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Understanding New Media

Extending Marshall McLuhan – Second Edition


Robert K. Logan

Marshall McLuhan made many predictions in his seminal 1964 publication, Understanding Media: Extensions of Man. Among them were his predictions that the Internet would become a «global village,» making us more interconnected than television; the closing of the gap between consumers and producers; the elimination of space and time as barriers to communication; and the melting of national borders. He is also famously remembered for coining the expression «the medium is the message.» These predictions form the genesis of this updated volume by Robert K. Logan, a friend and colleague who worked with McLuhan. In this second edition of Understanding New Media Logan expertly updates McLuhan’s Understanding Media to analyze the «new media» McLuhan foreshadowed and yet was never able to analyze or experience. The book is designed to reach a new generation of readers as well as appealing to scholars and students who are familiar with Understanding Media.
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Chapter 49. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Expert Systems


← 390 | 391 →

· 49 ·


Content and extension: Artificial intelligence (AI) and expert systems extend the capability of computers through programs that solve specific problems automatically that would take the unaided human mind a long time to solve, or possibly not solve at all.

Cascade: The cascade of AI is from the mind of the creator/programmer to a software program to a computer and from there to the outputted solution.

LOM: AI enhances problem solving, obsolesces human judgment, retrieves the golem, and reverses into pure left-brain reductionist thinking.

“Men will set the goals, formulate the hypotheses, determine the criteria, and perform the evaluations. Computing machines will do the routinizable work that must be done to prepare the way for insights and decisions in technical and scientific thinking.”

— Licklider (1960) ← 391 | 392 →

49.1  What Is AI?

AI or artificial intelligence has two principal meanings. One meaning, sometimes referred to as weak AI, is the use of computers to automatically perform tasks requiring human intelligence. In a certain sense all computers exhibit a form of weak AI including the lowly calculator since it takes human intelligence to perform arithmetic calculations. But the term of “weak AI” or “machine intelligence” is reserved for more sophisticated tasks where a certain amount of judgment is required. A couple of examples cited by Wikipedia are “scheduling resources such as military units, answering questions about...

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