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October 29, 2021

Brief History of Artificial Intelligence: A Journey from Yesterday to the Future

Capabilities and future of artificial intelligence is transforming rapidly every day. But how did it start? Check this article to learn about the development of AI from yesterday to today!

Everyone has an opinion about Artificial Intelligence. Some says that Artificial Intelligence technology is a hero, a gift making our lives way easier and some says that it is an evil which will take over the World in the future and destroy humanity. Some sees it as a threat and some sees it as a huge opportunity for human development. That AI will destroy humankind in the future is a debatable concept but it is certain that without it, human life wouldn’t be that easy as it is now. We benefit from AI based technologies in almost everything in our daily lives even though we don’t realize it. These technologies are part of our lives for many years. So, what is Artificial Intelligence?  

Artificial Intelligence is the ability of computer systems to mimic human intelligence. The aim here is enabling computers to make things that human intelligence can do such as learning things, making connections, detecting and solving problems. A computer system that has AI makes estimations based on patterns in the existent data ormakes transactions. Then, by learning from its mistakes, makes more accurate estimations and transactions.

There are three types of AI;

·     Artificial Narrow Intelligence aka Weak AI focuses on narrow-scoped duties and make these duties better than a human can do. ANI is the only AI which exists today.

·     Artificial General Intelligence aka Strong AI concentrates on every cognitive duties and the goal is computer systems to be more successful than humans in these cognitive duties.

·     Artificial Super Intelligence means computer systems to be more intelligent and effective than humans in every aspect. In this AI type, AI will be able to do everything a human can do way better. Moreover, it will also be able to do things that separate humans from machines such as scientific creativity, general wisdom,art, decision making and emotional relations.

When will machines and pcs will be more talented than humans in everything? Who knows? However, it might be sooner than you think. ASI is the future itself.

Statistics indicates that the use of AI in various sectors has increased by 270% over the previous four years.

As mentioned before, AI is practically every wherein our lives. SIRI, Google Assistant, Alexa, Google Maps, Google Translate, Google’s predictive searches, face verification on smartphones, autopilot feature of cars can be given as examples. For instance, Google Translate uses machine-based learning to translate words from one language to another. Machine learning, a subset of artificial intelligence, deals with how machines learn like humans by analyzing data. More data and experience lead to better machine learning and better outputs. Autopilot features of carsis another AI case. Machine learning and/or deep learning aid to make autonomous vehicles. Deep learning, a subcategory of machine learning, benefits from algorithms inspired by human brain. It works with Artificial Neural Networks that are intended to replicate the way humans think and learn.

Furthermore, we can see AI in different sectors such as finance, healthcare, social media. Statistics indicates that the use of AI in various sectors has increased by 270% over the previous four years. JP Morgan’s Chase’s Contract Intelligence Platform aka COIN operates on a machine learning system and it shortens the time spent in a year for reviewing documents from 360,000 hours to seconds. COIN has succeeded to assist JP Morgan decline its number of loan-servicing errors as well. Likewise, IBM Watson is an AI technology for businesses and it is designed to answer questions asked in natural language. IBM Watson is used innumerous sectors. To illustrate, IBM Watson Health is used in making of new medicines, arranging patient appointments, clinical and medical research in health care sector. AI and machine-based learning are used in social media platforms too. Twitter uses AI to filter out hate speech and terroristic languages in tweets and Facebook uses AI inface verification to tag your friends. Together with Facebook and Twitter,Google uses AI in its predictive search. When you start typing on Google to search something, Google makes some recommendations for you to select. Google is able to do this thanks to the data it collects from you like your age,personal info, location, etc.

The importance of artificial intelligence today is obvious but what about the future?Will AI help us for a better future? The answer is yes. Thanks to technological enhancements and studies on AI, there’s no doubt that it will make humans live a better and more qualified life in the future.It will help humans to use their time more efficiently. To learn more about AI, let’s turn back time and look at how AI progressed to this day. Let’s discover brief history of AI(Artificial Intelligence).


history of ai

The Birth of Artificial Intelligence

The idea of artificial intelligence was generated by mathematician and computer scientist Alan Mathison Turing in 1950.Alan Turing’s paper called “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” starts with the question “Can machines think?”. This question is considered to be the birth of artificial intelligence and beginning of brief history of AI. He came up with “The Imitation Game” aka “Turing Test” in his paper. An interrogator asks questions to both a machine and a real person and the computer should pretend to be human and cheat the interrogator with its answers. Answers should be written and no audio can be used. The interrogator should not distinguish the real person for the computer to pass the test.Machines need to imitate people successfully to achieve in the test.

After Turing Test, second significant incident for AI was John McCarthy’s use of the term ‘artificial intelligence’ for the first time. John McCarthy is also called “father of artificial intelligence”. He specifies AI as "the science and engineering of making intelligent machines."  Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence aka Dartmouth Artificial Intelligence Conference which is held in 1956 summer at Dartmouth College is the beginning of field of artificial intelligence. Scientists who participated this conference to brainstorm on AI are John McCarthy,Marvin Minsky, Claude Shannon and Nathan Rochester. This big event led next generation scientists to be inspired and work on information technologies to ease human life.

