propose that a 2 month, 10 man study of artificial intelligence
be carried out during the summer of 1956 at Dartmouth College
in Hanover, New Hampshire.
study is to proceed 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. An attempt will be made to
find how to make machines use language, form abstractions
and concepts, solve kinds of problems now reserved for
humans, and improve themselves.
AI Project Proposal; J. McCarthy et al.; Aug. 31,
The 1956 Dartmouth Artificial Intelligence
(AI) conference gave birth to the field of AI, and gave succeeding
generations of scientists their first sense of the potential for
to human beings in a profound way.
In 1956, John
McCarthy invited many of the leading researchers of the time
in a wide range of advanced research topics such as complexity
theory, language simulation, neuron nets, abstraction of content
from sensory inputs, relationship of randomness to creative thinking,
and learning machines to Dartmouth in New Hampshire to discuss
a subject so new to the human imagination that he had to coin
for it: Artificial Intelligence.
This conference was the largest gathering on the topic that had
yet taken place, and laid the foundation for an ambitious vision
that has affected research and development in engineering, mathematics,
computer science, psychology, and many other fields ever since.
It was no coincidence that, as early as 1956, evidence indicated
that electronic capacity and functionality were doubling approximately
every eighteen months, and the rate of improvement showed no signs
of slowing down. The conference was one of the first serious attempts
to consider the consequences of this exponential curve. Many participants
came away from the discussions convinced that continued progress
in electronic speed, capacity, and software programming would lead
to the point where computers would someday have the resources to
be as intelligent as human beings, the only real question was when
and how it would happen.
This conference and the concepts it crystallized gave birth to the
field of AI as a vibrant area of interdisciplinary research,
and provided an intellectual backdrop to all subsequent computer
research and development efforts -- not to mention many books and
This new field's revolutionary vision was a significant
influence on several of the people that helped
most notably J.C.R. Licklider
his concept of a universal network that produces power greater
than the sum of its parts.
Resources: The following references provide more information
on artificial intelligence: