Robert Kowalski, Department of Computing, Imperial College London
Draft Book: Computational Logic and Human Life – How to be Artificially Intelligent
to be completed June 2010 and published by Cambridge University Press
Extract from the Preface
The mere possibility of Artificial Intelligence (AI) – of machines that can think and act as intelligently as humans – generates strong emotions. While some of its enthusiasts are excited by the thought that one day machines may become more intelligent than people, many of its critics view such a prospect with horror.
Although the applications of Computational Logic in AI require the use of mathematical notation, its human applications do not. As a consequence, I have written the main part of this book informally, to reach as wide an audience as possible. Because human thinking is also the subject of study in many other fields, I have drawn upon related studies in Cognitive Psychology, Linguistics, Philosophy, Law, Management Science and English Composition.
Because Computational Logic has so many applications and so many relations with other fields, the ideal, ultimate use of this book would be as an introductory text in an undergraduate degree course on practical thinking. Such a course would combine the traditional virtues of a liberal arts education with the argumentation skills of analytic philosophy, the rigours of scientific method and the modern benefits of information technology. It would provide the student with the transferable thinking and communication skills needed not only for more specialised studies, but also for problems that do not fall into neatly classified areas.
Perhaps one day, an educational institution will make room for such a degree course focussing on how to think. In the meanwhile, this book can be used as a supplement to more conventional courses. For those who have already completed their formal education, it can provide a glimpse into a possible future world.