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When Was AI Invented?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is more commonplace than ever before. AI has ingrained itself as an integral aspect of our society, from computers to phones to cars. When AI was invented, it sparked a transformation in how humans work and live. But at what point in time did it all begin?

Early Beginnings

People think of AI as a futuristic technology, but its creation began in 1936. It was in 1936 that Alan Turing took the first steps towards AI with his invention of the Turing machine. Though simple in design compared to modern-day technologies, the Turing machine used limitless memory to scan, analyze, and manipulate various symbols. The ability to "read" and output information may not be enough to classify it as AI, but the Turing machine did lay the groundwork for what was to come in the future.

The Dartmouth Conference

The Dartmouth Conference took place in the summer of 1956 and marked a pivotal point in the field of AI. Several researchers, including John McCarthy, Marvin Minsky, Nathaniel Rochester, and Claude Shannon, all met at Dartmouth College to explore the possibility of machines that could simulate human levels of intelligence. This conference is considered by many to be when AI was invented.

Early AI Applications

It was during the 1950s and 1960s that AI development truly began to take off. Scientists and researchers started translating their theories and research into real programs. One of the most notable examples of this was the General Problem Solver (GPS) in 1959. Developed by Allen Newell, Herbert, and J.C. Shaw, the GPS was a program designed to handle various problems using a "reasoning" mechanic. The GPS and other programs like it were the first machines to incorporate human-like reasoning in their design. Some believe this was the point at which AI was truly invented.

Modern AI

Despite AI advancements in the 50s and 60s, research slowed in the 1970s and 1980s due to reduced funding and interest. This period has come to be known as an AI winter. However, with advancements in computational power that occurred during the 1990s and early 2000s, AI research underwent a resurgence at the turn of the century. New processes, like deep learning and natural language processing, were developed, resulting in great leaps forward for AI research.

In 2011, IBM created an AI called Watson that defeated human contestants on the quiz show Jeopardy. This feat spurred interest in AI, which has been advancing rapidly ever since. Today, AI isn't a mere curiosity. It has become integral to society with inventions like chatbots, self-driving cars, and ChatGPT.

It's impossible to pinpoint the exact date when AI was invented due to the gradual advance of technology over decades. Some would argue that the GPS was when AI was first invented while others would point to more recent developments. However, even the seemingly powerful AI tools we have today, like ChatGPT, may not be considered the birth of AI in the future as humanity has yet to realize the technology's true potential.

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