25 moments that have defined AI

Look through some of the key dates and developments in mathematics, computing, science and culture that has led to the artificial intelligence that we know today.

By Barbican Centre

Co(AI)xistence with Mirai Moriyama & Alter (developed by Ishiguro lab, Osaka University and Ikegami Lab, Tokyo University) (2017/2017) by Justine EmardBarbican Centre

"Computers will overtake humans with AI within the next 100 years. When that happens, we need to make sure the computers have goals aligned with ours."

Stephen Hawking

An illustrated timeline charting the incubation of artificial intelligence from 1818-1980, as featured in the Barbican's AI: More than Human exhibition (2019/2019) by Barbican CentreBarbican Centre

A timeline of AI

From Ada Lovelace's experiments in mathematics, Charles Babbage's computers, to early uses of the word 'robot' and the emergence of the 'other' in literature such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Explore the boom in neuroscience and computer science of the 1950s and IBM's invention of early AI programming in 1960. Discover the early experiments and successes in AI, robotics with Hiroshi Ishiguro's lifelike Geminoid android, IBM Watson being applied in medical care institutions and how popular culture has embraced ideas of artificial intelligence and how it will change our lives. 

Ibm Computers by Henry GroskinskyLIFE Photo Collection

Meet the pioneers and look through some of the key dates and developments in mathematics, computing, science and culture that has led to the artificial intelligence that we know today.

1841, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
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# 1

1818: Literature

Mary Shelley publishes the novel Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus

Watercolour portrait of Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, Unknown, 1840/1840, From the collection of: Barbican Centre
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# 2

1843: Mathematics

Ada Lovelace translates 'Sketch of the Analytical Engine' invented by Charles Babbage. In the notes to the translation she develops what is considered the first algorithm to make Babbage's engine compute a full Bernoulli sequence.

Portfolio Of English Personalities, Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1951-12, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
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# 3

1913: Mathematics

Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead publish Principia Mathematica, the landmark work on formal logic and reasoning.

Capek Karel, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
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# 4

1923: Philosophy

Karel Capek’s play R.U.R introduces the term ‘robot’

Portrait of Alan Turing, 1912/1954, From the collection of: Barbican Centre
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# 5

1945 + 1950: Mathematics

Alan Turing works at Bletchley Park to automate the decoding process of encryption used by Germans.

In 1950, Alan Turing presents the lecture Intelligent Machinery, A Heretic Theory on the potential problems of automating rational processes. Alan Turing publishes Computing Machinery and Intelligence and introduces the Turing Test.

Ibm Computers, Henry Groskinsky, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
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# 6

1950s: Computer science

John McCarthy develops the LISP language for the IBM 704 computer. And in 1960 the IBM 700-7000 series are manufactured, key systems in computer science and early AI programming.

Dr. C. Shannon - Matematician, Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1963, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
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# 7

1956: Early success in AI

Claude Shannon develops Theseus, the maze-solving cybernetic mouse. In 1948 and 1958, Claude Shannon presents a paper on information theory.

In 1956, The Dartmouth Conference, organised by John McCarthy, Marvin Minsky and Claude Shannon among other scientists, catalyses the birth of Artificial Intelligence as a discipline.

# 8

1959: Early success in AI

John McCarthy and Marvin Minsky establish the Artificial Intelligence Project as part of the Research Laboratory for Electronics and the Computation Centre at MIT

# 9

1960: Developments in robotics

James L. Adam builds Stanford Cart, the prototype of the self-driving car.

General Motors, William Vandivert, 1938-10, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
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# 10

1961: Developments in robotics

Unimate, the first industrial robot is introduced at General Motors.

Ralph Crane, 1970, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
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# 11

1966: Developments in robotics

Shakey, the first general purpose robot is demonstrated at the Standford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Carrying out research on Shakey, Helen Chan Wolf produces groundbreaking findings on cartography and image recognition, pioneering facial recognition detection.

Dmitri Kessel, 1968, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
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# 12

1969: Culture and society

Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey features HAL 9000, the malevolent AI. Marvin Minsky was a consultant on the film.

