitioners of artificial intelligence care about. 

The term as used today is illustrated by the stock photography images of glowing brains that accompany articles, and it evokes in the popular mind visions of the movie The Terminator, of robots that want to kill you or at least take away your job. The term often accompanies various anthropomorphized descriptions, so that AI seems to “know,” to “think.”

All of that is more or less nonsense and has little to do with the history and practice of artificial intelligence.

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Category: Science