A Social Study of Robotics
2. Workers and Automata
2.1 Artificial Intelligence and Industrial Automation
The concept of ‘artificial intelligence’ is a vast one which includes all the forms of thinking produced by artificial machines. The concept of AI is therefore strongly related to that of automation, that is, of machines behaving autonomously, albeit in response to certain inputs and in the presence of programs. Any inorganic machine conceived and construed by humans – be they desktop computers or semi-mobile robots, dishwashers or power looms – and able to carry out the tasks that humans carry out using their own intelligence is an automaton. In other words, “a certain category of sets of elements are ‘universal’ in the sense that one can assemble such elements into machines with which one can realize functions which are arbitrary to within certain reasonable restrictions” (Minsky 1956). Given this definition, it follows that all functioning automata are endowed with a certain degree of artificial intelligence. The refrigerator is less intelligent than a PC, in more or less the same way as an insect is less intelligent than a vertebrate. And some do not hesitate to compare the various forms of organic and inorganic intelligence (Moravec 1997).
Automation is therefore not something new that has arisen in the last few years, but the fruit of a long and slow historical process that can be taken back to the mechanical calculators of Charles Babbage or Blaise Pascal, if not all the way to Heron’s automata. Therefore whoever has a more revolutionary...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.