Forbes magazine's website recently had a report on AI, artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence has been a goal for many a scientist exploring the role of computers and robots in the modern world. The term was coined more than 50 years ago by John McCarthy. McCarthy first used it in a 1955 proposal for a 1956 Dartmouth Summer Research Conference. The conference was devoted exclusively to the topic, and the development of AI has been in the works ever since.
To learn more about AI, look for Lee Gutkind's Almost Human: Making Robots Think [629.892 GUT]. To see how Hollywood approaches the subject, borrow AI: Artificial Intelligence [DVD AI] or The Matrix [DVD MAT].