Single-player Computer Space cabinet, a space combat arcade game developed in 1971 as one of the last games created in the early history of video games, Nutting Associates, Nolan Bushnell, Ted Dabney, 1971/1971, From the collection of: Barbican Centre
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# 13

1971: Neural Networks

Nolan Busnell and Ted Dabney create Computer Space, the first arcade game to use AI.

Henry Groskinsky, 1971, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
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# 14
1981: Culture and Society

13% of UK households own a home computer. By 2017 this figure rises dramatically to 88%.

In 1981, IBM releases the first PC operating system.

Harrison Ford, 1992, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
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# 15

1982: Culture and society

Ridley Scott adapts Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in the film Blade Runner starring Harrison Ford. The book reflects the increasing impact of machines and information on the concept of selfhood and humanity.

Time Covers - The 90's, 1993-04-12, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
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# 16

1989s: Neural networks

English scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989. The launch of the world wide web significantly increases the amount of data available for machine-learning research.

Intelligent Machines, Ted Thai, 1996-02, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
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# 17

1990: Neural networks

Rodney Brooks publishes paper Elephants Don’t Play Chess’ and becomes director of the MIT AI LAB. Brooks reinvigorates research in neutral networks.

First successful testing of speaker recognition at Stanford Research Institute.

2003-06-18, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
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# 18

1999: Culture and society

The Wachowskis direct The Matrix, a film featuring the power struggle between sentiment machines and humanity.

AIBO, SONY's robotic dog., Sony Corporation, Toshitada Doi, 1999/2006, From the collection of: Barbican Centre
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# 19

1999: Developments in robotics

Aibo, the first commercially available robot pet dog is marketed by Sony.

Dr. Cynthia Breazeal's Kismet, a robot capable of recognising human emotion through facial analysis., Cynthia Breazeal, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000/2000, From the collection of: Barbican Centre
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# 20

2000: Neural networks

Cynthia Breazeal develops Kismet, a program and robot capable of recognising human emotion through facial analysis.

Ishiguro with Geminoid HI-4 (2013) by Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratory, Osaka University, Hiroshi Ishiguro, 2013/2013, From the collection of: Barbican Centre
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# 21

2010: Developments in robotics

Hiroshi Ishiguro and Intelligent Robots Lab presents the Geminoid android.

Co(AI)xistence with Mirai Moriyama & Alter (developed by Ishiguro lab, Osaka University and Ikegami Lab, Tokyo University), Justine Emard, 2017/2017, From the collection of: Barbican Centre
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# 22

2015: Culture and society

The Future of Life Institute publishes the open letter ‘Research Priorities for Robust and beneficial Artificial Intelligence’ signed by 8000 people including Steve Wozniak, Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk.

The Future of Life Institute publishes the open letter ‘Autonomous Weapons: An Open Letter from AI and Robotics Researchers’, endorsed by almost 4000 AI and robotics researchers.

ERIKA by Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratory, ATR & Osaka University, Hiroshi Ishiguro, 2016/2016, From the collection of: Barbican Centre
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# 23

2015: Developments in robotics

ERIKA, the android news anchor, is presented by Hiroshi Ishiguro and the Intelligent Robots Lab at Osaka University.

Scene from AlphaGo versus Lee Sedol game, also known as the Google DeepMind Challenge Match, DeepMind, 2016/2016, From the collection of: Barbican Centre
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# 24

2016: Neural networks

Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo program defeats champion Lee Sedol at the game go Go.

Detail of projected text, Waterfall of Meaning, People + AI Reseach (PAIR), 2019/2019, From the collection of: Barbican Centre
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# 25

2018: Neural networks

The European Union establishes ELLIS, the European Lab for Learning and Intelligent Systems.

Alibaba's language processing AI outscores a human at the Stanford University reading and comprehension test.

Exhibition trailer for the Barbican's AI: More than Human (2019/2019) by Barbican CentreBarbican Centre

Watch the trailer for the Barbican's AI: More than Human exhibition.

Credits: Story

AI: More Than Human is a major exhibition exploring creative and scientific developments in AI, demonstrating its potential to revolutionise our lives. The exhibition takes place at the Barbican Centre, London from 16 May—26 Aug 2019.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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