Alan Perlis [@Perlis:1982] wrote, “A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God”. He also wrote, in a letter to Philip Davis, that one of the central dreams of computer science is that “through the performance of computers and their programs we will remove all doubt that there is only a chemical distinction between the living and nonliving world.” To what extent does the progress made so far in artificial intelligence shed light on these issues? Suppose that at some future date, the AI endeavor has been completely successful; that is, we have build intelligent agents capable of carrying out any human cognitive task at human levels of ability. To what extent would that shed light on these issues?
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