The Return of Artificial Intelligence Reading Answers
The Academic passage ‘The Return of Artificial Intelligence’ is a reading passage that appeared in an IELTS Test. Read the passage below and answer questions 27-40. Beyond the questions, you will find the answers along with the location of the answers in the passage and the keywords that help you find out the answers.
The Return of Artificial Intelligence
Answer questions 27-40 based on your reading of the passage below.
It is becoming acceptable again to talk of computers performing human tasks such as problem-solving and pattern-recognition.
After years in the wilderness, the term ‘artificial intelligence’ (AI) seems poised to make a comeback. AI 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 a public debate about AI, 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 AI 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 AI has moved on from being seen as an over-ambitious and under-achieving field of research.
The 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; AI unified the field in name only. But it was a term that captured the public imagination.
Most researchers agree that AI peaked around 1985. A public reared on science-fiction movies and excited by the growing power of computers had high expectations. For years, AI 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 software 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 Leaky, a researcher at Indiana University. ‘Then when people realised these were hard problems, there was retrenchment. By the late 1980s, the term AI 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.
Ironically, in some ways, AI 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 AI in the first plate. ‘If it works, it can’t be AI; as Dr Leaky characterises it. The effect of repeatedly moving the goal-posts in this way was that AI came to refer to ‘blue-sky’ research that was still years away from commercialisation. Researchers joked that AI 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 AI. Yet all three once fell well within the umbrella of AI research.
But 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 AI is itself an interesting development; says Dr Leaky.
Another factor that may boost the prospects for AI 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 AI problems. That may mean that more artificial intelligence companies will start to emerge to meet this challenge.
The 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 2001. 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 AI 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.
The reading passage 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. You may use any letter more than once.
- HowAI might have a military impact
- The fact that AI brings together a range of separate research areas
- The reason why AI has become a common topic of conversation again
- How AI could help deal with difficulties related to the amount of information available electronically.
- Where the expression AI was first used
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage?
In boxes 32-37 on your answer sheet, write
TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this
- The researchers who launched the field of AI had worked together on other projects in the past.
- In 1985, AI was at its lowest point.
- Research into agent technology was more costly than research into neural networks.
- Applications of AI have already had a degree of success.
- The problems waiting to be solved by AI have not changed since 1967.
- The film 2001: A Space Odyssey reflected contemporary ideas about the potential of AI computers.
Choose the correct answer out of A, B, C or D.
Write your answers in boxes 38-40 on your answer sheet.
- According to researchers, in the late 1980s, there was a feeling that
- A general theory of AI would never be developed
- Original expectations of AI may not have been justified
- A wide range of applications was close to fruition
- More powerful computers were the key to further progress
- In Dr Leake’s opinion, the reputation of AI suffered as a result of
- changing perceptions
- premature implementation
- poorly planned projects
- commercial pressures
- The prospects for AI may benefit from
- existing AI applications
- new business models
- orders from Internet-only companies
- new investment priorities
The answers to these questions are given below with their expectations.
|Question Number||Answer||Keywords||Location of Keywords|
|27||E||HNC claim, system, cluster, 30 processors, spot camouflaged vehicles, battlefield||Paragraph E; lines 3-4|
|28||B||The expression, informative name research, encompassed, disparate fields, operations research, cybernetics, logic, computer science||Paragraph B; lines 3-5|
|29||A||re-entered public consciousness, release, Al, movie, robot boy||Paragraph A; lines 2-3|
|30||F||information overload, growth of e-mail, explosion, number of web pages, plenty of opportunities, new technologies, filter, categorise information||Paragraph F; lines 3-5|
|31||B||field was launched, term ‘artificial intelligence’ coined, conference, 1956||Paragraph B; line 1|
|33||FALSE||Most researchers agree, AI peaked, 1985||Paragraph C; line 1|
|35||TRUE||Ironically, some ways AI, victim, own success||Paragraph D; line 1|
|36||FALSE||Marvin Minsky, 1967, within, generation, problem, artificial intelligence, substantially solved, proved, false dawn||Paragraph C; lines 3-5; line 6|
|37||TRUE||The 1969 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, featured, intelligent computer, HAL 9000||Paragraph G; line 1|
|38||B||1980s, AI, avoided, researchers, align, sub-disciplines, neural networks, agent technology, case-based reasoning||Paragraph C; last 3 lines|
|39||A||undue optimism, early 1980s, David Leaky, Indiana University, people realised, hard problems, retrenchment||Paragraph C; lines 7-9|
|40||D||Another factor, boost, prospects, AI, near future, investors, looking for firms||Paragraph F; lines 1-2|
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