A long time back, in 1926, a family emigrated from Ireland to the USA. The family was not rich; in fact, they were jobless during the time of depression in the US. The father worked as a clothing labor organizer and the mother was an activist at a women’s suffrage movement. In 1927, they gave birth to a boy, named John. John was a child prodigy so despite starting his schooling late due to child illness, he finished it early.
While in school he developed a deep interest in Mathematics and joined BS program at CalTech with an intention of becoming a professor in mathematics. He graduated in 1948 and further moved on to pursue his Masters. In 1951, he received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton. Via Dartmouth and MIT, he became a full-time professor at Stanford in 1962, where he remained until his retirement.
His research was ignited after attending a conference on “Cerebral Mechanisms in Behaviour”, and so began his quest to develop machines that could think like people. His research was based on the objective to explore ways to make a machine that could reason like a human, was capable of abstract thought, problem-solving and self-improvement. He believed that “every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it.”
Today, John McCarthy is known as the father of Artificial Intelligence, computer scientist pioneer, and inventor of AI. He coined the term Artificial Intelligence in 1955 for the 1956 AI at Dartmouth Conference.
AI or Artificial Intelligence will change the world. This phenomenon is also referred to as the fourth industrial revolution.
Nils J. Nilsson has provided a useful definition:
“Artificial intelligence is that activity devoted to making machines intelligent, and intelligence is that quality that enables an entity to function appropriately and with foresight in its environment.”
But AI is not a technology of the future, it is all around us today!
Some examples include:-
- Products are recommended to you on Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, and many other online shopping sites.
- You listen to music on youtube, and there will be a listen to recommendations on the side.
- When you chat with customer support (you are actually chatting with chatbots) that’s AI.
- When you ask your Amazon echo to change your playlist, that’s AI.
But these are only humble beginnings of AI and there’s much more to come. Analysts believe that one day AI technology could be your lawyer, accountant, and your doctor.
But how can a machine recreate the technical human expertise acquired over the many years? Where accuracy and safety are critical matters, can we confidently rely on robots?
The answer to this is that companies like Google, Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, Uber, Facebook, Apple, Skype, Salesforce, shell and many emerging companies are investing millions of dollars to make this phenomena work.