“There is no security against the ultimate development of mechanical consciousness”
Samuel Butler, “Erewhon”
We could say that 1870 was the year that caused the industrial revolution to begin. It was the time of investments and patents that let to the rise of a new economy. It was also the beginning of a number of processes (like the Bessemer Steel producing process, like the expansion of railroads, development of steam engines…) which let us develop new technologies after World War II.
This development was not free from speculations from the very beginning. It was first predicted in 1872, in Samuel Butler’s “Erewhon”, where he predicted the tech development to go in the direction of independent “machine consciousness” (although the machines that times were purely mechanical!).
Today, watching a sci-fi movie, we still have the thought - is this reality possible to happen in 20 years or so?. The tough part of these speculations is that we find it hard to imagine the future basing on what’s yet unknown. But it didn’t stop Butler nearly 150 years ago from going as far as foretelling the Terminator-like ending, with machines getting out of human control.
Now, this is what we’ve got shortly following “Erewhon.” We have the gilded age, an age of progress and industrial revolution that changed the life of billions of people. The social darwinist mentality of “we are better” and ethnic nationalism of World War II did cause technology development to go toward the military industry complex. This was when we saw the rise of electrical machines, radar technologies, etc.
The interest in the technological development was getting further and further, turning people's eyes towards the vague concept of artificial intelligence. And it didn't take long until Alan Turing, the English mathematician and computer scientist presented his statement - the Turing test.
Listen how it influenced the further course of history.
Turing test, Dartmouth conference and the birth of perceptrons
The laboratory research brought results in further decades, bringing milestones in the progress of AI development. In my next blog post, I'm going to talk about what happened next, and what brought us to where we are now with AI studies.
It’s impossible to go deep into all the topics I mentioned in a single presentation. If you’d like a more comprehensive understanding of what was discussed, check out the resources below:
- Biographies of Dartmouth AI fathers:
- The detailed description of the Turing test
- The model of a perceptron
Don’t miss this talk's continuation, covering the further history of AI and its particular use cases.
Enjoy every second of them!