The history of machine learning begins in 1950 with Alan Turing and the “Turing Test”, a test he created to determine whether or not a computer has real intelligence. In order for a computer to pass the test, it must be able to fool a human into believing it is also human. The test basically was a guessing game. There was a judge, a female contestant and a male contestant and the based off the answers to a series of questions the judge had to choose which of the respondents was human and which was the computer. The most recent modification to the test however doesn’t involve contestants. Simply, it is a judge and a computer and the judge has to determine if the respondent is a computer or a human. Since Turing introduced this test, the results have proven to be highly influential and also regularly criticized. However, overall the test has become incredibly influential in the artificial intelligence and machine learning world.
Another major advancement that occurred in the machine learning world was in the 1990s when scientists began creating programs for computers to analyze. From the data, computers where able to draw conclusions based on the massive amounts of data they were presented with. Simply, the computers were able to “learn” from the data. Computers, like IBM Watson are now able to store endless amounts of data, ranging from different topics, and they are able to make connections between the data in order to draw conclusions. For example, in 2011 IBM Watson was put to the test. Watson went up against the two greatest Jeopardy champions. After the first round, Watson was ties for first with $5,000. However, Watson made an incredible comeback and entered into final Jeopardy with $36,681, the next player having only $5,400. This test was groundbreaking not only for the IBM team, but also for AI and machine learning. Watson was able to enter into its data base to collect data it needed to answer the question, analyze the data, and great an answer all within seconds.
In 2012, Google developed an algorithm that was able to autonomously look through YouTube videos to identify all the videos that contained cats in them. Similarly, in 2014, Facebook developed the DeepFace software which was an algorithm that was able to recognize and verify individuals based on their photos.
These singular advancements in machine learning have made huge impacts on technology today and how we use it daily. Seeing how computer intelligence went from the Turing machine up to iPhones with facial recognition is incredible and it just shows that it will continue to change rapidly and that there is still much more to learn.