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Artificial Intelligence: a brief history of its evolution in the world

Written by Alana Team
on August 03, 2020

A

lthough the subject of artificial intelligence (AI) sounds like something futuristic, thoughts about a possible machine that can act like humans are part of human history. 


Ancient philosophers, like Aristotle (384 - 322 BC) and Socrates (390 BC), already questioned how to describe human behavior and thought, and they are part of the history of artificial intelligence. It is not by chance that there is an area of study called AI philosophy.

Philosophers and AI

 

Even before the concept gained a name, Socrates already questioned the possibility of something that described human behavior, and that, perhaps, could identify and classify it as good or bad.

Besides him, Aristotle presented the Syllogism theory, which is when a conclusion is deduced from premises. According to him, this would be the perfect logic of an argument

imagem_1_eng-min-Sep-30-2020-04-17-54-15-AM

Image: Classic example of a syllogism. The argument consists of three declarative propositions that connect in such a way that, from the first two, it is possible to deduce a conclusion.

These are the first known records on studies related to human behavior and machines, and are there nowadays machines that think like humans?

Modern Artificial Intelligence

The evolution of modern AI has gone through several phases over the years and continues to evolve.

After decades of study, scientists have realized that, first, it is relevant to understand how we humans think. Reason: only then could they create ways to make artificial intelligence interpret human beings and act as such.

For this reason, the field of study of artificial intelligence is so multidisciplinary. In addition to philosophy, other areas that have an impact in this field of study are:

  • Mathematics;
  • Statistic;
  • Neuroscience;
  • Linguistics.

What we have available today in terms of AI technology is the pinnacle of development. They are highly qualified algorithms and, although they still can't act 100% like the human brain, they do amazing things.

The trend is that studies continue to evolve and innovation never stops. 

If one day we will have a machine that thinks exactly like a human, we don't know, but the dream is alive (both in science fiction films and in the hearts of scientists).

Robots and AI

According to the Robotics Industries Association, based in the United States, a robot is an automatic device that has connections capable of feedback and does not require the action of human control to perform certain activities.

Robots are part of the history of artificial intelligence and AI is part of the history of robots.

The level of capacity of the robot depends on the algorithm created, and they can reach high levels of knowledge, through machine learning techniques.

In many cases, robots are not humanoid, as we see in movies, but just a machine capable of working with the artificial intelligence algorithm and performing predetermined tasks.

Timeline of the evolution of artificial intelligence

Check out the main facts, contributions, and discoveries about AI:

imagem_2_eng-min-Sep-30-2020-04-20-36-35-AM

[1942] Bombe unveils the Enigma machine

bombe_enigma_aiBombe was a system created by Alan Turing and team, during the Second World War, to decipher the messages encrypted by the Enigma machine, which was used by the Germans. Success came when Bombe was able to understand, through patterns of logic for interpretation, a message about the location of enemy troops.

[1950] The Turing Test

alanturing_testeTuring asked about the possibility, and capacity, of machines to think like humans, and so a test came up to determine whether a machine could show some intelligent behavior. The test consists of a person A, talking to two others (person B and a robot), without seeing each other, and he (person A) has to determine who is the human (person B), and who is the robot. If the machine succeeds in deceiving person A, he wins the test.

[1956] The father of artificial intelligence: John McCarthy

john_mccarthyAlthough Turing started to question the thinking of machines, it was John McCarthy who coined the artificial intelligence nomenclature and presented at the Dartmouth Summer Research Project. The renowned Computer Scientist was responsible for advancing studies on the subject and also contributed to the creation of the LISP programming language.

[1961] The Unimate industrial robot

robo_industrial_unimateConsidered the grandfather of industrial robots, Unimate was the first industrial robot to be created, and performed only repetitive actions, without using artificial intelligence. It consisted of a hydraulic arm and was widely used by car manufacturers to automate welding processes. Its inventor was George Devol.

 

[1964] First chatbot: Elizafirst_chatbot_elizaThe Eliza chatbot was the biggest innovation of the time, as it was the first to use NLP - from English, Natural Language Processing, which is how the machine interprets human language. Created by Joseph Weizenbaum, Eliza was used for therapy and simulated the conversation between machine and human

[1969] Shakey Robot

shakey_the_robotShakey is today at the Computer History Museum in California, but when it launched, the robot brought together advanced research in several areas: robotics, NLP, and computer vision. The creative project took place between 1966 and 1972, at Stanford, and was led by Charles Rosen, founder of Stanford Research International.

[1997] DeepBlue Wins Chess Game

DeepBlue_chessThis was a supercomputer with a specific ability to play chess and had 256 processors, capable of analyzing 200 million possibilities of moves per minute. DeepBlue's victory against Garry Kasparov, the greatest chess champion of the time, was a milestone in AI history.

[1998] Kismet: the robot equipped with feelings

kismetConsidered as one of the first robots to demonstrate some emotional or social interaction, he had a caricatured appearance and took almost three years to develop. The results he was able to achieve were related to facial expressions, vocalizations, head, and eye adjustments. A cute robot.

[2002] Roomba: more than a vacuum cleaner

Roomba_aspirador

The first version of Roomba had sensors only so that the robot would not get trapped in furniture or fall off the stairs, for example. 

It was smart, but it doesn't come close to the most current version, which is an iRobot capable of measuring the size of the space to be cleaned, identifying obstacles, and remember which routes work best. In addition to the possibility of voice command integrated with Google Assistant or Alexa.


[2011] Siri
siri_apple
Siri needs no comments! This virtual assistant has revolutionized the way people use voice technology. She can answer questions, perform actions requested by the user, such as calls and schedules, and make recommendations. It has a simple interface for interaction.

[2011] IBM Watson supercomputer

supercomputador_IBMWatson is a large-scale artificial intelligence platform, widely used to process data, recognize human natural language and automate reasoning. The supercomputer even won two question and answer champions from two Jeopardy program champions.

[2014] Alexa
alexa_assistente
Amazon's creation, when saying ‘Alexa’, it automatically responds and connects to the device you want, be it a speaker or a TV. This virtual assistant can answer questions, play music, talk about the weather, news, sports, and any other topic. It also helps to make purchases on the Amazon website.

[2017] AlphaGo
alphago_aiThis computer program was created exclusively to play Go and has had different versions. The most current is AlphaGo Master, launched in 2017, at the Future of Go Summit, which won the number one player in the world ranking: Ke Jie. This AI uses artificial neural networks as a learning technique.

AI is increasingly present in our lives, and the trend is that this will continue to increase since the history of artificial intelligence does not end there.

We will certainly see great advances in the coming years, both in the field of technologies for personal use and for companies that wish to improve customer service and digital marketing efforts.

 

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