The Summers and Winters of Artificial Intelligence

The Summers and Winters of Artificial Intelligence

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7368-5.ch014
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Artificial intelligence (AI) is a branch of computer science whose aim is to make computers intelligent. These “intelligent” activities include thinking, reasoning, receiving stimuli from the environment and responding to them, solving puzzles, speaking and understanding language, etc. It was John McCarthy who coined the word artificial intelligence at the conference on computers in Dartmouth in 1954, indicating that its goal was to achieve a digital equivalent of human-level intelligence. In the 1970s, AI entered a low-productive period known as the AI winter. During this period, scientific and notably commercial activities in AI dropped dramatically. The victory of IBM's Deep Blue AI program over the reigning world chess champion in 1997 is probably hailed as the biggest achievement of AI. Yet another great AI achievement is the victory of IBM's Watson over the world Jeopardy champions in 2011. This chapter is a brief outline of how, through numerous ups and downs, AI has come to be where it currently is, and where we might expect it to be heading in the next couple of decades.
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As it happens to any new technology, the history of AI, too, ran through a hype curve (Menzies, 2003). The early AI programs like the ones elegantly proving theorems and skillfully playing board games aroused great interest and expectations. This was followed by the successful application of Expert Systems in business and academia. This early period in the development of AI is referred to as the “peak of inflated expectations” shown in the AI hype curve (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

The AI hype curve


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