May 7, 2021
This week in The History of AI at AIWS.net – Claude Shannon was born on 30 April, 1916. He is recognized as the father of Information Technology. Shannon also participated and was a part of the inception of the Dartmouth Conference.
Claude Shannon was an American mathematician and electrical engineer. Shannon was born on 30 April, 1916 in Petoskey, Michigan, although he would spend most of his childhood at the nearby city Gaylord. He studied at the University of Michigan for his undergraduate degree and went to MIT for his Master’s and Ph.D. During the Second World War, Shannon joined Bell Labs and helped contributed in cryptography. It was during this time that he came into contact with Alan Turing. In 1948, he published the paper “A Mathematical Theory of Communication,” which is credited with founding the field of IT. He would work as faculty at MIT starting in 1956 until 1978. Although most of his contributions are in IT and other various electrical-related fields, he did propose a workshop on AI and join it (the Dartmouth Conference) in 1956. Shannon passed away on 24 February, 2001.
The Dartmouth Conference was a workshop held at Dartmouth College in 1956 to brainstorm ideas on “thinking machines”. There was a proposal drawn up the year before for such a workshop by Marvin Minsky, Nathaniel Rochester, and Claude Shannon. Amongst those that attended the workshop were the writers of the proposal, Allan Newell, Herbert Simon, and John McCarthy. This event is widely noted as the founding event of AI.
Claude Shannon was a pivotal figure in the development of IT and AI, in addition to his participation in the Dartmouth Conference, which is considered one of the founding events of the study of Artificial Intelligence. Thus, the HAI initiative recognizes his birth as an event in the history of AI.