AI, or artificial intelligence, is much in the news these days. AI is considered to be the field of computer science that studies how machines can perform tasks that require human intelligence–such as reasoning, learning, and problem-solving.
According to The Dartmouth (a student newspaper of Dartmouth College), “For six weeks in the summer of 1956, a group of scientists convened on Dartmouth’s campus (in Hanover, New Hampshire) for the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence. It was at this meeting that the term ‘artificial intelligence,’ was coined.” Dr. John McCarthy is generally considered the “Father of Artificial Intelligence” and given credit for the first use of this term.
Of course there were historical influences that shaped the development of AI before 1956. The arenas of literature and art; psychology and neuroscience; engineering and robotics; philosophy, logic and mathematics; and even the ancient myths and legends featuring artificial beings with intelligence or consciousness provided the inspiration, motivation, foundation, and challenges for the pioneers of AI who would later create the first artificial intelligence systems.
In 1956 the authors of ‘A Proposal For the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence” included John McCarthy, Dartmouth College; Marvin L. Minsky, Harvard University; Nathaniel Rochester, I.B.M. Corporation, and Claude E Shannon, Bell Telephone Laboratories. Each of these individuals went on to excel in their fields of study and interest.
Decades after this 1956 event, the field of artificial intelligence has made significant advancements. Not only do we use or interact with AI in practical way on a daily basis (from voice assistants like Siri and Alexa to chatbot telephone assistants) but also creatively to produce artwork (see the examples here), or to assist with research projects (using AI-powered search engines that summarize answers to complex questions). Whether AI will eventually be considered a blessing or a curse, only time will tell.
As for the question, “Was AI (Artificial Intelligence) made in New Hampshire?” essentially the reader can assume that though the term, “artificial intelligence” was coined for a project meeting held in Hanover, New Hampshire, it is a certainty that AI was not made in New Hampshire alone. It was influenced by many precursors, developments and individuals throughout the world.
*The Birthplace of AI* by Jørgen Veisdal
Photograph of AI Project Attendees
Dartmouth Hall Commemorative Plaque. Photo: Joe Mehling