The birth of Artificial Intelligence

Zahid Parvez
2 min readFeb 6, 2023

In my previous articles, I have explored how the ‘founding fathers’ of Artificial Intelligence contributed to the field; however, the term “Artificial Intelligence” didn’t yet exist. It would take another five years for the field of study to be defined and recognised.

Before diving into to when the field was born, one more key contribution to the early research needs to be highlighted.

Photo by Piotr Makowski on Unsplash

Heuristics in machine intelligence

Another early researcher in the field of AI was MIT graduate Claude Shannon, he was fascinated at the prospect that machines could exhibit human like intelligence. In 1950, he published a paper on chess playing computers that pointed out that a typical chess game involved about 10^120 possible moves (this is considered to be a conservative estimate today). This meant that even with the advent of the new von Neumann-type computers, it would take some 3 x 10^106 years for a computer to make its first move. This highlighted the importance of heuristics in machine intelligence.

Birth of Artificial Intelligence

In 1956, John McCarthy, Martin Minsky and Claude Shannon organised a summer workshop at Dartmouth College. At the conference, McCarthy and a group of researchers discussed the potential for creating machines that could perform tasks that require human intelligence, such as learning, problem-solving, and pattern recognition. In a proposal for funding, McCarthy put forth the term “artificial intelligence” as the name of this new field of study; thus the field of Artificial Intelligence was born. You can read the original proposal here:

Birth of the term Artificial Intelligence

If you want to learn more about the history of AI, check out:

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Zahid Parvez

I am an analyst with a passion for data, software, and integration. In my free time, I also like to dabble in design, photography, and philosophy.