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Humans Will Add to AI’s Limitations

The Economist
11.6.2020

Perceptron, a distant ancestor of modern machine-learning algorithms.

In 1958 a psychologist and computer-science researcher named Frank Rosenblatt gave a public demonstration of his Perceptron, the distant ancestor of modern machine-learning algorithms. The Perceptron had been developed on a 9-tonne IBM 704, a mainframe computer with less power than a modern television remote control. Its party trick was its ability to learn, without any direct programming, to recognise cards printed on the left from those printed on the right.

America’s navy, which funded the work, hoped the Perceptron would be “the embryo of an electronic computer that…will be able to walk, talk, see, write, reproduce itself and become conscious of its own existence”. The machine would be able to “recognise people and call out their names” and “instantly translate speech in one language to speech or writing in another”.

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