When Artificial Intelligence Started: A Historical Journey into the Origins and Evolution of AI

Jason Dookeran
6 min readJul 11
Old books and busts — not exactly AI though…or is it?

Where were you when artificial intelligence started? Most of us weren’t even alive yet. Tableau tells us that the very first AI system (that is, a system designed to replicate the human thought-making process) was built in 1965. With artificial intelligence being such a massive topic of discussion these days, it’s essential to know when artificial intelligence started and what it’s become since then. In this brief article, I’ll give you a bird’s eye view of artificial intelligence history from its earliest starting points to now. If you’re into AI, machine learning, or other emerging tech, feel free to subscribe to my blog. I usually drop articles like these several times a week and subscribing ensures you don’t miss it. Now, on to the story.

Early Concepts and Pioneers

The Wright Brothers — Pioneers in Flight

The seeds of AI can be found in ancient civilizations, where philosophers and mythologies contemplated the idea of creating artificial beings with human-like intelligence. René Descartes (“I think, therefore I am) was fond of describing living things as “biological machines.” In The Iliad, Hephaestus, the disabled God of metalworking, develops golden handmaidens to help him in the forge, who are almost the same as living, breathing creatures, although entirely artificial.

However, in the 20th century, AI began to take shape as a distinct field of study. One significant milestone was the concept of the Turing Test, introduced by the brilliant mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing. His groundbreaking work laid the foundation for assessing machine intelligence and sparked discussions on what it truly means for a machine to exhibit human-like thought processes. Alongside Turing, several early pioneers such as John McCarthy and Marvin Minsky made substantial contributions to the field, shaping the direction of AI research and sparking curiosity about the potential of machines that can think and reason.

AI as a Discipline

Jason Dookeran

Freelance author, ghostwriter, and crypto/blockchain enthusiast. I write about personal finance, emerging technology and freelancing