Over the course of history only a select number of concepts have grown in universal importance through the centuries. There's a good chance that one that began here, will be one of them.
60 years ago today, February 24, 1956, a computer program created in the Town of Poughkeepsie demonstrated the very first practical example of artificial intelligence ever, and it was done on television. The self-learning program was the first of its kind, created by Arthur Samuel, during his time at IBM's Research Laboratory in Poughkeepsie. The computer it was running on was an IBM 704, also made here. Mr. Samuel created a checkers playing program that could improve by learning from its mistakes - which, even today is a remarkable idea. Eventually the program would work so well, that it could potentially play better than him, the person who created it. Also a mind-boggling idea - six decades later.
The concept of demonstrable machine learning was so profound at the time, that after the airing of the broadcast, IBM's company stock increased 15 points the following day - exactly how much the president of IBM estimated it would, when he learned of what Mr. Samuel had accomplished.
Fast forward to present day and artificial intelligence is everywhere now - spanning from any time a device recommends something you might be interested in, to online search engines and social media, to transportation, groundbreaking medical advancements, finance, automated assistance, space exploration, self-driving vehicles and beyond. The sky is limit as to where we may take it, and in turn, where it may take us, next.
Arthur Samuel's work here serves as a wonderful example of one person having an idea, and it having the capacity to change the world.