History of Artificial Intelligence

Major developments in understanding human intelligence and creating artificial intelligence

1837-07-01 00:00:00

Analytical Engine

Charles Babbage dreams up the first computer--a successor to his Difference Engine--but fails to build it.

1913-07-01 00:00:00

Formal logic

Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead published Principia Mathematica, which revolutionized formal logic.

1928-07-01 00:00:00

Differential Analyzer

Vannevar Bush creates a analog computer that can solve differential equations.

1931-07-01 00:00:00

Godel incompleteness

Godel proves the Incompleteness Theorem: we can never know all truths in mathematics. This shatters the long-held belief that math is a way of knowing all truths.

1936-07-01 00:00:00

Turing machine

Turing defines an "a-machine," defining what a computer is mathematically for the first time.

1943-07-01 00:00:00


Norbert Wiener champions cybernetics---making robots using feedback systems.

1948-07-01 00:00:00

Information Theory

Claude Shannon defines information mathematically and makes possible data compression and error correction in "A Mathematical Theory of Communication."

1950-07-01 00:00:00

Turing Test

Turing suggests intelligence test.

1953-07-01 00:00:00


James Watson, Francis Crick, and Rosalind Franklin discover the double-helix structure of DNA.

1957-07-01 00:00:00

General Problem Solver

Newell, Shaw and Simon demonstrated the General Problem Solver (GPS).

1958-07-01 00:00:00

Geometry Theorem Prover

Herbert Gelernter and Nathan Rochester (IBM) described a theorem prover in geometry

1959-07-01 00:00:00

Frog vision

Lettvin studies frogs and finds that their eyes are specially attuned to moving flies.

1960-07-01 00:00:00

Bayesian modeling

Ray Solomonoff lays the foundations of a mathematical theory of AI, introducing universal Bayesian methods for inductive inference and prediction.

1961-07-01 00:00:00

Calculus solver

James Slagle (Ph.D. dissertation, MIT) writes the first symbolic integration program (SAINT), which can solve freshman-level calculus problems.

1964-07-01 00:00:00

Natural language for algebra word problems

Danny Bobrow's dissertation at MIT shows that computers can understand natural language to the extent of correctly solving algebra word problems.

1965-07-01 00:00:00


Joseph Weizenbaum (MIT) built ELIZA, an interactive program that carries on a dialogue in English language on any topic. One version "simulated" a psychotherapist.

1966-07-01 00:00:00


1970-07-01 00:00:00

Near miss learning

Patrick Winston's Ph.D. program (ARCH) at MIT uses near-miss learning to learn concepts from examples in children's books.

1970-07-01 00:00:00

AI Winter

A period of failure of confidence and funding for AI.

1971-07-01 00:00:00


Terry Winograd produces SHRDLU, a program that can follow instructions in a "blocks world" and answer questions about how it planned its actions.

1973-05-12 20:32:09

Automated Mathematician

Douglas Lenat's AM program (Stanford PhD dissertation) "discovers" interesting mathematical facts.

1973-05-12 20:32:09


MYCIN identifies diagnoses patients by identifying bacterial infections based on symptoms and prescribing medicine.

1975-07-01 00:00:00


Minsky proposes frames as a representation for AI.

1975-07-01 00:00:00

Visual processing

David Marr gives a theory of how we see 3-dimensional objects.

1979-07-01 00:00:00


Douglas Hofstadter publishes Gode, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid.

1980-07-01 00:00:00

Expert systems

1983-05-14 09:57:17

Commonsense reasoning

MIT starts Open Mind Common Sense, an effort to accumulate a database of commonsense facts.

1983-07-01 00:00:00

The Connection Machine

Danny Hillis produces the first massively parallel computer.

1986-07-01 00:00:00

The Society of Mind

In describing intelligence to a general audience, Marvin Minsky explains that the brain is a combination of actors.

1987-07-01 00:00:00

Subsumption architecture

Rodney Brooks constructed an intelligent machine that wanders around office environments and avoid obstacles. He used a new engineering philosophy, called subsumption architecture, for building AI: build them up layer by layer, with each layer concentrating on a different behavior, and test the machine in the real world after each step.

1989-01-03 00:00:00

Birth of the World Wide Web

Tim Berners-Lee develops the world wide web.

1993-07-01 00:00:00


Gary Borchardt creates PATHFINDER, a program that carries out casual reconstruction--read a written description and comprehend it well enough to answer questions such as “why led to event x?” or “how did object y change?”

1997-05-11 00:00:00

Deep Blue

The Deep Blue chess machine (IBM) defeats the world chess champion, Garry Kasparov.

2000-07-01 00:00:00

Smart toys

2001-07-01 00:00:00

Quantum computer

Researchers factored the number 15 using a 7-qubit NMR quantum computer.

2002-01-04 00:46:56


Elizabeth Spelke shows that language processing interferes with spatial abilities.

2004-07-01 00:00:00

Mars Rovers

Mars Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity) begin their exploration of the Martian surface.

2005-07-01 00:00:00

Driverless car

Sebastian Thrun's team at Stanford create the robotic vehicle Stanley. By 2012, 3 states have passed laws allowing autonomous cars.

2006-07-01 00:00:00

Multimodal perception

Michael Coen shows how we can use lip-reading to help with speech recognition and learning. (1976: McGurk effect)

2006-08-06 00:00:00

Hutter prize

Marcus Hutter proposes that information compression is a hard AI problem, and announces the Hutter prize for compressing Wikipedia text.

2008-07-01 00:00:00

Evolution of intelligence

Ian Tattersall proposes that a single evolutionary event in a small population of Homo Sapiens was responsible for the development of intelligence.

2010-07-01 00:00:00


Researchers at UC Berkeley reconstruct YouTube videos that people are watching by measuring brain activity with fMRI. People construct primitive brain-computer interfaces with EEGs.

2011-02-01 00:00:00


IBM's Watson defeats the two greatest Jeopardy! champions, Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings.

2011-07-01 00:00:00


Patrick Winston proposes that story understanding is the key to intelligence, and implements Genesis, a story understanding engine.

2012-07-01 00:00:00


MIT researchers launch a crowdsourced initiative to map the human brain.

2013-07-10 00:00:00


The X-47B, the US Navy's first autonomous and unmanned combat jet, flies and lands successfully.

History of Artificial Intelligence

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