The history of AI (3/3)

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The history of AI (3/3)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems to be the next big thing. Nowadays, it is impossible to avoid the subject. Either when discussing with clients, when watching the news, or simply when looking at the supercomputers lodged in our pockets. AI is quickly moving into our everyday life and is becoming mainstream. But just how ‘new’ is this latest technology? It is much older than you would imagine. Long before your connected home could order groceries by drone-delivery, humanity was already fantasizing and talking about mechanical and artificial beings, as shown in ancient Greek and Egyptian myths.

In this video, we’ll finish our journey through the history of artificial intelligence. Last stop: AI embedded in our everyday life.

This is part 3 of a series of 3. Check part 1, part 2, and enjoy the entire history of AI.

1990  today

Cross-field collaboration

Thankfully, the lack of popular belief in the field proved to be incredibly beneficial. Free of unachievable goals and public scrutiny, researchers could work in peace and came up with findings that are still incredibly relevant today.

Another surprising effect of the lack of funding was that AI researchers started to create more specific subfields and started to work alongside experts from other fields in order to finance their research. This cross-field collaboration made AI more rigorous, more scientific, and made it incorporate concepts like probability theory and classical optimization. A huge victory for the field.

Computer beats best chess player in the world

Though AI was negatively portrayed in pop culture, through movies like the Matrix, Terminator, or 2001: A Space Odyssey, it made giant leaps. The combination of better hardware, new theorems and techniques, and new “internet-age” programming languages such as Python, Java, JavaScript, R, or PHP, resulted in new milestones.

Deep Blue beat chess world-champion Gary Kasparov in what will forever remain a huge victory for AI. For the first time, in a highly publicized fashion, AI had shown that it could be better than humans at a task widely considered as the epitome of human intelligence. In the meantime, without necessarily receiving the credit it deserved, AI continued to solve very difficult problems. In data mining, medical diagnosis, banking software, or speech recognition. This was also at that time that the world was introduced to Google and its infamous search engine.

THE SOCIAL MEDIA ERA

After nearly two decades of being shunned by the general public and the business world, AI made a huge comeback in public opinion. As Millennials and the Internet generation became a larger part of the population, enthusiasm about AI and technology soared again. In 2006, Facebook went public, Twitter was founded, Youtube was bought by Google, and a new economic landscape was born.

The social media era turned the business world upside down. Heaps of data about people’s likes and dislikes were now available, everything had to be faster, better, and more personalized. The world became too fast and too complex for humans to handle alone. They needed help and turned back to AI as their savior, as terms like “Deep Learning”, “Data Science”, or even “Big Data” became mainstream.

AI EMBEDDED IN OUR EVERYDAY LIFE

In the past few years, AI has become more and more embedded in our everyday life. Siri can plan meetings for you. Netflix knows what movies you will enjoy. Supermarkets offer you personalized discounts based on your shopping habits. Facebook can tell you who is in your pictures and who you might know. And Google knows what you want before you even finish typing.

Even in pop culture, nerds made a comeback. Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs are held as modern-day heroes. And great news for me and my fellow colleagues, data scientist has even been coined the sexiest job of the 21st century.

AI FOR BUSINESS

AI is not only there in our everyday life. It also provides big opportunities for the business. It can, for instance, be used in law or healthcare. Companies in the logistics industry use it to improve their resource planning, which also allows them to be more green. Digital agents are utilized to improve customer care or to help current employees to be better at their job. These are just a few of the many examples of using AI in business today.

I believe we can honestly conclude that the future of AI looks very promising.