The intellectual roots of AI, and the concept of intelligent machines, may be found in Greek mythology. Intelligent artifacts appear in literature since then, with real (and fraudulent) mechanical devices actually demonstrating behaviour with some degree of intelligence. After modern computers became available following World War II, it has become possible to create programs that perform difficult intellectual tasks. Even more importantly, general purpose methods and tools have been created that allow similar tasks to be performed. Good Places to Start A Brief History of Artificial Intelligence. By Bruce Buchanan, University Professor Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh.

A chronology of significant events in the history of AI, prepared for the Introduction to AI class at the University of Pittsburgh. [Note: We have begun to annotate his history by providing links to resources in AI TOPICS and elsewhere. ]The Big Picture - A Short History of Robotics and Thinking Machines. Part of the teaching guide for the Scientific American Frontiers in the classroom series: ROBOTS ALIVE! AI's Greatest Trends and Controversies. Marti A.

Hearst and Harm Hirsh, Editors. IEEE Intelligent Systems (January/February 2000). A timely and thought provoking collection of views from AI scholars and practitioners. (Also available in pdf. ) A Proposal for the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence. J.

McCarthy, M. L. Minsky, N. Rochester, and C. E. Shannon.

August 31, 1955. 'We propose that a 2 month, 10 man study of artificial intelligence be carried out during the summer of 1956 at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. The study is to proceed on the basis of the conjecture that every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it.' And this marks the debut of the term 'artificial intelligence.' Also see this interview with John McCarthy. The very early days.

An interview (available in PDF, Quicktime, and Realmedia) with Donald Michie, Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh, and currently a visitor at NSW University of Technology. 'Interested in AI from 1942, Donald Michie conceived, founded and directed the UK's first AI laboratory at Edinburgh, and has since been active in AI projects around the World... His talk will cover the period from 1942, when Alan Turing was a colleague at Bletchley Park, up to 1965, when the Edinburgh AI laboratory was truly launched. He will cover the theories, the practice, the personalities and the politics, and on past form may be expected to do so without pulling any punches.' This is just one of the 4 presentations given at the October 2002 seminar, Artificial Intelligence - Recollections of the Pioneers. Timeline exhibit at the Computer History Museum.

'This timeline explores the history of computing from 1945 to 1990. Each year features illustrated descriptions of significant innovations in hardware and software technology, as well as milestones in areas such as commercial applications and artificial intelligence. When appropriate, biographical sketches of the pioneers responsible for the advances are included.' Computers - wonderful photos, specs and more about EN IAC, AVIDA C, Manchester Mark I, Pilot ACE, MIT Whirlwind, UNIV AC I, Micra l, and many others. Software & Languages - here are just two examples from this exciting collection: 'Claude Shannon's 'The Mathematical Theory of Communication's how ed engineers how to code data so they could check for accuracy after transmission between computers. Shannon identified the bit as the fundamental unit of data and, coincidentally, the basic unit of computation.' ' LISP made its debut as the first computer language designed for writing artificial intelligence programs. Created by John McCarthy, LISP offered programmers flexibility in organization.' Robots/ Mechanical Life.

NPR Talk of the Nation: Science Friday With Ira Flat ow (August 30, 2002). 'This week, an automated convenience store opened in Washington. This rob-mart dispenses snacks, toiletries, and even DVDs. From housekeeping to the battlefield to your neighborhood convenience store, researchers are creating robots to live with us and work for us. In this hour, we " ll look at how robots may change our lives. Plus, early attempts to create mechanical life.' Guests: Rodney Brooks & Gaby Wood.

You can listen to the radio broadcast by clicking here. Timeline: Real robots - 'Robots are not new. They have been around for centuries in various forms. Here's a brief overview of the development of both robots and computers.' From BBC News. Readings Online As We May Think. By Vannevar Bush.

Atlantic Monthly, July 1945. A vision of the future in which computers assist humans in many activities. Claude E. Shannon: Founder of Information Theory. By Graham P. Collins.

Scientific American Explore (October 14, 2002). 'Shannon's M. I. T. master's thesis in electrical engineering has been called the most important of the 20 th century: in it the 22-year-old Shannon showed how the logical algebra of 19 th-century mathematician George Boole could be implemented using electronic circuits of relays and switches. This most fundamental feature of digital computers' design -- the representation of 'true' and 'false' and '0' and '1' as open or closed switches, and the use of electronic logic gates to make decisions and to carry out arithmetic -- can be traced back to the insights in Shannon's thesis.' Machine Translation's Past and Future.

A timeline covering the span from 1629 through the year 2264! Compiled by Kristin Demos and Mark Frauenfeld er (Wired, 8. 05 - May 2000). Knowledge Processing -- From File Servers to Knowledge Servers. By Edward Feigenbaum. 'This chapter from Ray Kurzweil's The Age of Intelligent Machines (published in 1990) addresses the history and development of AI, and where it was headed, circa 1990.' Excerpt: 'Like all creators, scientists and technologists must dream, must put forth a vision, or else they relegate their work to almost pointless incrementalism... The early dreaming included dreams about intelligent behavior at very high levels of competence.

Turing speculated on wide-ranging conversations between people and machines and on chess playing programs. Later Newell and Simon wrote about champion-level chess programs and began their work toward that end. Samuel (checker playing), Gelernter (geometry-theorem proving), and others shared the dream. At Stanford, Lederberg and I chose reasoning in science as our task and began work with Buchanan and Djerassi on building a program that would elucidate chemical structure at a high level of competence: the DENDRAL program.' Computers and Thought. Edited by Edward A.

Feigenbaum and Julian Feldman. AAAI Press. The following excerpt is from the Preface which is available online: 'Computers and Thought is indeed a treasure. Some of the papers are as important today for their fundamental ideas as they were in the late 1950 s and early 1960 s when they were written. Others are interesting as early milestones of fields that have expanded and changed dramatically. A few are interesting in that they represent work that simply did not go anywhere.

Some of the papers describe key work that is not typically taught any more, but is 'buried' deeply in the conceptual structure of AI? a heritage that needs to be honored and preserved... Today? s young AI researcher can not easily imagine the excitement of the early years of AI, from which the papers of this volume are drawn.' You can see which papers were included by viewing the Contents page.