University of Iowa

In the news: Like it or not, artificial intelligence is here to stay

February 12th, 2019

Gregory Carmichael is a professor in the UI Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and the director of the UI Informatics Initiative.

by Gregory Carmichael, Guest Opinion, Press-Citizen

Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the way we live our lives; it is everywhere and here to stay.  The concepts of Artificial intelligence started on the pages of science fiction, which introduced us to the notion of smart robots. With the invention of electronic digital computers in the early 1940s, the pursuit of AI was made possible. The term itself was coined at a conference at Dartmouth in the summer of 1956, where scientists gathered to discuss ways to program computers to solve problems with the skills of a human. AI flourished for the next two decades and optimism was high that we would soon have machines with the general intelligence of an average human. Many of us will recall HAL 9000 from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. But the computers then were simply not powerful enough to store the amount of data required or process it as fast as needed so AI remained mostly hype. But by the end of the 20th-century computing power and speed had advanced to the point where AI could be realized, marked by such demonstrations as IBM’s Deep Blue beating Gary Kasparov at chess. 

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