BROKEN PROMISES & EMPTY THREATS: THE EVOLUTION OF AI IN THE USA, 1956-1996
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is once again a promising technology. The last time this happened was in the 1980s, and before that, the late 1950s through the early 1960s. In between, commentators often described AI as having fallen into “Winter,” a period of decline, pessimism, and low funding. Understanding the field’s more than six decades of history is difficult because most of our narratives about it have been written by AI insiders and developers themselves, most often from a narrowly American perspective. In addition, the trials and errors of the early years are scarcely discussed in light of the current hype around AI, heightening the risk that past mistakes will be repeated. How can we make better sense of AI’s history and what might it tell us about the present moment?
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