Subsequent AI Studies

LISP Programming Language and MIT AI Laboratory

In 1958, John McCarthy developed LISP akaList Processor. It was principally used by the artificial intelligence community in the US because of its excellent flexibility owing to its expressive power. In 1959, Marvin Minsky and John McCarthy established MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Artificial Intelligence Project. This project then turned to MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Let’s continue to look at brief history of AI(Artificial Intelligence).


Unimate, the first industrial robot  in history, was invented in 1950s by George Devoland Joseph Engelberger. [AÖ9] In 1961, it was already working for General Motor’s assembly line. Unimate was working with heated die casting machines. Its duty was simple but this duty was dangerous for workers to do and they could have hurt or lost their limbs if they carried the task. Therefore,using Unimate was more practical and safer. Besides, Unimate was able to carry the task quickly. Thanks to Unimate robots, General Motors have changed the automotive industry forever. After a while, approximately 450 Unimates were started to be used in different production lines in the US. The robot was introduced to World in 1966 and it began to be licensed to Europe and Asia afterwards.


Eliza is the first natural language processing computer program designed between1964 and 1966 at the MIT AI Laboratory by Joseph Weizenbaum. It can be saidthat it’s the first chatbot inhistory.[AÖ10] [KK11]  Eliza was also like anexperiment for Turing Test. It was intended to be as intelligent as humans andone should not have distinguished Eliza from a real person. Eliza impersonateda psychotherapist during its conversations with a person. However, it wasn’t so clever.


Shakey the Robot was developed between 1966 and 1972 in Stanford Research Institute and it is accepted as “the world’s first electronic person”.[AÖ12] [KK13]  It was an autonomous, smart robot. Shakey was able to perceive and reason about its surroundings. Shakey had cameras and touch sensors. It was operated by a huge remote computer. It pioneered the self-driving vehicles as we know today.

During brief history of AI, it wasn’t always so popular. There are dark times for AI as well.

First AI Winter  

Interest in artificial intelligence wasn’t always high during its history. There were times when funding and attention on AI industry was low. During these times research and development on artificial intelligence was minimal. The first of these periods of stagnation and regression is called “First AI Winter”. First AI Winter was between 1974 and 1980. Expectations on AI was high but AI wasn’t able to meet these great expectations and scientists weren’t able to meet their promises on what AI can do. As a result, the First AI Winter has occurred. Question marks and criticisms on AI raised.

Second AI Winter

After the first AI Winter, attention on artificial intelligence began to rise again. Fundings and supports were encouraging for a couple of years. Investors and governments started to believe power and efficiency of AI once more. The public was hopeful and excited about enhancements on AI again. However, the Second AI Winter happened between 1987 and 1993. Reasons behind it was pretty much the same with the first one. As in the first one, support and excitement on AI dropped. Likewise, government and investor funds decreased significantly. Criticisms against artificial intelligence had a boost.

Although AI was sometimes unpopular in the past, it is a fact that AI is constantly improving today. After the Second AI Winter and especially in 2010s, AI began to be a part of our daily lives. In the light of brief history of AI, now let’s look at AI in present and see how it made our lives easier and more efficient.  

Artificial Intelligence Today

As mentioned in the beginning of the content, we use AI frequently but we usually don’t know that we’re benefiting from AI. We use AI-powered applications and tools in online shopping, web searches, making translations, chatbots,cars, transportation, smart homes and cities, cybersecurity, healthcare sector,agriculture and farming, finance, e-commerce, etc. To explain it in more detail, many companies benefit from AI to automate their warehouses and better manage their supply chain. Since e-commerce is growing and becoming more and more common, firms invest heavily on digitalization and e-commerce. Every business which does e-commerce should manage their warehouses and/or supply chain efficiently. Thus, they can minimize errors while preparing the order, shorten delivery times and satisfy their customers. Therefore, they use AI in their processes. In healthcare sector, machines are used for diagnosis of diseases and monitoring the health of patients. Also, AI helped the development of big data technology which assists numerous sectors and businesses today. Analyzing and interpreting the data successfully are must for organizations to be competitive and remain profitable. Big data is the data which is massive, complex and quickly generated.Traditional data processing is not enough for big data that’s why ai-powered tools and applications are needed to make sense of the big data.

Artificial Intelligence Tomorrow

After seeing and experiencing what artificial intelligence can achieve in today’s world, it’s evident that AI will achieve much more in the future. Following brief history of AI and AI’s today, let’s also look at AI’s future through a couple of examples to understand how it can improve the way we live. AI has contributed to healthcare sector significantly and it will go on contributing. It will enhance cancer diagnostics and detecting the progress of psychotic illnesses. In addition, AI can help lessen faults and complete repetitive or difficult tasks that would take people much longer to complete. This means more efficiency for working people and corporations. Did you know that England has started “National AI Strategy”in 2021  to help its economy grow via artificial intelligence technologies? The government also intends to enhance public services and deal with climate change via AI. That can be a proof that AI will gain more importance in the future and it will be solution to our problems. Moreover,likeliness of accidents will decrease with common use of driverless AI-powered vehicles. AI can also protect life of workers in risky jobs such as mining,firefighting and processing radioactive substances. AI is a friend. A good friend who will help us do our jobs better. It’s not going to replace us, it will cooperate us.  

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