The History of AI in 33 Breakthroughs: The First AI-Driven Robot

The History of AI in 33 Breakthroughs: The First AI-Driven Robot

The just-released Global Robotics Report announced an all-time high of 517,385 new industrial robots installed in 2021 in factories around the world, representing a 31% year-over-year growth. This brought the current stock of operational robots worldwide to around 3.5 million, a new record.

This robot record was reached half a century after the development of SHAKEY, the world’s first “mobile intelligent robot”. According to the 2017 IEEE Milestone citation, he “could perceive his environment, infer implicit facts from explicit facts, create plans, recover from errors in plan execution, and communicate using plain English. SHAKEY’s software architecture, computer vision, and navigation and planning methods have proven instrumental in robotics and in the design of web servers, automobiles, factories, video games, and Mars rovers.

In November 1963, Charles Rosen, head of the AI ​​group at SRI, wrote a memo in which “he proposed the development of a mobile ‘automaton’ which would combine the pattern recognition and memory capabilities of neural networks with computer programs. ‘next-level AI,’ according to Nils Nilsson in his book The quest for artificial intelligence.

Later, Rosen recalled the origin of the robot’s name: “We worked for a month trying to find a good name for it, going from Greek names to others, and then one of us said, ‘Hey , he’s shaking like hell and moving around, let’s just call him Shakey. “” Nilsson: “Due to various engineering idiosyncrasies, the vehicle shook when it came to a sudden stop.”

For SRI, where SHAKEY was developed between 1966 and 1972, its historical significance and “legendary status” lies in its “unique combination of robotics and AI in one system.” He also teased the powerful potential of robots. You can thank Shakey for inspiring countless technologies such as cell phones, global positioning systems (GPS), the Roomba, and autonomous vehicles.

According to the IEEE, SHAKEY was envisioned as “an experimental platform for integrating all subfields of artificial intelligence as it was then understood. Logical reasoning, autonomous plan creation, robust execution real-world maps, machine learning, computer vision, navigation, and plain English communication have been integrated into a physical system for the first time…

In more specific technical terms, Shakey is historically significant for three distinct reasons: (1) its control software was structured—a first for robots—in a layered architecture that became a blueprint for subsequent robots; (2) His methods of computer vision, planning, and navigation were used not only in many later robots, but in a wide variety of consumer and industrial applications; and (3) Shakey served as proof of existence that encouraged later developers to develop more advanced robots.

Then and now, developments in AI research are turning into a practical reality for the media, a reality full of excitement and anxiety. SHAKEY has featured prominently in a Life magazine article (November 20, 1970) subtitled “The fascinating and fearsome reality of a machine with a mind of its own”.

Marvin Minsky of MIT (winner of the 1969 Turing Award “for his pivotal role in creating, training, promoting, and advancing the field of artificial intelligence”), who served as a consultant for Project SHAKEY, is widely quoted in the article. Minsky predicted with “complete certainty” that “in three to eight years we will have a machine with the general intelligence of an average human being. I mean a machine that can read Shakespeare, grease a car, play office politics, tell a joke, fight. At this point, the machine will begin to educate itself at fantastic speed. In a few months he will be at genius level and a few months later his powers will be incalculable.

Minsky’s certainty was shared in 1970 by other “artificial intelligence people”, as well as many people (working and not working on AI) today who are confident about the arrival sooner or later from “artificial general intelligence (AIG)” and “super-intelligence” machine.

While extending Minsky’s timeline to 15 years, all AI researchers interviewed by Life in 1970 “agreed that there would be such a machine and that it could precipitate the Third Industrial Revolution, wipe out war and poverty, and rewind centuries of growth in science, education, and the arts.” And just like today, the hype was accompanied by anxiety: “‘The limited mind of man,’ Minsky says, ‘may not be able to control such immense mentalities…Once computers take control, we may never get it back. We would survive their suffering. If we’re lucky, they might decide to keep us as pets.

Just like today, the wild claims were based on human intelligence creating a very limited machine “intelligence”. And just like today, no matter how much anxiety it generated, the work had to continue to achieve the “holy grail of AI” due to the competition for national glory (or survival). When asked by the reporter why not “just unplug the thing if it gets out of hand?” Minsky replied, “The Russians are only about three years behind us in AI work. With our system shut down, they would have us at their mercy. Russia, China, same difference. For AI researchers, it’s not just about patriotism, but also about funding.

It is also a matter of fundamental assumptions about the “fundamental foundation of [human] intelligence.” Most (or all?) people who research, invest in, and promote AI today agree with Minsky’s assertion in the 1970s. Life article: “The human brain is just a computer that happens to be made of meat.”

The history of AI includes many technological and conceptual breakthroughs. He has also repeatedly demonstrated that in our relationship with technology, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

#History #Breakthroughs #AIDriven #Robot

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