Artificial intelligence, or AI, has been around in some form since the mid-20th century, when computer scientists first started to develop software that mimicked human intelligence in various ways. Today, AI software can do much, from fighting off cyber attacks to helping doctors diagnose rare diseases. However, AI has also become more accessible. For example, today, you can work with an AI software company to develop a solution for customer service or production. Here’s an overview of how AI has progressed since its conception;
First Generation (1950–1956)
The first generation of AI technology was based on rule-based systems designed to simulate human intelligence. These systems could complete simple tasks, such as solving mathematical problems or playing checkers.
The first AI conference was held in 1956 in New Hampshire and called the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence. John McCarthy coined the term ‘Artificial Intelligence’ at this conference, and also created LISP (a programming language for AI) during this time.
Second Generation (1956–1963)
In the late 1950s, researchers in the United States and Great Britain began to develop programs that could reason like humans. This was the beginning of the field of artificial intelligence (AI). The first AI program, called simply Logic Theorist, was developed by Allen Newell, J. C. Shaw, and Herbert A. Simon. This program was able to prove some simple mathematical theorems.
In 1957, Frank Rosenblatt developed the first neural network machine, called the Perceptron. Meanwhile, Marvin Minsky and John McCarthy published a paper on how computers can be used to play chess. Soon after this publication, they started developing computer programs that were competent in playing chess.
Third Generation (1963–1970)
The third generation saw the introduction of expert systems designed to capture and codify the knowledge of human experts in specific domains. This was a significant development, allowing businesses to automate tasks that previously required human expertise. However, these systems were often brittle and inflexible, relying on hard-coded rules.
Fourth Generation (1970–1979)
The fourth generation saw the development of expert systems, which attempted to capture the knowledge of human experts in specific domains. MYCIN was one example of an expert system developed during this time. In addition, rule-based systems were also developed, allowing for more application flexibility.
MYCIN was a computer program that could diagnose a patient’s bacterial infection and determine appropriate treatments. MYCIN used a set of rules created by doctors at Stanford University and became available on the Stanford University Network (SUN) computer from 1977 onwards. Though it would take up to two hours to run a diagnosis on a single patient, it saved physicians valuable time and gave them access to data they might not have had before.
Fifth Generation (1979–1990)
In the 1980s, the fifth generation of AI software was developed based on the processing power of computers becoming available. This led to the development of expert systems designed to solve problems in specific domains by imitating human experts.
This generation also saw the development of natural language processing and machine learning. These two concepts still dominate the field today.
Sixth Generation (1990-1995)
In the early 1990s, the US Department of Defense initiated a research program called the Strategic Computing Program (SCP). The SCP’s goal was to create a new generation of intelligent computer systems that could be used for military applications. One of the key projects under the SCP was the DARPA Grand Challenge, which sought to develop technology for intelligent vehicles that could navigate off-road terrain.
Seventh Generation (1995-Present)
In the mid-1990s, the focus of AI research shifted from general intelligence to more specific domains such as machine learning, natural language processing, and robotics. This was partly due to increased computing power which allowed for more specialized applications.
The biggest advances have been natural language processing and machine learning which are vital components in many other branches of AI like computer vision, speech recognition, and decision making. More recently, the field has seen a resurgence with advancements made by DeepMind’s AlphaGo program that defeated a human professional Go player for the first time in October 2015.
AI also became more prevalent in popular culture. Comics and TV shows were created around the same time, depicting a future world where AI is integrated into society. One example is DC Comics’ Steel, which debuted in 1996; he was a man who replaced his lost limbs with cybernetic replacements that were both strong and sensitive to his surroundings.
For example, Spielberg’s film AI: Artificial Intelligence starring Haley Joel Osment, was released in 1997. The Terminator movies also captured public attention as they featured an apocalyptic future world overrun by intelligent machines bent on destroying humans.
Immense Possibilities of AI in the Future
In just a few decades, AI has gone from being able to beat a human in a game of chess to being able to drive a car. Of course, with such rapid advancements, it’s hard to predict what AI will be capable of in the future. But one thing is for sure: the possibilities are endless.
The world could soon see some of the groundbreaking advances in AI software taking over tasks such as driving cars, diagnosing medical conditions, and even identifying criminal intent.
These developments will change everything from how people commute to work or school daily to how people get their groceries at the store.