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What is AI: History

Watch the video above where Marcus answering this question, when was the first AI application?
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OK. You had some thoughts now what can be AI and what not, and maybe also you got feedback from others. But now let’s try to define a bit more what is AI. Let’s go a bit through the history, when was maybe the first AI application? Take a guess. In the last hundred years, the last thousand years. I can get even very far to the past and have a proposal. What do you think of that one? 250 before Christ, a water clock from stimulus and that one was regulating the water flow.
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So it got some input the water and then was regulating the perfect output based on whatever input it got, disregarding if it was more or less water flow, it was very perfectly regulating the flow and giving the perfect time. Is that AI? Somehow, parts of it are also in AI systems, but this water clock is not yet AI. It is a control theory system and similar systems later on, like a steam machine regulator or a mathematical theory about these cybernetic systems developed in the 19th century and later on. So that’s not yet AI, but some of these aspects belong to AI. Another one is this process by Frederick Winston Taylor.
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He looked into a steelworks and wanted to see, how can we optimise production of steel? So he broke down the process of production into many, many small steps and then asked several of these employees in the steelworks, How do you do each individual step? And then he came up with a way to make each step optimal in terms of time, but maybe also in terms of waste of material and then define the kind
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of rulebook: That’s the way, how you have to solve these individual sub-steps. This process led to a rapid increase of the production. Production was doubled, and that made it all so much more efficient and cost efficient. So this “breaking down a bigger process into smaller processes” is a quite interesting aspect. It’s not AI per se. But this idea behind this idea of a general problem solver, and that’s what we will also see later on in the lecture, where you have a bigger problem, you break it down into smaller problems and then you try to find a solution for each of them and the optimal way and put everything together.
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So it’s not AI but the major foundations are there for applied AI
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How about that one? That one is commonly agreed being the first work of AI. It’s the Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts neuron. It’s inspired by brain activity,
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a way to model how a neuron works. That was in the 1940s developed and integrated ideas of brain activity was the neuron from the analysis of not logic. And also, the program theory of Turing and all together was put together into these learnable neurons. So it’s a self-learning system which can perform very simple equations so it could calculate and various other things. And this neuron is one of the major foundations of AI, and we will learn a little bit more about these neurons in future lectures.

The generally agreed to be the first work on AI​ was in 1943 by Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts, when they combines three concepts​:

The three concepts:

  • The function of neurons in the brain​

  • Formal analysis of logic​

  • Programming theory of Turing​

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