THE AGE of SPIRITUAL MACHINES | Timeline

August 8, 2001
Author:
Ray Kurzweil
10-15 billion years ago The Universe is born.
10243 seconds later The temperature cools to 100 million trillion trillion degrees and gravity evolves.
10234 seconds later The temperature cools to 1 billion billion billion degrees and matter emerges in the form of quarks and electrons. Antimatter also appears.
10210 seconds later The electroweak force splits into the electromagnetic and weak forces.
1025 seconds later With the temperature at 1 trillion degrees, the quarks form protons and neutrons and the antiquarks form antiprotons. The protons and antiprotons collide, leaving mostly protons and causing the emergence of photons (light).
1 second later Electrons and antielectrons (positrons) collide, leaving mostly electrons.
1 minute later At a temperature of 1 billion degrees, neutrons and protons coalesce and form elements such as helium, lithium, and heavy forms of hydrogen.
300,000 years after the big bang The average temperature is now around 3,000 degrees, and the first atoms form.
1 billion years after the big bang Galaxies form.
3 billion years after the big bang Matter within the galaxies forms distinct stars and solar systems.
5 to 10 billion years after the big The Earth is born.
bang, or about 5 billion years ago
3.4 billion years ago The first biological life appears on Earth: anaerobic prokaryotes (single-celled creatures).
1.7 billion years ago Simple DNA evolves.
700 million years ago Multicellular plants and animals appear.
570 million years ago The Cambrian explosion occurs: the emergence of diverse body plans, including the appearance of animals with hard body parts (shells and skeletons).
400 million years ago Land-based plants evolve.
200 million years ago Dinosaurs and mammals begin sharing the environment.
80 million years ago Mammals develop more fully.
65 million years ago Dinosaurs become extinct, leading to the rise of mammals.
50 million years ago The anthropoid suborder of primates splits off.
30 million years ago Advanced primates such as monkeys and apes appear.
15 million years ago The first humanoids appear.
5 million years ago Humanoid creatures are walking on two legs. Homo habilis is using tools, ushering in a new form of evolution: technology.
2 million years ago Homo erectus has domesticated fire and is using language and weapons.
500,000 years ago Homo sapiens emerge, distinguished by the ability to create technology (which involves innovation in the creation of tools, a record of tool making, and a progression in the sophistication of tools).
100,000 years ago Homo sapiens neanderthalensis emerges.
90,000 years ago Homo sapiens sapiens (our immediate ancestors) emerge.
40,000 years ago The Homo sapiens sapiens subspecies is the only surviving humanoid subspecies on Earth. Technology develops as evolution by other means.
10,000 years ago The modern era of technology begins with the agricultural revolution.
6,000 years ago The first cities emerge in Mesopotamia.
5,500 years ago Wheels, rafts, boats, and written language are in use.
More than 5,000 years ago The abacus is developed in the Orient. As operated by its human user, the abacus performs arithmetic computation based on methods similar to that of a modern computer.
3000-700 b.c. Water clocks appear during this time period in various cultures: In China, c. 3000 b.c.; in Egypt,
c. 1500 b.c; and in Assyria, c. 700 b.c.
2500 b.c. Egyptian citizens turn for advice to oracles, which are often statues with priests hidden inside.
469-322 b.c. The basis for Western rationalistic philosophy is formed by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
427 b.c. Plato expresses ideas, in Phaedo and later works, that address the comparison of human thought and the mechanics of the machine.
c. 420 b.c. Archytas of Tarentum, who was friends with Plato, constructs a wooden pigeon whose movements are controlled by a jet of steam or compressed air.
387 b.c. The Academy, a group founded by Plato for the pursuit of science and philosophy, provides a fertile environment for the development of mathematical theory.
c. 200 b.c. Chinese artisans develop elaborate automata, including an entire mechanical orchestra.
c. 200 b.c. A more accurate water clock is developed by an Egyptian engineer.
725 The first true mechanical clock is built by a Chinese engineer and a Buddhist monk. It is a water-driven device with an escapement that causes the clock to tick.
1494 Leonardo da Vinci conceives of and draws a clock with a pendulum, although an accurate pendulum clock will not be invented until the late seventeenth century.
1530 The spinning wheel is being used in Europe.
1540, 1772 The production of more elaborate automata technology grows out of clock- and watch-making technology during the European Renaissance. Famous examples include Gianello Toriano’s mandolin-playing lady (1540) and P. Jacquet-Dortz’s child (1772).
1543 Nicolaus Copernicus states in his De Revolutionibus that the Earth and the other planets revolve around the sun. This theory effectively changed humankind’s relationship with and view of God.
17th-18th centuries The age of the Enlightenment ushers in a philosophical movement that restores the belief in the supremacy of human reason, knowledge, and freedom. With its roots in ancient Greek philosophy and the European Renaissance, the Enlightenment is the first systematic reconsideration of the nature of human thought and knowledge since the Platonists, and inspires similar developments in science and theology.
