When was artificial intelligence born?
Artificial intelligence (AI) has become an integral part of our daily lives, revolutionizing various industries and shaping the future of technology. But where did it all start?
The origins of artificial intelligence date back to the 1940s and 1950s , with the advent of the first electronic machines and the development of the first AI concepts. In this regard, Alan Turing ‘s 1950 essay “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” laid the groundwork for the field by introducing the Turing test, a method of determining whether a machine can exhibit intelligent behavior indistinguishable from that of a human.
As such, the term “artificial intelligence” was coined by John McCarthy in 1956, during a conference held at Dartmouth College. It was a mythical event and moment. McCarthy, along with Marvin Minsky, Nathaniel Rochester, and Claude Shannon, organized the event in which they proposed that “every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can, in principle, be so accurately described that a machine can be made to simulate it. ” This conference would kick off AI as a formal field of study. Just a few months later, already in 1957, John McCarthy founded, along with Marvin Minsky, the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.Also, some of the early AI projects of the time included Logic Theorist, developed by Allen Newell and Herbert A. Simon, and General Problem Solver , which is considered the first useful AI program, developed in 1959 and whose goal was to create a computer program capable of solving almost any complex problem.
Fathers of Artificial Intelligence
This ‘father’ figure, as we are exploring, we have to divide it into several characters, since it was a few scientists who shaped the field of artificial intelligence. Some of the most influential “Fathers of AI” were:
Alan Turing , British mathematician, logician, and computer scientist, for his work on the Turing Test and his extensive contributions to the development of computing.
John McCarthy, American computer scientist, who we’ve seen credited with coining the term “artificial intelligence” and who also developed LISP, a programming language that became the standard for AI research. McCarthy received the Turing Award in 19791.
Marvin Minsky , American cognitive scientist and computer pioneer, who co-founded the MIT Media Lab and made major contributions to the development of AI theories, such as the development of neural networks and symbolic AI.
Herbert A. Simon and Allen Newell, were American computer scientists who made pioneering contributions to AI research, including the development of the Logical Theorist and the General Problem Solver.
In the 1960s and 1970s , AI research focused on the development of expert systems, which are computer programs designed to mimic the decision-making abilities of a human expert in a specific domain. MYCIN, one of the first expert systems developed by Edward Shortliffe of Stanford University in 1972, was designed to diagnose and recommend treatments for bacterial infections. The success of MYCIN demonstrated the potential of AI to contribute to real-world problem-solving tasks.
We move a little further in time. While expert systems were based on symbolic AI, an alternative approach called connectionism emerged in the 1980s . Connectionism is based on the idea that intelligent behavior can be modeled by simulating the structure and functioning of neural networks in the brain . Although early neural networks had limited capabilities, starting in 1986 more complex multi-layered networks began to be integrated, sparking a resurgence of interest in AI.
What will happen in the future?
As AI continues to evolve, it has the potential to transform numerous industries and aspects of human life, also raising ethical and societal concerns , such as potential job losses due to automation, biases in AI algorithms, and issues related to privacy and security. AI is currently a powerful and versatile tool in a field in which it will be crucial to consider both the opportunities and the challenges it presents, ensuring a future that is as positive as it benefits the whole of society.