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The History of Artificial Intelligence: looking back at history to shape the future

Nguyen Anh Tuan

The Social Contract 2020 sets the foundation for a new historical chapter: the emergence of AI societies. Governor Michael Dukakis stressed the importance of studying history to prevent past mistakes from repeating in the present and the future. I value his insight and would like to add that looking back at history is a way to shape and invent the future. We should not content ourselves with merely predicting the future; with AI as our tools, we can strive to innovate and organize it.

With that idea in mind, shall announce today May 5, 2020, a new project—The History of AI—as a companion to the Social Contract 2020. While many individuals and organizations study the history of AI already, AIWS will study the field from a different angle and with a different approach. Our approach will be cross-sectional with the following structure:

  1. Ideology, motivating ideas, methodology, model, and solutions in AI.
  2. AI inventions in science and technology
  3. AI applications in politics, government, economics, and society

The project aims to identify historical events, figures, and accomplishments, as well as lessons, documents, evidence, witness, and anecdotes, with the aim to study AI to shape the future of AI. The History of AI project will accompany the Social Contract. An AI Chronicle e-book version is available on AIWS’s website. There will also be AIWS House in Boston and on university campuses around the world.

The History of AI Board include Governor Michael Dukakis, Professor Judea Pearl (UCLA), Professor Alex Pentland (MIT), Nguyen Anh Tuan (Michael Dukakis Institute), Professor Nazli Choucri (MIT), Professor Thomas Patterson (Harvard University), Professor David Silbersweig (Harvard University), and Historian Chien Minh Le (President of Dalat University). The AI History Board will assess and identify historical events, figures, and achievements to feature in the AI.

Chronicle e-book, which will be updated monthly and reviewed annually. Our approach will be open-ended: based on our findings, we will develop research on the above criteria, and we invite individuals and organizations to contribute to the project by gathering documents, stories and participating in analysis.

The History of AI belongs to all citizens, and anyone who contributes their mind and efforts can shape it.

Together, we shall envision the Social Contract 2020, put it into practice, and invent the History of AI.