The phrase “artificial intelligence” (AI) most likely brings to mind movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Ex Machina, and The Terminator franchise. But if you have a smartphone, artificial intelligence, or AI, is right in your pocket. Do you have an Amazon Echo or Google Home? How about a Nest Thermostat? You’ve been interacting with AI!
In fact, the idea of AI dates back to Greek mythology and Talos, an automaton charged with protecting Crete from invaders.
How did AI go from Greek myth to a regular part of your life? Here are some significant AI milestones and other fun facts to explain:
- 1950s: the term “artificial intelligence” is coined by computer scientist John McCarthy.
- 1998: AI is introduced to the masses through Furby, an electronic toy sold by Tiger Electronics, and later Hasbro, that mimics language learning and personality development. The more you play with it, and how you play with it, influences its personality.
- 2000: Kismet, a robot head capable of making human facial expressions in response to human interactions, is created by Massachusetts Institution of Technology associate professor Cynthia Breazeal.
- 2009: Google’s self-driving car project is born.
- 2011: IBM’s Watson beats Jeopardy! champions Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings. Rutter, at the time, was the highest-earning contestant on Jeopardy!, while Jennings had the longest Jeopardy! winning streak.
- 2015-2017: Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo beats Go champions Fan Hui, Lee Sedo, and Ke Jie, respectively.
- 2016: Google’s self-driving car project becomes Waymo, a self-driving technology company.
- 2017: Stephen Hawking warns that the advanced development of artificial intelligence could be the “worst even in the history of civilization.”
- 2018: Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, says that artificial intelligence could create an “immortal dictator,” while Google CEO Sundar Pichai cites it as “one of the most important things that humanity is working on.”
- Google Maps uses AI to help you navigate.
- There are more than 30,000 AI chatbots on Facebook Messenger being used by millions of people all over the world, and more than 37 percent of Americans are willing to make purchases via a chatbot.
- MASSIVE is a piece of software developed for The Lord of the Rings trilogy to create those memorable battle scenes. It’s also used in World War Z, Hugo, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, as well as Game of Thrones.
- Your email spam filter uses AI to weed out potentially infected messages.
- AI Powers suggested responses for email, messaging apps, and even texts.
- Most agree that AI has been part of the video gaming world since Space Invaders. AI is advancing with game development, creating non-player characters that learn as you play.
- Ubisoft’s Commit Assistant is an AI developed to help catch software bugs before a code commit.
- The Associated Press uses AI to help write 3,700 earnings report news stories a quarter, 12 times the number of earnings report stories its business staff can write.
Almost anything you do or interact with today involves AI. Sometimes you know it, like when a suggested response to a text message pops up on your phone, and sometimes you don’t.