Is artificialis [artificiosa] intellegentia the best equivalent? Would the phrase have been understood by Cicero in the sense intended? Even intellegentia ficticia seems to me to be meaningless in Latin. I am aware of the arguments about exactly how to define AI but a definition like ‘a machine that has some of the qualities that the human mind has’ will serve. One attempt at translation I have seen is machina tanquam cogitans. This is a start but have colleagues any better suggestions? Here is a specimen sentence, based on what happened to a friend with a benign brain tumour:- The surgeon removed a lot of the brain tumour using AI’. Would something like ‘chirurgus multum tumoris cerebralis exsecuit, machina quasi mente praedita utendo’ do?

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    IMHO, the concept was as meaningless as it can be before Turing coined and defined it. A literal translation isn't far off.
    – Rafael
    Apr 19, 2022 at 17:30
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    Machine intelligence might be a better way to say it
    – user10919
    Apr 21, 2022 at 18:59

1 Answer 1


I would use ratio artificiosa if I was trying to model Cicero, because those are the words he uses. For example, he has an essay on "artificial memory" in which he uses the word artificiosa.

ratio (reasoning) is the right choice for intelligence. The word intelligentia is not used significantly by Cicero, but he frequently uses the word ratio to mean what we would refer to as intelligence, the ability to reason and draw conclusions.

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    Cicero has an essay about artificial memory? Which essay is that? Nov 2, 2023 at 4:20
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    @SebastianKoppehel Oh, I am thinking of the Rhetorica ad Herennium, so it is actually just attributed to him, but probably not by him. However, he does use the word artificiosa in other essays. For example: "Quae vero aut coniectura explicantur aut eventis animadversa ac notata sunt, ea genera divinandi, ut supra dixi, non naturalia, sed artificiosa dicuntur". De Divitatione. Nov 2, 2023 at 5:30
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    Tyler, I upvoted, but I'd really appreciate (and I think others would, too) that you took the time to add links to source your answers.
    – Rafael
    Nov 2, 2023 at 13:11
  • Ad Herennium, 3, 16-24. See laits.utexas.edu/memoria/Ad_Herennium_Passages.html. “ Sunt igitur duae memoriae: una naturalis, altera artificiosa. Naturalis est ea, quae nostris animis insita est et simul cum cogitatione nata; artificiosa est ea, quam confirmat inductio quaedam et ratio praeceptionis.” Translation into English ibid. by Harry Caplan. Nov 3, 2023 at 13:50

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