Introduction to AI - Worksheet 1

In these exercises we are going to explore the concept of intelligence, and see how a spam filtering task involves, or fails to involve, intelligence.


Let's start by trying to define intelligence. Can you think of a general definition of intelligence? Does your definition provide for a test that could be used to distinguish intelligent creatures from non-intelligent ones? Is it important that your definition of intelligence is testable? If your definition is not testable, do you think it would be possible to give a testable general definition of intelligence?


One school of thought, the multiple intelligence theory of human intelligence, claims that what we call intelligence is in fact made up of many different and separate abilities. One such ability is spatial reasoning, the ability to deal with information presented in two or three dimensions. Map reading is a task that uses spatial intelligence. We would expect people who are better at reading maps to have higher spatial intelligence, all other things being equal. What do you think are some other aspects of human intelligence? Try to list about ten of them.


Now consider the task of filtering spam email. Most likely you have received some. Below we have three example spam emails. Consider how an intelligent being could tell that these emails are spam. What aspects of intelligence are needed for this task? Try to pin-point specific parts of each email that invoke each aspect of intelligence you have identified. Are there any aspects of intelligence that aren't used? Does this mean spam filters could not benefit from all aspects of intelligence, or is it simply that the three emails we have attached don't cover all the aspects you have identified?

From: "john kuku" <>
To: <>
Subject: Good day.
Content-Type: multipart/mixed; 
Importance: normal
MIME-Version: 1.0
Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2004 17:16:56 +0200 (CEST)

-latinmail.com_ltwebml03.localdomain_28e8ada0a75fc533676332584100f1d8 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable


My dear,

I am Dr.John Kuku, the director in charge of auditing and accounting se= ction of Credit Bank Benin republic in West Africa with due respect and= regard. I have decided to contact you on a business transaction that w= ill be very beneficial to both of us at the end of the transaction.

During our investigation and auditing in this bank, my department came = across a very huge sum of money belonging to a deceased person who died= on 30th January 2000 on Kenya Airways with aircraft Airbus 310-304 at = location Abidjan, Ivory Coast, with registration number 5Y-BEN while tr= aveling with his entire family, his wife, two children and a maid on a = festive visit to Abidjan and since his untimely death the funds has bee= n dormant in his account with this Bank without any claim of the fund i= n our custody either from his family or relation before our discovery t= o this development.

Although personally, I kept this information secret within myself and p= artners to enable the whole plans and idea be Profitable and successful= during the time of execution. The said amount was USD\16.4M (16.4)Sixt= een Million Four Hundred Thousand united states dollars).

As it may interest you to know, I got your impressive information throu= gh my very good friend who works in the computer department of the fede= ral ministry of information and tourism here in Cotonou-Benin Republic = during my search for a foreign partner to execute this transaction. She= is the one who recommended your person to me to be viable and capable = to champion a business of such magnitude without any problem.=20

Meanwhile the whole arrangement to put claim over this fund as the bona= fide next of kin to the deceased and get the required approval and tra= nsfer this money to a foreign account has been put in place, all direct= ives and needed information will be relayed to you as soon as you indic= ate your interest and willingness to assist us and also benefit yoursel= f to this great business opportunity.

In fact i could have done this deal alone but because of my position in= this country as a civil servant, we are not allowed to operate a forei= gn account and would eventually raise an eye brow on my side during the= time of transfer because i work in this bank.=20 This is the actual reason why it will require a second party or fellow = who will forward claims as the next of kin to the Bank and also present= a foreign account where he will need the money to be re-transferred in= to on his request as it may be after due verification and clarification= by the correspondent branch of the bank where the whole money will be = remitted from to your own designated bank account.

May i at this point emphasize that this transaction is 100% risk free a= s i have made all arrangements for a successful transaction as an insid= er of the bank before contacting you.

