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What is Artificial Intelligence: History and Modernity

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Artificial Intelligence is commonly known as AI, contrary to the common belief that dates back to as early as the 1930s. The technology wasn’t as advanced enough then, when several scientists were thoroughly exploring the idea of “What if machines could think”, it makes sense it would just make our job so much easier.

For instance in today’s generation, what if something as basic as phones and laptops would just shut down without giving you alerts that your battery is low, and since the machine is not intuitive it wouldn’t tell you how much power your battery has left. Now, this makes you wonder if our laptops and phones are based on the same coding as artificial intelligence and the answer is - YES! Back then, phones were not a thing, people still use to write letters, remember? Scientists were researching the topic and further, their theories and calculations came into use to form what we call today “technology”, nowadays you can sit in your office and power on your air conditioning/HVACC unit so that when you reach home your house is at the temperature of your liking. From having to go through multiple phone lines and operators just to reach the person you want to talk to — to control your light sitting right in the comfort of your bed, I’d say that’s a HUGE advancement. In addition to this, back then computers or machines, in general, weren’t quite equipped to be simulating Artificial Intelligence. Japan and Britain were the first ones to talk about it. An old remark in Tesler’s theorem says “AI is everything that has not been done yet”.

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Peter Norvig and Stuart J. Russell describe Artificial Intelligence in their book Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach as “Think like a human, act like a human, Think rationally, Act Rationally”. Alan Turing was the first person to prompt the question. In his paper, he raises the question “Can machines think” which he meekly titles “The Imitation Game”, also on which a movie is based. I highly recommend watching the movie. Further continuing Turing’s work, a group of logical theorists - Allen Newell, Cliff Shaw & Herbert Simon designed the first artificial intelligence program at Dartmouth College. It is said that the term artificial intelligence was coined on the campus of Dartmouth College as well. During an event/seminar, on launching the program. The seminar wasn’t a big hit, it was the 1950’s people were still getting used to radios and to have the idea of that radio talk back to you was both frightening and costly. Few of the people who attended the seminar would further become leaders in the field.

In the 1960-the 1970s, when people started wrapping their heads around the idea that AI could be possible, funding was hard to get. Government authorities thought of it to be completely impossible and there were many countries still at war, they would rather spend their money on securing the country than investing in something that sounded vague. Financial resources were as scarce as it was computers back then didn’t have much memory on them to store thousands of lines of coding. Fast forward to now, we are still doing things the same way, same old coding tricks, what has made it possible is the computer - cheap and easily available and storage on the computers which allows you not only to type the code but also to compile it (which also takes up storage). AI is all about commands, in simple words - you need to tell the machine what you want it to do, and for that, you need to feed into the system in its language, a direction, a command - which is coding. 

In the end, when you have all the commands in one place, you compile your code, to check for errors and to see if it’s going to work, you can think of it as proofreading an essay that you wrote - to make sure you are covering all the points and at the end of it all, it makes sense. Thanks to technological advancement, the compilation is done by the computer and notify the user if the code is runnable, much like word when it tells you there is a grammatical or spelling error (it doesn’t fix it for you it alerts you). 

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