Click and slide the globe across (help on how to do this) to learn more about the roots of Artificial Intelligence, and how it developed through the centuries.
3000 B.C.: Asians created bead-and-wire abacuses, the first “computers.”
1000 B.C.:The Greeks write the Pygmalion myth. In it, Pygmalion, a sculptor who detested women, makes a sculpture of the ideal female. It is so good that he falls in love with it, and he prays to Aphrodite to animate it. She does, and the sculpture becomes a person and eventually Pygmalion’s wife. This is one of the first stories ever written in which a nonhuman becomes human.
A.D. 856: India uses the digit zero (0). This is its first recorded use.
1274:In 1274, following a spiritual retreat on a mountaintop, Lull experienced what he believed to be a divine revelation which he later recorded in his treatise called Ars Magna. In this work, he used concentric disks of wood and metal which, when rotated in the proper way, would generate logical proofs and deductions for questions posed to it. Leibniz's work on his mechanical calculator 400 years later was based on Lull's work here.
1500s: Clocks were invented. These are the first modern measuring devices. Mechanical animals, using the same technology as that used in clocks, were also produced in the 1500s.
1580: Rabbi Leow of Prague supposedly invented the Golem, a man made of clay, to destroy all of Israel's enemies. Golems have been a repeating motif in AI-related science fiction.
1642: Blaise Pascal develops the first mechanical calculator. It does not catch on right away, but once it does, it stays in use until the mid-20 th century.
1694: Gottfried Leibniz builds another mechanical calculator, called a step reckoner, which could add, subtract, multiply, divide, and find square roots.
1726: Gulliver's Travels was published. In it, the professor had forty of his kids turning cranks at once to produce words at random. He collected these words and thought that if he collected enough of them and put them together properly, he would have captured all of the world's knowledge in one place. —See Ramon Lull
1769: The Turk, introduced in 1769, was purported to be a machine that could play chess. It consisted of a chessboard, special pieces, and a mechanical man in a turban that would move the pieces. After winning many games and confounding many specialists, the Turk was found to be run by a human chess expert who sat in an empty space inside the machine and operated the machinery that made the Turk put the pieces in their proper places.
1811-1816: A group of anti-technology zealots known as Luddites go on a rampage in England, destroying machinery. Today, people who dislike technology are often referred to as Luddites.
1818: Mary Shelley published Frankenstein, a story about a reanimated human body. It became a classic, and it was one of the first novels to speculate about ways nonhuman intelligence could interact with humans.
1821: Charles Babbage invented the Difference Engine to help compile lists of logarithm and trigonometry tables. Upon completing it in 1832, he conceived the idea of a better machine that could perform not just one mathematical task but any kind of calculation.
1854: George Boole publishes his concept of symbolic logic, which uses operators like AND, OR, and NOT to handle data. Boolean logic serves as the basis for most of computer science.
1856: Charles Babbage, with financial support from Lady Lovelace, developed the blueprint for the Analytical Engine. This big brother to the Difference Engine was designed to perform all 4 mathematical operations and was to be fueled by a steam engine. It was never actually built but served as the prototype for calculators that arrived 100 years later.
1920: A Czech playwright by the name of Karel Capek wrote a play where the workers in the factory looked like human beings but were really simply machines. He called these machine robots because the Czech word for slave is robotnik. In his storyline, the people got lazy and the robots eventually took over and destroyed the world as we knew it until only two robots and zero humans were left.
1947: Norbert Wiener, the absentminded MIT professor, invented cybernetics- “the science of control and communication in the animal and the machine”. He was striving to study the relationships between the electrical circuits in the brain and the complex electrical circuitry of the huge calculating machines of his day.
1950: Alan Turing publishes “Computing Machinery and Intelligence”, offering a test to determine the intelligence of a machine.
1950: Isaac Asimov publishes his three laws of robotics.
1956: John McCarthy coins the term “Artificial Intelligence” at the Dartmouth Conference, the first conference on the subject.
1952-62: Arthur Samuel of IBM writes the first computer game that is capable of challenging a world champion. It plays checkers.
1958: John McCarthy invents LISP, a language often used in developing Artificial Intelligence programs.
1966: Joseph Weizenbaum of MIT wrote Eliza, a program that was meant to mimic or simulate a real-live conversation with a therapist.
1967: Lefevr, Baranov Trudolyubov from the Soviet Union studied the concept of reflexive control where you program the computer to be disobedient or err and thus trick the human that it is playing with into giving away their game playing strategy.
1968: The first computer to star in a movie, HAL 9000, makes 2001: A Space Odyssey a success.
1974: Ted Shortliffe's PhD dissertation used rule-based systems for representing data in a project sometimes called the first expert system.
1985: Harold Cohen demonstrates AARON, an automated drawing program.
1988: A self-replicating internet worm attacks countless computer systems across the country, frustrating many businesses and colleges.
1989: Dean Pomerleau creates an Autonomous Land Vehicle in a Neural Network (ALVINN) for Carnegie Mellon University. This system drove a car coast-to-coast for 2800 miles across the United States without human control.
1990s: MIT’s COG Project, led by Rod Brooks, works on building a humanoid robot.
1996: Gary Kasparov wins the first round in a war of man against computer in the realm of chess, beating his opponent, Deep Blue.
1997: The first Robo-Cup competition is held in Germany, where 40 different teams of robots played soccer against each other as 5000 spectators watched.
1997: Deep Blue, a chess-playing computer developed by IBM, beats the world chess champion Gary Kasparov.
1999: Sony releases Abio, a high-tech robotic dog.
2000: The robot Nomad explores Antarctica, searching for meteorite pieces.
2002: The University of Maryland uses neural networks to diagnose colon tumors, removing the need for surgery in some cases.
2003: Gary Kasparov and Deep Junior, the successor of Deep Blue, hold another chess match which results in a tie.
2005: A Chinese exchange student in Japan is arrested for creating software “bots” to beat up other people’s characters and steal their possessions in the game Lineage II. After his bots mugged the others’ accounts, he would sell the stolen goods for real money over a Japanese auction site.
2006: A robopet called Pleo has just hit the market and is modeled after a baby prehistoric lizard. It moves and interacts with its owner in a very fluid and lifelike way. It processes input from 38 separate sensors including touch, motion, sight, sound and infrared. It can sense your mood and display its own emotions as well. It is the most lifelike robot commercially available today.