On a smooth conclusion of this transaction, you will be entitled to 30%= of the total sum as gratification, while 10% will be set aside to take= care of any expenses that may arise during the time of transfer like t= elephone bills, fax and our travel tickets to come over to your country= for the sharing of the fund while 60% will be for me and my partners. Please you have been advised to keep this a top secret as we are still = in service and intend to retire from service after we conclude this dea= l with you.

I will be monitoring the whole situation here in this bank until you co= nfirm the money in your account and ask us to come down to your country= for subsequent sharing of the fund according to percentages previously= indicated and further investment either in your country or any country= you will advice us to invest in.

All other necessary information will be sent to you on your acceptance = to champion this transaction with me.=20

I suggest you get back to me as soon as possible stating your wish in t= his deal. Yours Faithfully,


=A1S=E9 listo! Contrata el antivirus /?idpers=3D109&track=3D13920 -latinmail.com_ltwebml03.localdomain_28e8ada0a75fc533676332584100f1d8-

---------------------------------------- SECOND EXAMPLE ---------------------------------------- Return-Path: Delivery-Date: Sat, 18 Sep 2004 14:12:55 +0100 Received: from by (Exim 3.11 #1) with esmtp id 1C8f1L-00023V-00 for; Sat, 18 Sep 2004 14:12:55 +0100 Received: from ([]) by with esmtp (Exim 4.24) id 1C8f1x-0007LJ-0V for; Sat, 18 Sep 2004 14:13:33 +0100 Received: from ( []) by (v98.19) with ESMTP id RELAYIN1-2414c347630f; Sat, 18 Sep 2004 09:13:26 -0400 Received: from ( []) by (8.12.11/8.12.11) with SMTP id i8IDDGAo006476 for <>; Sat, 18 Sep 2004 09:13:17 -0400 Date: Sat, 18 Sep 2004 12:56:57 +0000 From: Barclays IBank service <> Subject: BarcIays lBank Account Verification To: "M.Kerber" <> References: <> In-Reply-To: <> Message-ID: <> Reply-To: Barclays IBank <> Sender: Barclays IBank service <> MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/html; charset=koi8-r Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit X-Scanned-By: MIMEDefang 2.43 X-Apparently-From: X-AOL-IP:

<html> <head></head> <body> Dear customer!<br><br> Please read this important message about<br> security. We are working very hard to protect<br> our customers against fraud. Your account has<br> been randomly chosen for verification. This is<br> requested to us to verify that you are the real<br> owner of this account. All you need to do is to<br> click on the link below. You will see a verification<br> page. Please complete all fields that you will see<br> and submit the form. You will be redirected to Barclays<br> IBank home page after verification. Please note that if<br> you don't verify your ownership of account in 24 hours we<br> will block it to protect your money. Thank you.<br> <a href="">,,logon,00.html</a> </body> </html>

---------------------------------------- THIRD EXAMPLE ---------------------------------------- X-Apparently-To: via; Tue, 28 Sep 2004 00:13:50 -0700 X-YahooFilteredBulk: X-Originating-IP: [] Return-Path: <> Received: from (HELO ( by with SMTP; Tue, 28 Sep 2004 00:13:50 -0700 From: "Need a Laptop" <> To: <> Subject: -Back to School Special Get a Free Dell Notebook Date: Tue, 28 Sep 2004 00:14:46 -0800 MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-type: text/html; charset="ISO-8859-1" Content-transfer-encoding: 7bit Content-Length: 881

<html> </head> <body> <p align="center"> <a href=" vl=r24a836b727zw&go=p979386d7977iu&zy=pkx&winner&_m01"> <img border="0" src="" width="500" height="142"></a> <p align="center"> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <img border="0" src="" width="626" height="77"> <p align="center"> <a href=" x=yk6816f767d7gp&vl=r24a836b727zw&go=p979386d7977iu&zy=pkx&winner&_m01"> <img border="0" src="" width="502" height="59"></a> <br><img src=" x=yk6816f767d7gp&vl=r24a836b727zw&go=p979386d7977iu&zy=pkx" border=0> </body> </html>

© Noel Welsh & Manfred Kerber, 2004, Introduction to AI
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