History of artificial intelligence PDF Print E-mail
Technology - Artificial intelligence

History of artificial intelligence

Experiments to build artificial intelligences go back a long way. Well before the modern age men have sought to build or endow intelligence onto machines.

The classical Greek mythology is full of intelligent machines and devices and while men such as Hero and Daedalus constructed the hardware, philosophers like Aristotle invented the first formal deductive reasoning system for machines known as syllogistic logic.

And so it has continued until today, several thousand years later, when we are coming to a point where we can see the beginnings of real artificial intelligence brought about by our advanced knowledge of technology.

Where it will lead us is uncertain. There are really no technological limits apparently, and what we do with our intelligent machines and to what extent and purpose we develop them is another part of the ethical and moral issue surrounding artificial intelligence.

There are many science fiction stories, movies and television series about (android) robots being a part of human society, living and working with us in harmony. In other scenarios, intelligent machines, not at all remotely looking like humans, are at war with us for dominance.


One of the more popular story lines concerns military equipment with a mind of its own, fighting our battles for us against another (robot) army, or at war with us, their makers. All of these robots and machines have artificial intelligence in one form or another.

Would you be surprised if machines turn against us? If we start to make them  smarter than us, more efficient, and without the reasoning aspects which make us rationally weak, they are bound to see us for what we really are - soft bodied, weak-willed, chaotic, illogical creatures that basically parasite off the planet until there is nothing left.

Not a pretty picture perhaps, but certainly a side of the truth most of us don't like to think of. Well, machines don't have that choice, do they? So ridding the place of humans makes perfect logic to them.

Historical disasters have all been attributed to the gods taking revenge on us for our bad behavior. God made us in his image according to Biblical history, and now we are making machines in ours. We have destroyed all the old gods and are busily considering the remaining few irrelevant as we become gods ourselves. Why would future history show anything else than our extinction at the hands of those we created in our own image?

More information on the history of artificial intelligence can be found at:

ThinkQuest Library of entries - The History of Artificial Intelligence in the 20th Century
University of Pittsburgh (USA) - A Brief History of Artificial Intelligence from classical to modern
USA Today - The history of artificial intelligence by date - 1950-present day
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - The History of Artificial Intelligence
Alan Turing - The internet scrapbook of artificial intelligence
The Alan Turing web site
The Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research (JAIR)

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