“I was designed to interact with living thinking beings, androids and machines” says the android C-3PO to R2-D2, “and I am a mechanical robot and navigation assistant”, replies R2-D2 in a language with electronic sounds unintelligible to humans, in a scene from the well-known science fiction movie “Star Wars”.Machines communicating with each other and even more outstandingly, communicating with people. Are we far away from that science fiction scene? No, definitely not.

For example, you can nowadays give aloud commands to a cell phone “play this song” or “call a certain person” and the device will proceed by executing the command. Although, certainly the interaction is still limited because if it is commanded “play the song I like the most”, it will not solve the riddle as the “smartphone” is not yet actually a smartphone.

In comparison, if we tell someone close to us who has heard us play some songs: “Let’s see…play the song I like the most”, he/she will surely play the song trying to guess or with much certainty, depending on how well he/she knows us or in other words, depending on how much this person has learned about us based on the songs we play and even more, taking into account other factors such as our emotions and non-verbal expressions of our eyes, mouth, face and body (if we dance, smile, etc., etc.).

In this example, we can clearly differentiate between an automatic response of the “smartphone” device and an intelligent response of a “thinking being”, as the android C-3PO would say.

Without defining yet the concept of “intelligence” we can say that at least in the response of our friend there were three main factors:

Communication. In both cases, whether with the “smartphone” or with the close person, there was a communication using verbal language and air as a medium.

The problem.  From the beginning, an “order-service” type of interaction was established. That is, it can be said that the problem to be solved was “play the song that the person giving the order likes”.

Information analysis. In the case of the “smartphone” the analysis was practically limited to relating the detected voice command to a predetermined action. In the case of the person, there were several kinds of analysis, including a response with probability and statistical calculations, plus a possible “intuition” factor, i.e., there was a highly complex analysis that occurs in seconds.

Can “intelligence” be defined by these factors?

According to Professor Detlef Rost, a German intelligence researcher: “Intelligence is the ability to solve new problems. Learning from experience and using that experience to solve new problems”. (1)

Returning to the previous example, then we can say that indeed:

The “smartphone” did not learn from experience to solve the new problem presented. Therefore, such a device is not intelligent.

The “thinking being”, as the android C-3PO would say, did learn from experience and used that experience to either guess or propose a solution with a high probability of success. Therefore, in the example in question, our friend is “intelligent”.

Imagine intelligent machines!

It would seem impossible to integrate this human capability into a machine, but great advances have already been made in this area that has been called “Artificial Intelligence”, abbreviated “AI” for short.

Since 1997 the story began to change when IBM’s super computer called Deep Blue beat the world super champion Garry Kasparov in a series of chess games, after a year earlier, Kasparov had beaten the machine (2).

In 2011 Watson, IBM’s new Artificial Intelligence platform in the “cloud” (3), beat two champions in the game of “Jeopardy”, a knowledge game with questions on numerous topics such as history, languages, literature, popular culture, fine arts, science, geography and sports (4).

In 2015 the artificial intelligence program “AlphaGo” of the British company DeepMind Technologies (acquired by Google in 2014 for 500 million dollars), beat a renowned professional Go player (Chinese strategy game) and in 2017 beat the number one in the world, Ke Jie.(5).


With Artificial Intelligence the real digital revolution has arrived.

Artificial Intelligence will be the brain of all intelligent systems, from factories, robots and automobiles, to all the devices and artifacts that will flood all aspects of our lives, from health in hospitals and rehabilitation centers to education in schools and homes.

(1) Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/science/human-intelligence-psychology

(2) Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Blue_versus_Garry_Kasparov

(3) IBM: https://www.ibm.com/watson

(4) New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/science/17jeopardy-watson.html

(5) Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AlphaGo


Androides de Star Wars 3-CPO, R2-D2
Dick Thomas Johnson from Tokyo, Japan [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]