What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? How did AI evolve?« Back to Questions List

Artificial Intelligence is a branch of science that has been gaining rapid momentum in the recent past.  It is concerned with making computers think like human being. AI is also called Machine intelligence. Though artificial intelligence is mainly related to computers, its domain is not limited to computers alone. AI depends a lot on physiology, mathematics, physics and other branches of sciences too. Intelligence displayed by humans and other animals is called natural intelligence while that displayed by machine is termed artificial intelligence. In short, artificial intelligence can be defined as the branch of science with the ultimate aim of understanding the nature of intelligent thought and action and creating its own intelligence from past experiences. 

Mentions about artificial intelligence can be traced back to ancient Egypt.  The concept of AI became alive with the launch of computers in 1940’s. With the introduction of computers, the technology to generate machine intelligence came into being. The process depends on the principles of feedback theory.

Artificial intelligence, AI, machine intelligence, computer, Nobert Wiener, John McCarthy, feedback system, expert system, LISP, SHRDUJ, STUDENT,SIR, General Problem Solver,GPS

Nobert Wiener is considered to be one of the first scientists to make observations on feedback theory.  When the output of a system is routed back to itself as input, it is called a feedback. Thermostat is the most common example for a feedback system. The device controls the temperature of a room by gathering the details of prevailing temperature in the room. Thus, it acquires the intelligence to act based on the happenings in the environment.  Though the foundation of AI was laid by the observations of Wiener, the term artificial intelligence was coined  by John McCarthy. He is considered as the father of AI. In 1957, a General Problem Solver (GPS), a  programme relating to AI was tested. This was an extension of feedback theory.   In 1958 LISP( List Processing), a language meant for AI was developed by McCarthy. Programmes SHRDUJ, STUDENT and SIR were introducing later on. The turning point in Artificial Intelligence happened in 1970 with the introduction of the idea relating to Expert systems. It can be considered as a computer system capable of emulating the decision making capacity of human brain. Expert systems solve complex problems through reasoning following if-then rules. 

Increased computing powers, availability of large quantity of data and theoretical understanding have led to wide usage of artificial intelligence in the recent past.  Some consider AI as a great threat to  employment while many others consider it as a threat to humanity itself. Whatever be the arguments, AI has established as an important ingredient of technology industry supporting to solve complex problems in science experiments, computer science and other branches of science. 

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