When I started writing an article with the theme AI in my mind, not going to lie, I was pretty stumped. I was getting nowhere. I had a few ideas, but they were either already taken or were deemed too basic by the voices in my head. My brain was under the influence of the thought, “AI? That sounds like such an academic theme. Why can’t I write more about people murdering each other or some big, dramatic, pretentiously seeming, deep, introspective, esoteric subject matter?”. Then I had my semester exams, so that was a break from this notion rolling around any further in my head.


But then my last exam was on “Artificial Neural Networks and Deep Learning”. There, I came across the MP Model, the first ever artificial model of a biological neuron, which was created in 1943. Then I went on to read that the phrase “Simulated Neural Networks” was coined in 1944, as was the foundation for its development. Also, the term “Artificial Intelligence” was coined in a conference held for its research in 1956 (more on that conference later). The first trainable ANN was invented in 1957. In 1970, Marvin Minsky, a cognitive scientist, claimed “in three to eight years, we will have a machine with the general intelligence of an average human being”. Oh boy, how quantifiably wrong he was. I was hooked. The disparity between the early excitement in the development of AI and then the rise of interest in AI, is almost half a century. The development timeline of AI seemed pretty interesting to me. It had high hopes and excitement when the research was beginning, but for around 40 years in the middle it hit roadblocks and was kind of adjourned, and now the research is at its most glorious period in the history of AI. 


It all started nearly a century ago, when a thick bearded man from Spain invented an automated chess playing machine and called it, “ El Ajedrecista ”, translating to “The Chessplayer”. Unrelated but he also wrote a paper and named it “Essay on Automatics”. Our Spanish brother did not realise the importance of his paper when he penned it. This paper led to a lot of research and many advancements in the field of Automation. Later came many systems like Ising Model, Nimatron, MP Model and a lot of papers were written by various scientists working on the development of this field. This man was called the 20th century’s first AI pioneer, and occasionally Leanardo Torres Quevedo.


But it was in 1956, a man named John McCarthy, helped in a group of mathematicians, computer scientists, neuroscientists, cognitive psychologists meeting in the “Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence”, thus the field was cleped “Artificial Intelligence”. In the very proposal for the conference they stated, “Any aspect of learning or feature of intelligence, can be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it”. Their drive and optimism, help us understand the aforementioned comments about models with human intelligence. This wasn’t a huge Manhattan Project, but this wasn’t just your average weekend getaway conference either. It wasn’t a few meals, a few drinks, a few laughs and home you go. This Dartmouth workshop went on for 8 weeks. It is said that the concept of ANNs was thought up in this conference. In these 2 months, they would go on to discuss Computing, Natural Language Processing, Neural Networks, Theory Of Computation, and many more concepts. This Dartmouth Conference is now known as the foundational event for the field of “Artificial Intelligence”. This was not only because of the official naming of the field, but also for the substantial advancements, the research would give path to. In the next few years, the programs developed blew everybody’s minds. Everyone’s interest was piqued and monetary support peaked.


Later followed the dreaded AI Winter. The Winters (first and second) refer to a period of time when research in AI was considered obsolete and the Governments stopped giving researchers money. I might be exaggerating a bit but it wasn’t until around ten or so years into the 21st century, that Artificial Intelligence became a popular notion that is taking over the tech world. But there still were a lot of technological movements in the middle. There was the rise in Expert Systems This led to the Japanese Government pouring so much cash that could probably fill an empty swimming pool (850 million dollars) into the Fifth Generation Computer project. The UK also spent huge amounts of cash that could likely fill up a koi pond (350 million pounds) in various researches.


The development of Big Data and systems with huge Computing Power really helped in the reignition of the excitement of AI.This solved most of the problems that the field of AI was facing (of course except for the funding). The inception of various social media applications and the Internet have helped in the development of Big Data, which is another huge field that has been in exponential rise for a few years now. The AI industry is already at a staggering 100 billion USD as of 2023, and is expected to increase by almost 20 times by the end of this decade. These numbers can show us, yet again, how we are currently living in the technical revolution. We might soon enter a world with driverless cars, automated complexes and futuristic holograms guiding us through our brownie selections or sartorial needs, or, the world might be exactly the same. The future of AI is being covered in another article that a fellow Kmitra writer is working on (I would know as I searched for a prompt like the researchers searched for financial funding during the AI Winters). 


I just like the idea that our species’ ability to sit in a room and work on something for a few days, has changed the world too many times by now (given the government and/or the rich make money from it).









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