Monday, November 14, 2016

"Computation Was Just the Beginning"

"He believed that all kinds of problems could be reduced to the manipulation of symbols and tackled just as though they were mathematical problems. He imagined a kind of alphabet of human thought, whose symbols could be manipulated according to precise, mechanical rules, the work carried out by devices. He called them 'reasoning machines' and envisioned the pursuit we know today as artificial intelligence.
"Once the system was perfected, he believed, humanity would have 'a new kind of tool, a tool that will increase the power of the mind much more than optical lenses helped our eyes, a tool that will be as far superior to microscopes or telescopes as reason is to vision.' We would weigh arguments, he said, 'just as if we had a special kind of balance.'"

Dan Falk in Slate credits Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz as the "man who envisioned the systems and machines that would define the digital revolution."

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