ICT Today

ICT Today March/April 19

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March/April 2019 I 41 FIGURE 2: The RCA radio-controlled car. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons). Source: Discover Magazine.com. small electrical motors that controlled the car's speed and direction. It turned corners, sped up, slowed down and honked its horn. Because the people of New York thought this was an act of magic, many mistook the name Houdina, Francis' true birth name, for the infamous magician Houdini who thought his brand name was at risk; legal battles ensued. Because there was a crew that followed behind the American Wonder in another vehicle sending out radio impulses, this cannot be classified as autonomous, because there was human intervention. However, the American Wonder was an inspiration that an autonomous vehicle was not magical, but a real possibility. 8 Each and every decade that followed the 1920s to the present day promised that an autonomous vehicle would soon be ready for commercialization as automation technology, AI, and machine learning advanced. Each and every decade, however, suffered the same setbacks as today. When tested, the vehicles, including the American Wonder, often resulted in serious vehicle to vehicle collisions, many with fatalities. History does, indeed, repeat itself. However, in March 2018, the first reported "pedestrian" fatality occurred involving an Uber self-driving car. Other major AI benchmark advancements throughout the decades include the following: 9 • In 1914, Spanish engineer, Leonardo Torres y Quevedo, demonstrated the first chess- playing machine, capable of king and rook against king endgames without any human intervention. • The 1920s marked when Czech writer Karel Ĉapek introduced the word "robot" in his play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) and Makoto Nishimura designed Gakutensoku, the first robot built in Japan that was able to change its facial expression and move its head and hands by an air pressure mechanism. • A rush of important papers and studies about machines that can think characterized the 1940s that inspired computer-based neural networks from great minds, such as Warren S. McCulloch, Walter Pitts, Edmund Berkeley and Donald Hebb. • Of all the decades, it can be argued that the 1950s represent an era with the most AI advancements, beginning in the early 50s with Alan Turing and the Turing Test (a standard still used today to evaluate a computer or machine that is indistinguishable from human intelligence). The mid-50s introduced the term "artificial intelligence" for the first time when IBM, Bell Labs, and various universities collaborated in a study workshop, while in the late 50s Arthur Samuel introduced the term "machine learning" and John McCarthy developed the Lisp programming language, which became the most widely used language in AI. • The most notable events in the 1960s included the first industrial robot, Unimate, which began working on the assembly line in a General Motors plant in New Jersey, as well as progress in automated decision-making and pattern recognition research.

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