The Original Pioneers of Artificial Intelligence: A Look into the History


Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become an essential part of modern life, and its use has been rapidly growing since its inception. But what few people realize is that the history of AI goes back much further than the modern tech giants that are leading the charge in the field today. In this article, we’ll explore the original pioneers of AI and the companies that helped shape the history of this revolutionary technology.


The Early Days of AI Research

The history of AI dates back to the 1950s, when the term “artificial intelligence” was first coined by computer scientist John McCarthy. At the time, McCarthy and other researchers were exploring the possibilities of creating machines that could think and act like humans. This early research was largely theoretical, but it laid the groundwork for the development of the modern AI technology we know today.

In 1956, the first AI conference was held at Dartmouth College, and this event is now widely considered to be the birth of the modern AI field. At the conference, researchers discussed the potential of AI and its implications for the future. During this time, AI research was mainly conducted by academic institutions, such as MIT and Carnegie Mellon University.

The Rise of the AI Industry

In the 1970s, AI research began to move beyond academia and into the private sector. IBM was one of the first companies to invest in AI research, and they developed the first AI-based computer system in 1974. This system, known as the IBM 704, was the first commercial computer to feature AI capabilities. IBM’s investment in AI research helped to spur the development of other AI-based systems, such as the first expert system, which was developed in the late 1970s.

In the 1980s, AI research continued to grow, and companies like Symbolics, SRI International, and Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN) began to develop AI-based systems. The 1980s also saw the emergence of the first AI-based robots, such as Shakey the Robot. These early robots were developed by Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and were the first robots to use AI to “think” and navigate their environment.


The Modern AI Industry

In the 1990s, AI research began to move beyond the academic and private sectors and into the public sector. Governments around the world began investing in AI research, and the US Department of Defense created the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to fund AI research. This period also saw the emergence of the first AI-based software, such as IBM’s Deep Blue chess-playing program.

Today, AI research is conducted by a wide variety of companies, from tech giants like Google and Microsoft to startups like DeepMind and Vicarious. These companies are using AI to develop a wide range of applications, from self-driving cars to automated customer service systems. AI is also being used to develop new technologies, such as natural language processing and computer vision, which are revolutionizing the way we interact with computers and the world around us.


The history of AI is long and complex, and it’s clear that the original pioneers of AI research laid the groundwork for the modern AI industry. From IBM’s early investments in AI research to the emergence of the first AI-based robots and software, the history of AI is filled with groundbreaking developments that have shaped the world we live in today. As AI technology continues to evolve, it’s sure to bring even more revolutionary changes to our lives.