In the seminal paper on AI, titled Computing Machinery and Intelligence, Alan Turing famously asked: "Can machines think?" -- or, more accurately, can machines successfully imitate thought? Turing clarifies that he's interested in machines that "are intended to carry out any operations which could be done by a human computer." In other words, he's interested in complex digital machines. Since the achievement of a thinking digital machine is a matter of the evolution of machines, it reasons to start at the beginning of machine history. A machine is a device that does work.
An early programmable handwriting automaton with internal mechanics built by Pierre Jaquet-Droz in the 18th century; the text (up to 37 characters) is stored on cam plates. Most histories of computing are dominated by Anglo-Saxon accounts in which devices and practices from elsewhere, continental Europe in particular, are underrepresented and in some cases omitted. However, there is a rich history of such discoveries and the widespread use of computational devices. This article aims to supplement and correct widely accepted accounts, briefly describing examples from European countries in chronological order. Some of these innovations are well known, but, for others, we are no longer aware of them or they are forgotten entirely.
The history of artificial intelligence (AI) began in antiquity, with myths, stories and rumors of artificial beings endowed with intelligence or consciousness by master craftsmen; as Pamela McCorduck writes, AI began with "an ancient wish to forge the gods." The seeds of modern AI were planted by classical philosophers who attempted to describe the process of human thinking as the mechanical manipulation of symbols. This work culminated in the invention of the programmable digital computer in the 1940s, a machine based on the abstract essence of mathematical reasoning. This device and the ideas behind it inspired a handful of scientists to begin seriously discussing the possibility of building an electronic brain. The Turing test was proposed by British mathematician Alan Turing in his 1950 paper Computing Machinery and Intelligence, which opens with the words: "I propose to consider the question, 'Can machines think?'" The term'Artificial Intelligence' was created at a conference held at Dartmouth College in 1956. Allen Newell, J. C. Shaw, and Herbert A. Simon pioneered the newly created artificial intelligence field with the Logic Theory Machine (1956), and the General Problem Solver in 1957. In 1958, John McCarthy and Marvin Minsky started the MIT Artificial Intelligence lab with 50,000. John McCarthy also created LISP in the summer of 1958, a programming language still important in artificial intelligence research. In 1973, in response to the criticism of James Lighthill and ongoing pressure from congress, the U.S. and British Governments stopped funding undirected research into artificial intelligence. Seven years later, a visionary initiative by the Japanese Government inspired governments and industry to provide AI with billions of dollars, but by the late 80s the investors became disillusioned and withdrew funding again. McCorduck (2004) writes "artificial intelligence in one form or another is an idea that has pervaded Western intellectual history, a dream in urgent need of being realized," expressed in humanity's myths, legends, stories, speculation and clockwork automatons. Mechanical men and artificial beings appear in Greek myths, such as the golden robots of Hephaestus and Pygmalion's Galatea. In the Middle Ages, there were rumors of secret mystical or alchemical means of placing mind into matter, such as J?bir ibn Hayy?n's Takwin, Paracelsus' homunculus and Rabbi Judah Loew's Golem. By the 19th century, ideas about artificial men and thinking machines were developed in fiction, as in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein or Karel?apek's
In this brief history, the beginnings of artificial intelligence are traced to philosophy, fiction, and imagination. Early inventions in electronics, engineering, and many other disciplines have influenced AI. Some early milestones include work in problems solving which included basic work in learning, knowledge representation, and inference as well as demonstration programs in language understanding, translation, theorem proving, associative memory, and knowledge-based systems. The article ends with a brief examination of influential organizations and current issues facing the field. Ever since Homer wrote of mechanical "tripods" waiting on the gods at dinner, imagined mechanical assistants have been a part of our culture.
In this brief history, the beginnings of artificial intelligence are traced to philosophy, fiction, and imagination. Early inventions in electronics, engineering, and many other disciplines have influenced AI. Some early milestones include work in problems solving which included basic work in learning, knowledge representation, and inference as well as demonstration programs in language understanding, translation, theorem proving, associative memory, and knowledge-based systems. The article ends with a brief examination of influential organizations and current issues facing the field.