The idea of mechanical objects as intelligent beings is not new. Ancient Greeks, Chinese and Egyptian philosophers, and mathematicians reflected on automatons for centuries. Serious progress in the development of Artificial Intelligence began in the first half of the 20th century. Let’s go through interesting facts about AI step by step.
The Spanish engineer Leonardo Torres y Quevedo demonstrates the first chess-playing machine, capable of king and rook against king endgames without any human intervention in 1914. It is fair to say that this was the world’s first computer game.
In 1921 Czech writer Karel Čapek introduces the word “robot”(robota -work) in his play “Rossum’s Universal Robots”.
In 1929, Makoto Nishimura designs Gakutensoku (Japanese “learning from the laws of nature”) the first robot built in Japan.
“A Logical Calculus of the Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity” was published by Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts in 1943. They discussed networks of artificial “neurons” and how they might perform simple logical functions. That was the first step towards computer-based “neural networks”.
“Programming a Computer for Playing Chess” is the first published article on developing a chess-playing computer program by Claude Shannon in 1950.
In the 1950 paper, “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” Alan Turing proposed “The Imitation Game” .a.k.a. “Turing Test”. “Can machines think?” was the core question of the work.
1951 – Marvin Minsky and Dean Edmunds build SNARC (Stochastic Neural Analog Reinforcement Calculator), the first artificial neural network, using 3000 vacuum tubes to simulate a network of 40 neurons.
1952 – Arthur Samuel develops the first computer checkers-playing program and the first computer program to learn on its own.
In 1956 John McCarthy used the term artificial intelligence for the first time.
1957 Perceptron was developed by Frank Rosenblatt. An electronic device that was constructed in accordance with biological principles and showed an ability to learn. Rosenblatt’s perceptrons were initially simulated on an IBM 704 computer at Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory.
1958 John McCarthy publishes the paper “Programs with Common Sense”. He develops programming language Lisp, the most popular programming language used in artificial intelligence research. Arthur Samuel coins the term machine learning.
1959 John McCarthy and Marvin Minsky found the MIT Artificial Intelligence Project. Allen Newell, Herbert Simon, and J.C. Shaw develop the General Problem Solver (GPS), a program designed to imitate human problem-solving.
1961 “Unimate”, the first industrial robot, start working on an assembly line in a General Motors plant in New Jersey.
1964 Daniel Bobrow published “Natural Language Input for a Computer Problem Solving System”. He develops “STUDENT”, a natural language understanding computer program.
By the middle of the 1960s, research in the U.S. was heavily funded by the Department of Defense. Herbert Simon predicted, “machines will be capable, within twenty years, of doing any work a man can do”.
1965 Joseph Weizenbaum develops “ELIZA”, an interactive program that carries on a dialogue in the English language on any topic.
1966 Shakey the robot is the first general-purpose mobile robot to be able to reason about its own actions.
1968 Terry Winograd develops SHRDLU, an early natural language understanding computer program. The same year, Stanley Kubrik finished “2001: Space Odyssey”. It featuring Hal, an intelligent computer.
1974, The “Lighthill Report,” detailing the disappointments in Artificial Intelligence research. U.S. and British governments cut off exploratory research in AI. It led to the so-called “AI Winter”.
1976 Computer scientist Raj Reddy publishes “Speech Recognition by Machine: A Review” in the Proceedings of the IEEE. It summarizes the early work on Natural Language Processing (NLP).
1981 Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry announced the Fifth Generation Computer Project. The project aimed to develop a platform for AI development and computers.
1986 First driverless car, a Mercedes-Benz van, built at Bundeswehr University in Munich. Supervised by Ernst Dickmanns, it drives up to 55 mph on empty streets.
IT companies are spending billions of dollars a year. Expert systems and an entire industry are known as the Lisp machine market emerges. As computing technology improved, cheaper alternatives emerged and the Lisp machine market collapsed in 1987, causing the “Second AI Winter.”
1997 IBM’s Deep Blue beats world chess champion, Gary Kasparov.
2016 Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo defeats world champion Go player Lee Sedol. The complexity of the ancient Chinese game was seen as a major hurdle to clear in AI.
Artificial intelligence is already part of our lives. Many organizations are implementing AI strategies. Algorithms detect our preferences in movies. Bots suggest words when we type. AI assistants like Siri and Alexa are met with great enthusiasm. Machine learning is predicted to grow by 48% in the automotive industry. Global AI market is booming and it seems “AI Winter” will not return any time soon. We are opening a new chapter of humanity.
Is it really about humanity?