“Artificial Intelligence” is currently the hottest buzzword in tech. And with good reason – after decades of research and development, the last few years have seen a number of techniques that have previously been the preserve of science fiction slowly transform into science fact.
Already AI techniques are a deep part of our lives: AI determines our search results, translates our voices into meaningful instructions for computers and can even help sort our cucumbers (more on that later). In the next few years we’ll be using AI to drive our cars, answer our customer service enquiries and, well, countless other things.
But how did we get here? Where did this powerful new technology come from? Here’s ten of the big milestones that led us to these exciting times.
Getting the ‘Big Idea’
The concept of AI didn’t suddenly appear – it is the subject of a deep, philosophical debate which still rages today: Can a machine truly think like a human? Can a machine be human? One of the first people to think about this was René Descartes, way back in 1637, in a book called Discourse on the Method. Amazingly, given at the time even an Amstrad Em@iler would have seemed impossibly futuristic, Descartes actually summed up some off the crucial questions and challenges technologists would have to overcome:
“If there were machines which bore a resemblance to our bodies and imitated our actions as closely as possible for all practical purposes, we should still have two very certain means of recognizing that they were not real men.”
He goes on to explain that in his view, machines could never use words or “put together signs” to “declare our thoughts to others”, and that even if we could conceive of such a machine, “it is not conceivable that such a machine should produce different arrangements of words so as to give an appropriately meaningful answer to whatever is said in its presence, as the dullest of men can do.”
He then goes on to describe the big challenge of now: creating a generalised AI rather than something narrowly focused – and how the limitations of current AI would expose how the machine is definitely not a human:
“Even though some machines might do some things as well as we do them, or perhaps even better, they would inevitably fail in others, which would reveal that they are acting not from understanding, but only from the disposition of their organs.”
So now, thanks to Descartes, when it comes to AI, we have the challenge.
Image Credit: Techradar
News This Week
Researchers at the Nanoscience Center and Faculty of Information Technology in the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, have achieved a significant step forward in predicting atomic structures of hybrid nanoparticles. A research article published in [...]
Nanomedical Device and Systems Design: Challenges, Possibilities, Visions now available to rent on Kindle
To accommodate students who wish to read the book at an affordable cost, Nanomedical Device and Systems Design: Challenges, Possibilities, Visions by Frank Boehm (CEO NanoApps Medical Inc.) is available to rent on Kindle. This book benefits [...]
Tools that detect cancer in its early stages can increase patient survival and quality of life. However, cancer screening approaches often call for expensive equipment and trips to the clinic, which may not be [...]
The blood-brain barrier is a physiological boundary layer that works highly selectively and thus protects the brain: On the one hand, pathogens or toxins are effectively prevented from penetrating the brain, on the other [...]
Intro to Industry 4.0: The Ultimate Guide by Ferry Vermeulen Industry is changing a lot these days. New concepts and systems pop-up continuously, and due to companies’ need to implement the best technology, a [...]
“Artificial Intelligence” is currently the hottest buzzword in tech. And with good reason - after decades of research and development, the last few years have seen a number of techniques that have previously been [...]
The 21st century has ushered in a new age where all aspects of our lives are impacted by technology. How will humanity anticipate, mitigate, and manage the consequences of AI, robots, quantum computing and [...]
Babylon, a UK start-up, plans to "put an accessible and affordable health service in the hands of every person on earth" by putting artificial intelligence (AI) tools to work. Currently, the company [...]
If you’ve ever tried to swat a fly, you know that insects react to movement extremely quickly. A newly created biologically inspired compound eye is helping scientists understand how insects use their compound eyes [...]
A tiny bristle worm, wriggling around the ocean, can extend its jaw outside its mouth to ensnare its prey. The worm’s shape-shifting jaw, stiff at the base and flexible at the end, is made [...]
What if you didn’t need surgery to implant a pacemaker on a faulty heart? What if you could control your blood sugar levels without an injection of insulin, or mitigate the onset of a [...]