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Monday, September 8, 2003

That’s how AI evolved
Jaspreet Bedi

ARTIFICAL Intelligence (AI) is the branch of computer science concerned with making computers behave like humans. A lot has been done in the field of AI. The history of AI can be divided into the following stages:

  • Logic

  • Cybernetics

  • Formal languages

  • Personal computers.

  • Game playing

  • Official birth of AI

Logic: This stage occurred between 1920 and 1930, when the work of Kurt Godel, Alan Turing, Alonzo Church, i.e. the logicians started. It helped perform proposition calculus and predicate logic. Information Technology led them to conclude that facts and ideas from a natural language could be formally described. Alan Turing even demonstrated in 1936 that a simple computer processor could manipulate symbols well as numbers. The resulting machine was termed Alan Turing machine.

Cybernetics: By cybernetics we mean communication in human and machine. The stage is supposed to have occurred between ’40s and ’50s. This study of communication was an active area of research during that period. The term Cybernetics was introduced by Norbert Weiner. It combined the concepts from information theory, feedback control and electronic computers etc.

Formal languages: This stage was actually an outgrowth of the very first stage when the importance of logic was realised. It occurred in fifties. In the general field of linguistics, the stage helped provide various new approaches to language theories.

Commercial computers: This stage included work of Claude Shanon on Information Theory. Neurological theories and models of the brain conceived by psychologists, including introduction to Boolean algebra, switching theory and statistical decision theory etc. were the main highlights of this stage.

Game playing: It was a pivotal stage in the development of artificial intelligence. It was the period often remembered for chess-playing program developed at MIT, simulation programs, machine translation programs and storage of large dictions in computers.

Official birth of AI: The mid-fifties is generally referred to as the period of the official birth of AI. During this period, a summer workshop was held at Dartmarth College. IBM sponsored it. Automatic theorem proving and new programming languages were the hot issues then. The stage was marked by Noam Chomsky’s work on the Theory of Generative Grammars, development of Fortran, Rosenblatts’ preceptrons, pattern recognition concept, John McCarthy development of LISP (list processor, a programming language), GPS by Newell, Shaw and Simon, Gelernter Geometry Theorem proving machine (written in Fortran) and EPAM (Elementary Perceiver and Memoriser) developed by Edward Feigenbaum etc.

Expert systems and later work: Around 1965, the work of Robinson on revolution as inference in logic was the major achievement in AI.

Apart from it, Macsyma, a large interactive program by William Martin & Joel Moses for solution of various problems of mathematics, was initiated. It was written in LISP. Various researches have been done after that period. Yet a lot needs to be done.

Aibo evolves into AIBOne

AIBO is already an intelligent robot dog with its own individuality, but Sony Corp believes it can develop further if it plays with toys.

So Sony said last week that it would roll out a new Aibo model with the AIBOne, a pink-and-white plastic bone.

With the new toy, Aibo can learn up to 20 playing patterns such as picking up the AIBOne or using it to move objects such as a ball, a Sony spokesperson said.

The new Aibo-whose name is taken from "artificial intelligence" and the Japanese word "aibo", meaning "buddy"- has improved communication skills and visual sensors to express more sophisticated emotions than its predecessor, Sony said.

The new Aibo, priced at 1,85,000 yen ($1,600), will go on sale at the beginning of November, and Sony starts taking orders on September 27. Sony hopes to ship 10,000 units of the new breed as early as possible, the spokeswoman said. Aibo, a sell-out success when it debuted in 1999, has so far sold more than 1,30,000 units around the globe. — Reuters