PREFACE — My Upcoming Book on the History and Futures of Artificial Intelligence
Whether you believe in the Creation Story or the Big Bang Theory, one common thread ties man’s exploits since we began our sojourn on earth. From the beginning of our consciousness as a species, we have obsessed with creating structures and things that replicate our innate complexity, biological organization, and our intelligence.
We have created systems of government, economic management, tamed wild beasts, destroyed myths like those that said the earth was flat, and if you sailed too far out to sea, you would fall off the edge. We have fought wars that united us, divided us, and discovered ingenious, though cruel methods to reduce our population, the atom bomb for instance.
In between all this, we have passed through four Industrial Ages, each age demanding more creativity, adaptability, and intelligence than the previous. That we have survived this long as a species is proof of our success so far.
But why does it feel like the 4th Industrial Age is the most challenging thing to face the planet? Why does it feel like AI, Big Data, Blockchain, Virtual Reality, Fintech, Regtech, Insurtech, and all the new words created by making ‘tech’ a suffix of something, to sound cool–why does it feel like it has become too much for us to handle?
Have we outdone ourselves? At what point did we get this far? How can we make better sense of the Digital Age and all it brings with it?
This book focuses on Artificial Intelligence. I will save a technical definition and description of AI for the chapters in this book. To describe AI, I must take recourse to the Bible. Yes, the Christian Bible; precisely Genesis 1:26, which says:
“Then God said, ‘And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us.”
The above is the most straightforward meaning of AI; man’s try at replicating himself. I say try because at the time of writing this preface; we have not successfully created an AI that can match the average human on all grounds. But we had come a long way since when we started. When did we start? Before Google, Facebook, and Tesla. Before IBM Watson and Ross; before man landed on the moon. Before World War 1. Before the Scramble for Africa. Before the Renaissance. Before the coming of Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammed (SAW). Before they lay the first stone of the Roman Empire. Before the Gods of Olympus.
The story of Artificial Intelligence starts from the world’s first known civilization; Egypt.
To tell the story correctly, we must go to the very beginning. Flip the page and join me as we travel back and forth in time.
The History of Artificial Intelligence
To read the next excerpt titled, Chapter One — From Antiquity to 1956, click here