Father of Artificial Intelligence – 11 Innovators Made AI

In this blog, we are going to see the Father(s) of Artificial Intelligence and the first scientist and Innovators who Made AI.

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has become one of the fastest-growing and most disruptive technologies in the world, but what many don’t know is that its origins date back to the mid-1950s, when John McCarthy coined the term Artificial Intelligence.

Who is the First Father of Artificial Intelligence?

The field of Artificial Intelligence has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few decades, as we’ve slowly unlocked some of the mysteries of how our brains work, and what makes human intelligence unique.

A great deal of credit should go to some of the early innovators in the field, who made groundbreaking contributions and breakthroughs that are still influencing AI research today.

One of these innovators was John McCarthy, widely recognized as the father of Artificial Intelligence due to his astounding contribution to the field of Computer Science and AI.

One of the greatest innovators in the field was John McCarthy, widely recognized as the father of Artificial Intelligence due to his astounding contribution to the field of Computer Science and AI.

It was in the mid-1950s that McCarthy coined the term Artificial Intelligence during a presentation at Dartmouth College, and has served as one of the most influential figures in AI and Computer Science since.

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First 11 Father(s) of Artificial Intelligence

In the below text we will explore some of the key innovators in AI who have helped build this technology into what it is today.

1. Alan Turing

In 1950, Turing published his seminal paper Computing Machinery and Intelligence in which he proposed that a computer can be said to think if it has an intelligence rating equivalent to that of a human.

During World War II, he played a vital role in decrypting Nazi messages by breaking their Enigma code.

Alan Turing proposed the concept of AI  using what is now known as The Turing Test.

He was also responsible for laying down several principles for machine learning and cognitive science, including the imitation game or more commonly known as the Turing test.

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2. John McCarthy

In 1956, McCarthy proposed that artificial intelligence could be achieved by programming a computer with knowledge relevant to a specific task.

He also helped develop one of the first programming languages for artificial intelligence research and worked on early AI projects at Stanford Research Institute (SRI).

Before long, he attracted fellow scientists like Marvin Minsky and Claude Shannon to study emerging questions about intelligent machines.

This group was known as The Father(s) of Artificial Intelligence.

3. Raj Reddy

Over 50 years he has pioneered the fields of artificial intelligence and served on the faculty of Stanford and Carnegie Mellon.

He was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), during which he developed a lot of innovative ideas regarding language understanding and computer vision.

He also managed to bring humans closer to computers by building speech-recognition systems and software. In 1996, Reddy received an A.M.

Turing Award in recognition for his pioneering work on speech processing and his leadership role in establishing CMU’s Computer Science Department as a world leader in computer science research.

4. Marvin Minsky

Known as one of the fathers of artificial intelligence, Marvin Minsky is a founding member and former director at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).

He was also instrumental in creating two influential societies: the Cognitive Science Society and American Association for Artificial Intelligence.

Minsky was awarded a lifetime achievement award by The Computing Research Association in 2007.

5. Oliver Selfridge

A pioneer in artificial intelligence, Selfridge was one of three people who proposed a test to gauge whether a computer is capable of human-level intelligence (the others being Alan Turing and John McCarthy).

In 1955, he demonstrated his Pandemonium concept, which was essentially an early neural network that could organize concepts into categories.

Selfridge’s conception which is essentially how we organize information today—was groundbreaking at its time.

6. Claude Shannon

Shannon’s concepts of Boolean algebra and circuit design laid much of the foundation for artificial intelligence, as well as its application in computer science.

Today, one way we measure computer intelligence is by processing speed; at one time, however, that measurement was also based on how many circuits could fit into a machine.

It was Shannon who first proposed a method for quantifying computational power through his work on information theory.

7. Donald Michie

It was British Psychologist Donald Michie who coined a new name for thinking machines in 1955.

In his words, Artificial intelligence is what intelligence would be if we could understand it.

A mathematician by training, Michie demonstrated an interest in machines that think almost as soon as he began his academic career.

This interest led him to develop one of the first computer chess programs at Cambridge University in 1957.

8. Heinz von Foerster

In 1955, Heinz von Foerster was appointed professor at the University of Illinois. His research has focused on cybernetics and non-linear systems theory.

In 1958, he coined the term autopoiesis (self-production), which is widely known today in biology to describe how cells produce themselves.

He also developed neural network models for recognizing patterns. He was a founding member of the Biological Computer Laboratory at Illinois and a member of its board until his death in 2002.

9. Rodney Brooks

In 1980, John McCarthy invited Rodney Brooks to study at Stanford University. This led to Brooks co-founding iRobot in 1990, a company that manufactures robots such as autonomous floor vacuums and outdoor home security robots.

Brooks developed a whole new approach to robotics (with his famous subsumption architecture), where behavior is implemented by networks of simpler computing units rather than more complex individual components.

10. Raymond Kurzweil

Kurzweil is known for making a series of successful predictions in artificial intelligence and other fields, such as molecular nanotechnology, bioinformatics, and others.

He is also a popular author who has written books on health, artificial intelligence, futurism, and transhumanism. Kurzweil’s major emphasis was natural language processing.

His research includes early work on optical character recognition (OCR), speech recognition, and text-to-speech synthesis.

In 2001 he founded Singularity University to explore exponentially growing technologies and their implications. Kurzweil received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D degrees in computer science from MIT.

11. Ed Feigenbaum

He coined and advanced the term expert system. Ex-Feigenbaum developed, in conjunction with his team at Stanford University’s Heuristic Programming Project, an early expert system called MYCIN (Medical Language for Computer Interpretation and Retrieval).

MYCIN was one of the most significant developments in AI history. It was an attempt to build a knowledge base for medical diagnosis by defining every aspect and cause of human diseases.

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In their day, men like John McCarthy, Marvin Minsky, and Oliver Selfridge were considered radical for even suggesting that machines could think.

For many, a machine’s ability to think is synonymous with its being self-aware in a human sense.

Today there are innovators who are far closer to bridging that gap than anyone would have predicted during McCarthy’s time.

They’re not just building thinking machines; they’re building intelligent machines. And perhaps one day soon, we’ll look back on today’s pioneers as visionaries just as great as those who came before them.

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