A computer would deserve to be called intelligent
if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human. Alan Turing
The Ministry of International Trade and Industry was co-funded by a number of Japanese manufacturers to pursue the fifth generation computer within the Institute for New Generation Computer Technology (ICOT). It would run the project for three years of R&D, then four years to build the components and subsystems and a further three years to prototype the product.
ICOT’s director was Kazuhiro Fuchi. His forty-strong team worked on a large-scale knowledge database to have a system of rapid access using inference programming techniques.
They used high performance workstations running Prolog, a logic programming language developed by French computer scientist Alain Colmerauer, and a parallel processor. It worked on logical inferences at incredible speeds; they claimed it could achieve up to 1G LIPS (logical inferences per second), then 100k LIPS was the norm.
The West was terrified – after all, the Japanese had already readily taken over most of the consumer electronics market. The USA launched the Strategic Computing Initiative; the UK had the Alvey Programme. Europe had ESPRIT and the ECRC in Munich. The buzzwords soon became ‘parallel inference machines’.
The Japanese plan spent $450m without achieving its main goals. This and other equally expensive initiatives certainly contributed to new understanding in many fields but no artificially intelligent computer emerged!
In December 2010 China established a national AI agency to pursue the development of thinking computers.
It also separately awarded a $500k grant to Dr Hugo de Garis to set about developing the first artificial brain at Xiamen University in China
de Garis, born in Australia, is a believer in John Good’s technological singularity – the moment when machines will take over. de Garis suggests that ‘artilects’, derived from the words artificial intellects, will be more intelligent than us and will seek world domination.
‘Humans should not stand in the way of a higher form of evolution. These machines are godlike. It is human destiny to create them.’ de Garis in 1999.
To hasten this moment he has been working with programmable gate arrays that use three-dimensional cellular automata to create neural networks. He then applies genetic algorithms to these devices searching for a method to emulate the way the human brain operates.
‘Twenty years from now, the author envisages the brain builder industry as being one of the world’s top industries, comparable with oil, automobile, and construction.’ de Garis writing in 1996.
Early claims that he would have built a billion-neuron artificial brain by 2001 are clearly embarrassing today, but perhaps with Chinese backing he can move the field forward?
He certainly does not lack ambition, ‘In the coming few decades, the rise of artificial intelligence will be a veritable goldmine for humankind. I predict that by the year 2030, one of the world’s biggest industries will be “artificial brains,” used to control home robots that will be genuinely intelligent and useful.
‘Millions, if not billions, of people will be prepared to spend more money on a household robot than on a car. It is my personal ambition in the next five to 10 years to persuade the federal government in China (where I’m directing the building of China’s first artificial brain) to create a CABA (Chinese Artificial Brain Administration), similar in scope to America’s NASA, consisting of thousands of scientists and engineers, to build artificial brains for the Chinese home robot industry and other applications.’ Quoted from Forbes.com