Research on artificial intelligence began soon after the development of the modern digital computer in the 1940s. Early investigators quickly recognized the potential of computing devices as a means of automating thought processes.
Over the years, it has been demonstrated that computers can be programmed to carry out very complex tasks--as, for example, discovering proofs for theorems or playing chess--with great proficiency.
The largest computer memories now contain elementary
circuits that are comparable in number to the synaptic connections (about
10 trillion) in the human brain, and they operate at speeds (billions
of operations per second) that are far faster than elementary neural
speeds (which are at most thousands of operations per second).
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