(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

In Artificial Intelligence, Margaret Hyde explains from the third-person objective point of view that early computers—the data processors that merely receive, store, and display information—are evolving into artificial brains that can learn, reason, and form conclusions. As scientists work to create these “fifth-generation” computers, they are realizing the complexity of the brain-driven activities of humans. Through a network of billions of neurons, the brain gives a human powers that scientists find amazingly intricate when they try to duplicate them in the sequence and parallelism necessary for programming a computer. The human intellect can store much information and then find relations among seemingly disparate bits of information in order to arrive at conclusions that fit ever-changing circumstances. Computer scientists face the challenge of creating artificial intelligence that is adaptable to such variance. The first three chapters of the book establish the human brain as a pattern for advanced computers.

In the seven chapters that make up Artificial Intelligence, Hyde includes many photographs. Some show the changes in size and shape as computers have evolved. The reduction of computers from the five-ton Mark I of 1944 to much smaller computers occurred chiefly because of the move from vacuum tubes to transistors in silicon chips to operate the off-and-on circuits that are the bases of computer operation. As more transistors...

(The entire section is 532 words.)