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Development of AI theory
Much of the (original) focus of artificial intelligence research draws from an experimental approach to psychology, and emphasizes what may be called linguistic intelligence (best exemplified in the Turing test).

Approaches to artificial intelligence that do not focus on linguistic intelligence include robotics and collective intelligence approaches, which focus on active manipulation of an environment, or consensus decision making, and draw from biology and political science when seeking models of how "intelligent" behavior is organized.

Artificial intelligence theory also draws from animal studies, in particular with insects, which are easier to emulate as robots (see artificial life), as well as animals with more complex cognition. AI researchers argue that animals, which are simpler than humans, ought to be considerably easier to mimic. But satisfactory computational models for animal intelligence are not available.

Seminal papers advancing the concept of machine intelligence include A Logical Calculus of the Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity (1943), by Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts, and On Computing Machinery and Intelligence (1950), by Alan Turing, and Man-Computer Symbiosis by J.C.R. Licklider. See cybernetics and Turing test for further discussion.

There were also early papers which denied the possibility of machine intelligence on logical or philosophical grounds such as Minds, Machines and Gdel (1961) by John Lucas.

With the development of practical techniques based on AI research, advocates of AI have argued that opponents of AI have repeatedly changed their position on tasks such as computer chess or speech recognition that were previously regarded as "intelligent" in order to deny the accomplishments of AI. They point out that this moving of the goalposts effectively defines "intelligence" as "whatever humans can do that machines cannot".

John von Neumann (quoted by E.T. Jaynes) anticipated this in 1948 by saying, in response to a comment at a lecture that it was impossible for a machine to think: "You insist that there is something a machine cannot do. If you will tell me precisely what it is that a machine cannot do, then I can always make a machine which will do just that!". Von Neumann was presumably alluding to the Church-Turing thesis which states that any effective procedure can be simulated by a (generalized) computer.

In 1969 McCarthy and Hayes started the discussion about the frame problem with their essay, "Some Philosophical Problems from the Standpoint of Artificial Intelligence".

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