It is becoming acceptable again to talk of computers performing human tasks such as problem-solving and pattern-recognition
AAfter years in the wilderness, the term 'artificial intelligence' (Al) seems poised to make a comeback. Al was big in the 1980s but vanished in the 1990s. It re-entered public consciousness with the release of Al, a movie about a robot boy. This has ignited public debate about Al, but the term is also being used once more within the computer industry. Researchers, executives and marketing people are now using the expression without irony or inverted commas. And it is not always hype. The term is being applied, with some justification, to products that depend on technology that was originally developed by Al researchers. Admittedly, the rehabilitation of the term has a long way to go, and some firms still prefer to avoid using it. But the fact that others are starting to use it again suggests that Al has moved on from being seen as an over- ambitious and under-achieving field of research.
BThe field was launched, and the term 'artificial intelligence' coined, at a conference in 1956 by a group of researchers that included Marvin Minsky, John McCarthy, Herbert Simon and Alan Newell, all of whom went on to become leading figures in the field. The expression provided An attractive but informative name for a research programme that encompassed such previously disparate fields as operations research, cybernetics, logic and computer science. The goal they shared was an attempt to capture or mimic human abilities using machines. That said, different groups of researchers attacked different problems, from speech recognition to chess playing, in different ways; Al unified the field in name only. But it was a term that captured the public imagination.
B 1956年，一组包括Marvin Minsky、John McCarthy、Herbert Simon和Alan Newell在内的研究人员在一次大会上创造了“人工智能”这一名词，并开创了这一研究领域。这几位研究人员后来都成了这一领域的领军人物。这个研究领域涵盖了先前几个毫不相关的领域，如工序研究、控制论、逻辑和计算机科学。而人工智能一词为这个研究领域起了一个吸引人而又有实质内涵的名字。这些研究的共同目标就是试图用机器来模拟或再现人类的能力。说到这，需要指出的是，不同的研究小组用不同的方法解决不同的问题，包括从语音识别到下棋等众多方面，人工智能只是在名字上将这个领域统一了起来，但这个词却引发了公众的无限遐想。
CMost researchers agree that Al peaked around 1985. A public reared on science-fiction movies and excited by the growing power of computers had high expectations. For years, Al researchers had implied that a breakthrough was just around the corner. Marvin Minsky said in 1967 that within a generation the problem of creating 'artificial intelligence' would be substantially solved. Prototypes of medical-diagnosis programs and speech recognition appeared to be making progress. It proved to be a false dawn. Thinking computers and household robots failed to materialise, and a backlash ensued. 'There was undue optimism in the early 1980s; says David Leake, a researcher at Indiana University. 'Then when people realised these were hard problems, there was retrenchment. By the late 1980s, the term Al was being avoided by many researchers, who opted instead to align themselves with specific sub-disciplines such as neural networks, agent technology, case-based reasoning, and so on.'
C 大多数研究人员都认为1985年是人工智能的鼎盛时期。由科幻电影培育起来的、对计算机日益增强的能力激动不已的公众，对人工智能抱着很高的期望。多年来，人工智能的研究人员一直暗示成功近在咫尺。1967年，Marvin Minsky曾说，建立人工智能的实质性问题在一代人的时间里就将得以解决。医疗诊断程序和语音识别软件的雏形似乎都在取得进展。但最终这一切却成了一场空欢喜。有思维能力的计算机和家庭机器人都没能问世，紧接着又出现了强烈反对的舆论。印第安纳人学的研究员David Leake说：“20世纪80年代早期的人们是过于乐观了。此后人们意识到这些问题并不好解决，于是就纷纷退出。到了20世纪80年代晚期，许多研究人员都避免使用人工智能这个词，转而称自己从事的是一些具体分支学科的研究，如神经网络、智能主体技术和个案推理等等。”
DIronically, in some ways Al was a victim of its own success. Whenever an apparently mundane problem was solved, such as building a system that could land an aircraft unattended, the problem was deemed not to have been Al in the first place. 'If it works, it can't be Al' as Dr Leake characterises it. The effect of repeatedly moving the goal-posts in this way was that Al came to refer to 'blue-sky' research that was still years away from commercialisation. Researchers joked that Al stood for 'almost implemented'. Meanwhile, the technologies that made it onto the market, such as speech recognition, language translation and decision-support software, were no longer regarded as Al. Yet all three once fell well within the umbrella of Al research.
