Artificial Intelligence: Science Fiction or Reality?

It's a topic with-which we're all too familiar, and tends to be one of those "fallback" conversation fillers when we're stuck for something to talk about at a social event, that is, the amazingly rapid pace at which technology is changing.

In 1964, mass availability of television hadn't even had its 21-year christening (having only become truly commercially available around 1948) and Captain James T Kirk was already heartily entertaining us with visions of interstellar travel.