Historical Perspective

Charles Babbage was the earliest worker in the field of Artificial Intelligence.  He was a nineteenth century English mathematician. He made a special purpose machine for computing numbers and was the forerunner of his Analytical Engine.  The Analytical Engine was a general purpose programmable machine.  The feature of Babbage’s work was something that could be studied then programmed and represented mechanically.

Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine

The first female figure in the field of computing was Ada King, who had overcome Babbage’s inability to translate Italian account to English. She then made advances on Charles Babbage’s notes and her own notes to create a programme for the Analytical Engine, this making her the first computer programmer.

John McCarthy, in 1956, created the term ‘Artificial Intelligence’.  However, Alan Turing is considered to be the person who launched the field of ‘Artificial Intelligence’.   In 1950, Turing proposed the idea of a test in which a person would use a keyboard to ask questions of two subjects (a person and a machine) who are concealed from the questionnaire. Turing proposed the idea that if the questionnaire could not determine which of the two subjects the machine was, and then the machine was intelligent.

Photograph of Alan Turing

Alan Turing’s work