September 25, 2021
This week in The History of AI at AIWS.net – Frank Rosenblatt developed the Perceptron in 1957. It is a form of neural network that allowed pattern-recognition.
Frank Rosenblatt was an American psychologist. Born in 1928, Rosenblatt would go on to study at Cornell University for both his undergraduate studies and doctorate. He worked at Calspan, then the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory, where he was a psychologist and became the head of one of the departments there. This lab is also where he would develop perceptrons. In 1959, he went to work at the Cornell campus on Ithaca, becoming a professor and director of programs. Rosenblatt passed away in 1970.
The Perceptron is a device that was built with biological principles ability to learn in mind. It was originally simulated on an IBM machine in 1957. Rosenblatt received media recognition and coverage for the Perceptron, with magazines such as the New Yorker proclaiming that it was “a remarkable machine… capable of what amounts to thought.” However, Marvin Minsky and Seymour Papert put a damper on the enthusiasm for Perceptrons when they published a book describing its limitations. The utility of Peceptrons is still discussed to this day, with some even claiming that it was ahead of its time.
This development is considered an event in the history of AI since Perceptrons were seen as one of the precursors to artificial intelligence. It also displays the early thought and reception to the growing AI field. Thus, the HAI initiative considers this event one of the events in the History of AI.