EBut the tide may now be turning, according to Dr Leake. HNC Software of San Diego, backed by a government agency, reckon that their new approach to artificial intelligence is the most powerful and promising approach ever discovered. HNC claim that their system, based on a cluster of 30 processors, could be used to spot camouflaged vehicles on a battlefield or extract a voice signal from a noisy background - tasks humans can do well, but computers cannot. 'Whether or not their technology lives up to the claims made for it, the fact that HNC are emphasising the use of Al is itself an interesting development' says Dr Leake.
E 而据Leake博士所说，现在这种趋势可能要开始扭转了。圣地亚哥的HNC软件得到了某个政府机构的支持，这一软件的研究人员认为他们处理人工智能的新方法是迄今为止所发现的最有效、最具前景的方法。HNC称，他们这一由30个处理器支持的系统可以在战场上发现伪装的车辆或从嘈杂的环境中提取某一声音信号。这些任务原来都是人可以做到、但计算机做不到的。Leake博士说：“无论他们的技术能否达到他们所宣称的水准， HNC强调自己在使用人工智能技术本身就是一个颇有意思的进展。”
FAnother factor that may boost the prospects for Al in the near future is that investors are now looking for firms using clever technology, rather than just a clever business model, to differentiate themselves. In particular, the problem of information overload, exacerbated by the growth of e-mail and the explosion in the number of web pages, means there are plenty of opportunities for new technologies to help filter and categorise information - classic Al problems. That may mean that more artificial intelligence companies will start to emerge to meet this challenge.
GThe 1969 film, 2001'A Space Odyssey, featured an intelligent computer called HAL 9000. As well as understanding and speaking English, HAL could play chess and even learned to lipread. HAL thus encapsulated the optimism of the 1960s that intelligent computers would be widespread by 200 I. But 2001 has been and gone, and there is still no sign of a HAL-like computer. Individual systems can play chess or transcribe speech, but a general theory of machine intelligence still remains elusive. It may be, however, that the comparison with HAL no longer seems quite so important, and Al can now be judged by what it can do, rather than by how well it matches up to a 30-year-old science-fiction film. 'People are beginning to realise that there are impressive things that these systems can do' says Dr Leake hopefully.
G 1969年一部名为《2001太空漫游》的电影，主要描述了一个叫HAL 9000的智能计算机的故事。HAL除了能懂英语和说英语之外，还可以下棋甚至通过观察人的嘴唇动作来理解话意。因此HAL集中体现了20世纪60年代的乐观情绪，认为到了2001年，智能计算机将得到广泛应用。但2001年已成为过去，HAL那样的智能计算机仍然没有丝毫出现的迹象。单独的系统可以下棋或转换语音，但是仍然没有一套关于机器智能的宏观理论。或许，与HAL之间的比较已变得不那么重要，人工智能可以凭借自己的作为得到公正的评判，而无需与一个30多年前的科幻电影中的人工智能机器进行比照。Leake博士满怀希望地说：“人们开始意识到人工智能系统是可以做出许多出色的工作的。”
Reading Passage 3 has seven paragraphs, A-G.
Which paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter A-G in boxes 27-31 on your answer sheet.
NB You may use any letter more than once.
|27.how AI might have a military impact|
|28.the fact that AI brings together a range of separate research areas|
|29.the reason why AI has become a common topic of conversation again|
|30.how AI could help deal with difficulties related to the amount of information available electronically|
|31.where the expression A1 was first used|