Vol 5: AI Winter. How Advanced are we with AI?

period known as AI winter explained and what later revived AI

Hey Friends,

I’m sure you all had a great week?

Back to business, if I were to name a technology that will completely change the 21st century, that will be Artificial Intelligence, it is now part of our everyday life and its advancement have been explosive in recent years, mainly due to the considerable improvement in the computing power of computers and access to massive quantities of data; from breakthroughs in quantum computing, to fully autonomous vehicles and autonomous ride-shares (robotaxi), vaccine development, health; a recent article by BBC shows how AI has been used to predict the structures of almost every protein made by the human body. The development could help supercharge the discovery of new drugs to treat disease, alongside other applications. Click here to read the article.

See also: History of AI, how it all started.

Before we continue on today’s discussion, it is important to explain the most important building block of these technological advances which is ALGORITHMS. The computer knows what to do with codes when they are given but before writing a code, you need an algorithm. At its most basic level, an algorithm is a set of sequential rules to be followed that lead to solving a problem, another word you can use for an algorithm is “script.” Sequencing is crucial, cooking is a helpful example of the importance of order in an algorithm. When you ask someone how to cook Beans, they don’t tend to give you the steps in random order or in a different order each time, the best answer should be given sequentially, the order of things matters and that is exactly how an algorithm functions. The code is a recipe to be executed by a computer exactly in the order it is laid out for the computer.

Let’s start by giving AI another definition;

Artificial Intelligence can also be defined as the development of computer systems, that are capable of performing tasks required by human intelligence such as; decision making, object detection, solving complex problems, performing high-level computation etc.

A computer science definition of Artificial Intelligence by researchers at IBM; they defined it as a field, which combines computer science and robust datasets, to enable problem-solving. It also encompasses sub-fields of machine learning and deep learning, which are frequently mentioned in conjunction with artificial intelligence.

See also: What is Climate Change?

Marvin Minsky, who co-founded the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with John McCarthy was optimistic about the technology's future, building robotic arms and grippers, computer vision systems, and the first electronic learning system, a device, which he called SNARC. The mid-1970s to the mid-1990s saw government funding in the field drop, a period known as "AI winter," when several scientists started criticizing progress in the field, governments and corporations were losing faith in AI, therefore, AI scientists dealt with an acute shortage of funding for AI research, leading to the collapse of the industry.

However, things started to get better in the late 1990s when the research centres and investors started funding the technology again, and computer powers started to increase, AI enthusiasts believed that soon computers would be able to carry on conversations, translate languages, interpret pictures. On 11 May 1997, Deep Blue became the first computer chess-playing system to beat a reigning world chess champion, Garry Kasparov (Russian Grandmaster) making history, the event was broadcast live over the internet and received over 74 million views.

See also: What is Net-Zero?

Also In 2005, a Stanford robot won the DARPA Grand Challenge by driving autonomously for 131 miles along an unrehearsed desert trail. Two years later, a team from CMU won the DARPA Urban Challenge by autonomously navigating 55 miles in an Urban environment while adhering to traffic hazards and all traffic laws, these successes lead to what we are experiencing in self-driving cars and autonomous ride-sharing services today.


We have three (3) stages of AI which are classified based on their capabilities;

  1. Artificial Narrow Intelligence

  2. Artificial General Intelligence

  3. Artificial Super Intelligence.


Based on the functionalities of AI-based systems, artificial intelligence can be categorized into four (4) types;

  1. Reactive Machines AI

  2. Limited Memory AI

  3. Theory of Mind AI

  4. Self-Aware AI

Artificial intelligence has unquestionably advanced, allowing algorithms to learn and think differently than humans. AI has the ability to change lives for each and every individual on the planet, we’re going to have better image recognition, speech recognition, better systems for medical diagnosis, we are going to have cars that drive themselves which will lead to reduced number of traffic accidents, AI will save a lot of lives.

See also: Effects of Climate Change.

AI is a very vast field, don’t forget, Machine Learning and Deep Learning are used in the applications of AI, we’ll talk more on stages and types of AI next week.

I hope you enjoyed learning, to be continued next week.

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Enjoy your weekend!


My Favourite Things This Week

Video: In the United States, AI robots are already replacing human lawyers and judges in some parts of the country. Ronny Chieng explains it all here;

Podcast: This one by Naval on being a Rational Optimist is worth listening to. click here to listen.

Quote of The Week

“There is a timeless link between imagination and science.”

-Adrienne Mayor.