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From: Robert S. Thau (
Date: Fri May 12 2000 - 09:58:39 PDT

Tom Sweetnam writes:
> When does machine-made intelligence cross the line from "artificial" to
> something else entirely? I remember reading last year about a new and
> seemingly off-the-wall theory from MIT about computers now being so
> sophisticated in engineered "intuition", that some will actually respond to
> the mood or frame of mind of their users. Even though I'm from California, I
> won't chalk up such phenomena to "karma', I'll assume instead that if such a
> thing is valid, it probably has to do with electromagnetic fields.

It sounds like some reporter was awfully confused. There is research
in "affective computing" at the media lab, and robotics research in a
similar spirit at the AI lab, both of which seek to build computer
systems which detect the mood of the user and respond appropriately;
however, no one at either lab would responsibly claim that computers
or software have somehow evolved this capability without the knowledge
of the people who build them. If they had, then quite a few Ph.D.
students at both labs would have had to do a whole lot less work.


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