The History of Artificial Intelligence


Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been studied for decades and is still one of the most elusive subjects in Computer Science. This partly due to how large and nebulous the subject is. AI ranges from machines truly capable of thinking to search algorithms used to play board games. It has applications in nearly every way we use computers in society. This paper is about examining the history of artificial intelligence from theory to practice and from its rise to fall, highlighting a few major themes and advances. The term artificial intelligence was first coined by John McCarthy in 1956 when he held the first academic conference on the subject. But the journey to understand if machines can truly think began much before that. In Vannevar Bush's seminal work As We May Think [Bush45] he proposed a system which amplifies people's own knowledge and understanding. Five years later Alan Turing wrote a paper on the notion of machines being able to simulate human beings and the ability to do intelligent things, such as play Chess [Turing50]. No one can refute a computer's ability to process logic. But to many it is unknown if a machine can think. The precise definition of think is important because there has been some strong opposition as to whether or not this notion is even possible. For example, there is the so-called 'Chinese room' argument [Searle80]. Imagine someone is locked in a room, where they were passed notes in Chinese. Using an entire library of rules and look-up tables they would be able to produce valid responses in Chinese, but would they really 'understand' the language? The argument is that since computers would always be applying rote fact lookup they could never 'understand' a subject. This argument has been refuted in numerous ways by researchers, but it does undermine people's faith in machines and so-called expert systems in life-critical applications. The main advances over the past sixty years have been advances in search algorithms, machine learning algorithms, and integrating statistical analysis into understanding the world at large. However most of the breakthroughs in AI aren't noticeable to most people. Rather than talking machines used to pilot space ships to Jupiter, AI is used in more subtle ways such as examining purchase histories and influence marketing decisions [Shaw01]. What most people think of as 'true AI' hasn't experienced rapid progress over the decades. A common theme in the …

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@inproceedings{McGuire2006TheHO, title={The History of Artificial Intelligence}, author={Brian E McGuire and Ting - Yu Huang}, year={2006} }