07 Sep All you need to know about AI
Humans are the most advanced form of Artificial Intelligence (AI), with an ability to reproduce.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer a theory but is part of our everyday life. Services like TikTok, Netflix, YouTube, Uber, Google Home Mini, and Amazon Echo are just a few instances of AI in our daily life.
This field of knowledge always attracted me in strange ways. I have been an avid reader and I read a variety of subjects of non-fiction nature. I love to watch movies – not particularly sci-fi, but I liked Innerspace, Flubber, Robocop, Terminator, Avatar, Ex Machina, and Chappie.
When I think of Artificial Intelligence, I see it from a lay perspective. I do not have an IT background. I am a researcher and a communicator; and, I consider myself a happy person who loves to learn and solve problems through simple and creative ideas. My thoughts on AI may sound different, but I’m happy to discuss them.
Humans are the most advanced form of AI that we may know to exit. My understanding is that the only thing that differentiates humans and Artificial Intelligence is the capability to reproduce. While humans have this ability to multiply through male and female union and transfer their abilities through tiny cells, machines lack that function. Transfer of cells to a newborn is no different from the transfer of data to a machine. It’s breathtaking that how a tiny cell in a human body has all the necessary information of not only that particular individual but also their ancestry.
Allow me to give an introduction to the recorded history of AI. Before that, I would like to take a moment to share with you my recent achievement that I feel proud to have accomplished. I finished a course in AI from Algebra University in Croatia in July. I could attend this course through a generous initiative and bursary from Humber College (Toronto). Such initiatives help intellectually curious minds like me to learn. I would also like to express that the views expressed are my own understanding and judgment.
What is AI?
AI is a branch of computer science that is based on computer programming like several other coding programs. What differentiates Artificial Intelligence, however, is its aim that is to mimic human behavior. And this is where things become fascinating as we develop artificial beings.
I have divided the origins of AI into three phases so that I can explain it better and you don’t miss on the sequence of incidents that led to the step by step development of AI.
AI is not a recent concept. Scientists were already brainstorming about it and discussing the thinking capabilities of machines even before the term Artificial Intelligence was coined.
I would like to start from 1950 with Alan Turing, a British intellectual who brought WW II to an end by decoding German messages. Turing released a paper in the October of 1950 “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” that can be considered as among the first hints to thinking machines. Turing starts the paper thus: “I propose to consider the question, ‘Can machines think?’”. Turing’s work was also the beginning of Natural Language Processing (NLP). The 21st-century mortals can relate it with the invention of Apple’s Siri. The A.M. Turing Award is considered the Nobel of computing. The life and death of Turing are unusual in their own way. I will leave it at that but if you are interested in delving deeper, here is one article by The New York Times.
Five years later, in 1955, John McCarthy, an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Dartmouth College, and his team proposed a research project in which they used the term Artificial Intelligence, for the first time.
McCarthy explained the proposal saying, “The study is to proceed on the basis of the conjecture that every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it.” He continued, “An attempt will be made to find how to make machines use language, form abstractions and concepts, solve kinds of problems now reserved for humans, and improve themselves.”
It started with a few simple logical thoughts that germinated into a whole new branch of computer science in the coming decades. AI can also be related to the concept of Associationism that is traced back to Aristotle from 300 BC. But, discussing that in detail will be outside the scope of this article.
It was in 1958 that we saw the first model replicating the brain’s neuron system. This was the year when psychologist Frank Rosenblatt developed a program called Perceptron. Rosenblatt wrote in his article, “Stories about the creation of machines having human qualities have long been fascinating province in the realm of science fiction. Yet we are now about to witness the birth of such a machine – a machine capable of perceiving, recognizing, and identifying its surroundings without any human training or control.”
A New York Times article published in 1958 introduced the invention to the general public saying, “The Navy revealed the embryo of an electronic computer today that it expects will be able to walk, talk, see, write, reproduce itself and be conscious of its existence.”
My investigation in one of the papers of Rosenblatt hints that even in the 1940s scientists talked about artificial neurons. Notice in the Reference section of Rosenblatt’s paper published in 1958. It lists Warren S. McCulloch and Walter H. Pitts’ paper of 1943. If you are interested in more details, I would suggest an article published in Medium.
The first AI conference took place in 1959. However, by this time, the leads in Artificial Intelligence had already exhausted the computing capabilities of the time. It is, therefore, no surprise that not much could be achieved in AI in the next decade.
Thankfully, the IT industry was catching up quickly and preparing the ground for stronger computers. Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel, made a few predictions in his article in 1965. Moore predicted a huge growth of integrated circuits, more components per chip, and reduced costs. “Integrated circuits…