A Short History of Artificial Intelligence

What is Artificial Intelligence?

What has Artificial Intelligence reached in the past? What are appreciable milestones of Artificial Intelligence in the last years? What will Artificial Intelligence solve in 5 years, 20 years, 50 years or 100 years from now? And how will look Artificial Intelligence the future?

There are many question around Artificial Intelligence. We already can answer some of them and talk about what we have solved with Artificial Intelligence in the past.

On the other hand talking about future scenarios, especially if we talk about superintelligence, turns out difficult. But there are some scenarios we can think and evaluate about.

We call us, humans, intelligent, because we all do this mentioned things. We perceive our environment, learn from it and take action based on what we discovered.

The same applies to animals. The interesting point about intelligence on animals is, that there are many different species and because of that we can compare intelligence on between species.

In both cases (human intelligence and animal intelligence) we talk about natural intelligence (NI).

Next to humans and animals there has been argued about plant intelligence. Intelligence in plants shows off kind of different from humans or animals. The main reason is here because plants are not having a brain or neuronal network, but they react to their environment. Plant intelligence is a very interesting topic on its own, because plant intelligence is not instantly visible through reactions through movement or lute.

If we talk about Artificial Intelligence (AI) we refer to a subfield of Computer Science. Artificial Intelligence is acted by machines, computers and mainly software. Machines mimic, here we see why it is called artificial, some kind of cognitive function based on environment, observations, rewards and learning process.

To understand more about Artificial Intelligence we look at the history of Artificial Intelligence to see what Artificial Intelligence is capable of and how his status quo is related to the present.

The play is quite interesting, because of different reason. First it is introducing the term robot, even if represents not exactly the modern idea of robots. Next it is also telling the story of the creation of robots, so some kind of artificial intelligence, which first seems to be a positive effect to the humans, but later on the is the robot rebellion which threat the whole human race.

Artificial Intelligence in literature and movies is a big topic for its own. The example of R.U.R. should have shown the importance and influence for Artificial Intelligence on researches and society.

Some years after the end of World War 2, Turing introduced his widely known Turing Test, which was an attempt to define machines intelligent. The idea behind the test was that are machine (e.g. a computer) is then called intelligent, if a machine (A) and a person (B) communicate through natural language and a second person ©, a so-called elevator, can not detect which of the communicators (A or B) is the machine.

Machines will be capable, within twenty years, of doing any work what man can do.” — Herbert A. Simon (CMU)

“Within a generation … the problem of creating ‘artificer intelligence’ will substantially be solved” — Marvin Minsky (MIT)

That was in the 1960s. The progress slowed down in the following years. Because of the failing recognizing of the difficulty of the tasks promises were broken.

Expert systems are programs that answer question and solve problems in a specific domain. They emulate an expert in a specific branch and solve problems by rules. There are two types of engines in expert systems: First, there is the knowledge engine, which represents facts and rules about a specific topic. Second, there is the inference engine, which applies the rules and facts from the knowledge engine to new facts.

Synthesis of Integral Design

Deep Blue used tree search to calculate up to a maximum of 20 possible moves. It evaluated positions by a value function mainly written by hand, which was later optimized by analyzing thousand of games. Deep Blue also contained an opening and endgame library of many grandmaster games.

In 1997 DeepBlue was the 259th most powerful supercomputer with 11.38 GFLOPS. In comprising: The most powerful supercomputer in 1997 had 1,068 GFLOPS and today (December 2017) the most powerful supercomputer has 93,015 GFLOPS.

FLOPS stand for floating-point operations per second and the ‘G’ in GFLOPS stands for Giga. So the equivalent of 1 GFLOPS are 1⁰⁹ FLOPS.

This all is possible through Big data, faster computers and advancements in machine learning techniques in the last years.

With the usage of Neural Networks complicated tasks like video processing, text analysis and speech recognition can be tackled now and the solutions which are already existing will become better in the next years.

In 2015 they further introduced a smarter agent, who successfully played 49 classic Atari games by itself.

Next to classic games from old retro consoles DeepMind is developing an AI for more complex game, like e.g. Starcraft 2. Starcraft 2 is a Real Time Strategy (RTS) game, which is the most popular 1 vs.1 E-Sport title. Starcraft 2 is very popular in South Korea and the best Starcraft 2 pro player come from South Korea. Nevertheless there are many European and North American pro player who play for living. Starcraft 2 is a much more complex game than classic video games: There are much more possible actions you can do, you do not know everything about your opponent and you have to scout him to explore what he is doing. In Starcraft 2 there are also dozens of strategy decision to choose from every minute and in general much more to care about comparing to classic video games.

The current AI is not very good at the moment and it only can play mini games like building units. About the Starcraft 2 AI I am very exciting about, because I am a big Starcraft 2 fan and I am exciting about how the AI will change the Starcraft 2 meta game and what new tactics it will explore.

If you are more interested in the story about AlphaGo I recommend the movie about it. In my opinion the movie is great and shows, next to the technical impact of the AI, the impact on the Go community.

In 2017 DeepMind published the next generation of AlphaGo. AlphaGo Zero is build up on reduced hardware and just learned Go to play against itself. After three days of training AlphaGo Zero was stronger than the version of AlphaGo who defeated Lee Sedol and won against his younger version with 100–0. After 40 days of training it also defeated his former version of AlphaGo Zero.

This answer is probably very unsatisfying, therefore let’s talk about possible scenarios.

Superintelligence takes AGI to the next stage. superintelligence refers to an AGI, who is smarter than a human and can outperform a human in any intellectual task that a human being can.

The question, when there will be AGI and when there will be superintelligence, is of course difficult to answer (as nearly all answers who refers to future prediction). Nick Bostrom, who is a AI research on Oxford University, evaluates this question in a paper.

The AI takeover refers to the scenario, that a superintelligence will take over the world and will fight against the human race. It is a popular science fiction theme and it is started to use 100 years ago in R.U.R. and still being used in more modern movies like Terminator or Matrix. So is it only fiction or is it possible, that AI can take over the world one day?

I am not 100% sure about it. I favor more the opinion about that there will no AI takeover. But there are also many people like Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates who are concerned about possible the possibilities of AI. Therefore I think we should not call AI takeover as a pure fiction scenario, we should be aware of it and act responsible.

If you are interested in the topic of AGI and Superintelligence, I recommend you the read the book by Nick Bostrom “Superintelligence — Path, Dangers, Strategies”.

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