“…on the basis of the conjecture that every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it”, John McCarthy wrote in his funding proposal for the 1956 Summer Program on Artificial Intelligence held at Dartmouth College in Hanover NH. No one knew at the time that this gathering of industry, academic and student researchers would lead to a new field of research. No one knew at the time that machine intelligence would prove so difficult to obtain.
Five of the original conference participants were present for AI 50, The Dartmouth Artificial Intelligence Conference: The Next Fifty Years. Program PDF. Pictured left to right are John McCarthy, Oliver Selfridge, Marvin Minsky, Trenchard More, and Ray Solomonoff.
I was so lucky to get involved doing historical research on the ‘56 Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence. In addition to contacting libraries and archives across the country, I traveled to Pittsburgh’s CMU to go through the papers of Herbert Simon and Alan Newell, the two ‘hits’ of the ‘56 Summer Project. This photo is after a long day pouring through boxes of papers in the CMU University Archives.
Stay tuned for “Mind in the Machine – The Discovery of Artificial Intelligence”, a video documentary by Wendy Conquest, Bob Drake, and Dan Rockmore.