25 stunning advances in artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is defined as “a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers; the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior,” according to Webster’s Dictionary. Recent advancements in the field, however, have proven that AI is so much more than a mere scientific curiosity. The technological advances attributed to AI have the potential to completely alter the world as we know it.
Artificial intelligence used to be the stuff of science fiction; evidence of the concept being studied by real-life scientists dates back to the 1950s. The famous Alan Turing explored the theory in a research paper in the year 1950, but the fundamentals of computers weren’t yet advanced enough to bring the idea of artificial intelligence to fruition. By 1955 The Logic Theorist program funded by the Research and Development (RAND) Corporation became what many believe to be the first example of AI. The program was designed to mimic the human mind’s ability to problem solve, eventually setting the stage for a historic conference called the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence in 1956.
As computers began to get faster, more powerful, and less expensive, AI began to pick up steam through the '70s. Successful projects began emerging in scientific communities, some even securing funding from government agencies. Then, for close to a decade, AI research hit a wall as funding lapsed and scientific theories began to outpace computer ability once again. The biggest exception was a Japanese government-funded, $400 million project aimed at improving artificial intelligence from 1982 to 1990.
The 1990s and 2000s saw some huge advancements in artificial intelligence as the fundamental limits of computer storage yielded to new hardware innovations. As the applications of AI become more and more prevalent in the daily lives of humans, it is essential to have the context of some of the most important advances in AI history.
Stacker explored 25 advances in artificial intelligence from all different uses, applications, and innovations. Whether it’s robots, supercomputers, health care, or search optimization, AI is coming up strong.
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Known for their AI robots and resulting viral videos, Boston Dynamics truly changed the public’s understanding of what robots with AI technology are capable of. Videos of their first big robot “Big Dog” went viral in 2005, and since then millions of people have enjoyed watching the company grow from smaller four-legged robots to full-fledged humanoids with the ability to perform parkour and backflips.
First launched in the U.S. in December 2018, ProFound AI is a cancer-detection software that assists radiologists in finding early digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) in patients. While the technology has only reached select high-profile hospitals so far, the innovation is a great precursor to what’s to come in the medical world of AI.
October 2018 marked the first piece of AI-generated artwork sold at a world auction, signaling the emergence of AI into the art world. The portrait was created by a Paris-based collective that is studying the interface between art and AI and sold at world-renowned Christie’s auction house for $432,500 (almost 45 times its estimate).
AI-generated human faces
The Japanese startup DataGrid began creating AI-generated faces in 2018, but didn’t go viral until April 2019. It was then that a press release revealed a series of photorealistic images of what appeared to be humans but were, in fact, created by AI. This advance utilizes a whole new level of deep learning algorithms that create realistic images so good that they can fool other humans.
TensorFlow, the deep-learning library that Google uses in its products (search engines, translation, recommendations, etc), was first released to the public in 2015. TensorFlow is open source—meaning that anyone can download it and use it for free—and symbolizes the importance of making machine learning and AI available to anyone for any purpose.
DeepMind Technologies’ AlphaGo first made headlines when it defeated the European champion in the complex Chinese board game “Go” in 2015, before going on to beat the world champion in 2016. AlphaGo famously marked a new age in advanced AI programs combining traditional methods with deep neural networks.
Generative adversarial networks (GANs) were first introduced in 2014 at the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference. The new GAN machine learning framework was innovative, consisting of two artificial neural networks able to compete and subsequently train one another, creating better results. An example of an updated version of GAN is the popular This Person Does Not Exist website, which uses AI to generate human faces.
In 2015 the first cross-country road trip performed by an autonomous car was completed in nine days. The Audi SQ5 was equipped with autonomous driving technology and software from Delphi Technologies to allow the car to make human-like decisions from merging onto highways to parking and everything in between. Though the safety driver (seated in the front seat per the law) reportedly had to interfere a few times, the trip marked a huge advancement in the future of driverless car technology.
When IBM’s Watson computer running software defeated two “Jeopardy!” all-stars in February of 2011, it breached a gap between technology and popular culture in a big way. Watson could hold about one million books’ worth of information in its software and storage, and when posed with a question, the AI ran several different algorithms to rank the best answer. This was different than traditional computer searching keyword-based software, as “Jeopardy!” questions are inherently human in nature, mixing colorful wordplay with puns and cultural references.
Siri may be present in most modern Apple products today, but when the automated voice assistant technology first came out commercially in 2010, it was cutting-edge. After being released as an app, Siri caught the eye of Steve Jobs, who bought the technology for $200 million and employed two of its inventors. The third inventor went on to co-found Viv Labs, acquired by Samsung for $215 million in 2016.2018 All rights reserved.