21st-century AI: proud, not smug


the dot-coms in the late 1990s, this AI boom was characterized by unrealistic expectations. When the boom went bust, the field fell into a trough of disillusionment that Americans call the AI Winter. A similar disillusionment had already struck earlier, elsewhere (see the “Comments on the Lighthill Report” sidebar). If a technology has something to offer, it won’t stay in the trough of disillusionment, just as AI has risen to a new sustainable level of activity. For example, Figure 2 shows that although AI conference attendance numbers have been stable since 1995, they are nowhere near the unsustainable peak of the mid-1980s. With this special issue, I wanted to celebrate and record modern AI’s achievements and activity. Hence, the call for papers asked for AI’s current trends and historical successes. But the best-laid plans can go awry. It turns out that my “coming of age” special issue was about five to 10 years too late. AI is no longer a bleeding-edge technology—hyped by its proponents and mistrusted by the mainstream. In the 21st century, AI is not necessarily amazing. Rather, it’s often routine.

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Cite this paper

@article{Menzies200321stcenturyAP, title={21st-century AI: proud, not smug}, author={Teresa V. Menzies}, journal={IEEE Intelligent Systems}, year={2003}, volume={18}, pages={18-24} }