Early Views of AI

This is an incomplete list of early works we have found discussing AI or AI related problems.


1. Claude Shannon (1950), in Programming a Computer for Playing Chess, offers the following list of “possible developments in the immediate future,”

  • Machines for designing filters, equalizers, etc
  • Machines for designing relay and switching circuits
  • Machines which will handle routing of telephone calls based on the individual circumstances rather than by fixed patterns
  • Machines for performing symbolic (non-numerical) mathematical operations
  • Machines capable of translating from one language to another
  • Machines for making strategic decisions in simplified military operations
  • Machines capable of orchestrating a melody
  • Machines capable of logical deduction

2. The proposal for Dartmouth conference on AI offers the following “aspects of the artificial intelligence project”:

  • Automatic computers. This appears to be an application rather than an aspect of the problem; if you can describe how to do a task precisely, it can be automated.
  • How Can a Computer be Programmed to Use a Language
  • How can a set of (hypothetical) neurons be arranged so as to form concepts
  • Theory of the size of a calculation
  • Self-improvement
  • Abstractions. “A direct attempt to classify these and to describe machine methods of forming abstractions from sensory and other data would seem worthwhile.”
  • Randomness and creativity

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