I don't understand why people seem to associate artificial intelligence with a sort of duplication of the human brain. It just seems like the wrong way to go about it, to me. I mean, why do we need a computer to duplicate a human brain? We can do that ourselves with some DNA and an egg.

The turing test shows us that this is not the only way. You would have the intelligent machine and a human being, both hooked up to some sort of I/O mechanism. You would then alternate asking the two subjects questions. If you could not tell which one was the man, and which was the machine, then you had an AI on your hands.

People have been able to get close to that definition of intelligence for a long time with simple programs. Anyone remember Eliza, the computer therapist? You would ask her questions, or say some things about yourself, and she would analyze keywords in you statement, do a little randomization, and throw a response back at you.

Apperently, back at MIT where this program originated, people began to actually talk to her about their problems, as if she was a real therapist. If a program like this was written with proper complexity (maybe add in some heuristics and a little data storage so she'll customize herself to your personality and emotional needs), would it really be any less effective than an actual therapist? Or is it really the empathic effect of sitting next to a caring fellow human that benefits us the most?

My point here, I guess, it that intelligence is in the eye of the beholder. If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, does it matter if it's not really a duck? In addition to that, if we're going to be synthesizing a duck, why not take that as an opportunity to improve upon the basic model?

Maybe what the human race needs is a little bit of redesigning. A version 2.0, if you will. Is'nt that what evolution's all about? It doesnt look like we're going to change much physically anymore. The true human evolution is in machines. We're creating tools that can do things we could never hope to with our flesh. The meat is obsolete. Bring on the silicon.