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.
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: http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/history/dartmouth.pdf
If you want to learn more about the history of AI, check out:
- Alan Turing & The Turing Imitation Game
- McCulloch’s Artificial Neural Network
- The Von Neumann Architecture
- The very first neural network computer
And follow me for future articles on the history of AI!