1637 In addition to formulating the theory of optical refraction and developing the principles of modern analytic geometry, Rene Descartes pushes rational skepticism to its limits in his most comprehensive work, Discours de la Methode. He concludes, “I think, therefore, I am.”
1642 Blaise Pascal invents the world’s first automatic calculating machine. Called the Pascaline, it can add and subtract.
1687 Isaac Newton establishes his three laws of motion and the law of universal gravitation in his Philosophiae Naturalis Mathematica, also known as Principia.
1694 The Leibniz Computer is perfected by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who was also an inventor of calculus. This machine multiplies by performing repetitive additions, an algorithm that is still used in computers today.
1719 An English silk-thread mill employing three hundred workers, mostly women and children, appears. It is considered by many to be the first factory in the modern sense.
1726 In Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift describes a machine that will automatically write books.
1733 John Kay patents his New Engine for Opening and Dressing Wool. Later known as the flying shuttle, this invention paves the way for much faster weaving.
1760 In Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin erects lightning rods after having discovered, through his famous kite experiment in 1752, that lightning is a form of electricity.
c. 1760 At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, life expectancy is about thirty-seven years in both North America and northwestern Europe.
1764 The spinning jenny, which spins eight threads at the same time, is invented by James Hargreaves.
1769 Richard Arkwright patents a hydraulic spinning machine that is too large and expensive to use in family dwellings. Known as the founder of the modern factory system, he builds a factory for his machine in 1781, thus paving the way for many of the economic and social changes that will characterize the Industrial Revolution.
1781 Setting the stage for the emergence of twentieth- century rationalism, Immanuel Kant publishes his Critique of Pure Reason, which expresses the philosophy of the Enlightenment while de-emphasizing the role of metaphysics.
1800 All aspects of the production of cloth are now automated.
1805 Joseph-Marie Jacquard devises a method for automated weaving that is a precursor to early computer technology. The looms are directed by instructions on a series of punched cards.
1811 The Luddite movement is formed in Nottingham by artisans and laborers concerned about the loss of jobs due to automation.
1821 The British Astronomical Society awards its first gold medal to Charles Babbage for his paper “Observations on the Application of Machinery to the Computation of Mathematical Tables.”
1822 Charles Babbage develops the Difference Engine, although he eventually abandons this technically complex and expensive project to concentrate on developing a general-purpose computer.
1825 George Stephenson’s “Locomotion No. 1,” the first steam engine to carry passengers and freight on a regular basis, makes its first trip.
1829 An early typewriter is invented by William Austin Burt.
1832 The principles of the Analytical Engine are developed by Charles Babbage. It is the world’s first computer (although it never worked), and can be programmed to solve a wide array of computational and logical problems.
1837 A more practical version of the telegraph is patented by Samuel Finley Breese Morse. It sends letters in codes consisting of dots and dashes, a system still in common use more than a century later.
1839 A new process for making photographs, known as daguerreotypes, is presented by Louis-Jacques Daguerre of France.
1839 The first fuel cell is developed by William Robert Grove of Wales.
1843 Ada Lovelace, who is considered to be the world’s first computer programmer and was Lord Byron’s only legitimate child, publishes her own notes and a translation of L. P. Menabrea’s paper on Babbage’s Analytical Engine. She speculates on the ability of computers to emulate human intelligence.
1846 The lock-stitch sewing machine is patented by Spenser, Massachusetts, resident Elias Howe.
1846 Alexander Bain greatly improves the speed of telegraph transmission by using punched paper tape to send messages.
1847 George Boole publishes his early ideas on symbolic logic that he will later develop into his theory of binary logic and arithmetic. His theories still form the basis of modern computation.
1854 Paris and London are connected by telegraph.
1859 Charles Darwin explains his principle of natural selection and its influence on the evolution of various species in his work Origin of Species.
1861 There are now telegraph lines connecting San Francisco and New York.
1867 The first commercially practical generator that produces alternating current is invented by Zenobe Theophile Gramme.
1869 Thomas Alva Edison sells the stock ticker that he invented to Wall Street for $40,000.
1870 On a per capita basis and in constant 1958 dollars, the GNP is $530. Twelve million Americans, or 31 percent of the population, have jobs, and only 2 percent of adults have high-school diplomas.
1871 Upon his death, Charles Babbage leaves more than four hundred square feet of drawings for his Analytical Engine.
1876 Alexander Graham Bell is granted U.S. patent number 174,465 for the telephone. It is the most lucrative patent granted at that time.
1877 William Thomson, later known as Lord Kelvin, demonstrates that it is possible for machines to be programmed to solve a great variety of mathematical problems.
1879 The first incandescent light bulb that burns for a substantial length of time is invented by Thomas Alva Edison.
1882 Thomas Alva Edison designs electric lighting for New York City’s Pearl Street station on lower Broadway.
1884 The fountain pen is patented by Lewis E. Waterman.
1885 Boston and New York are connected by telephone.
1888 William S. Burroughs patents the world’s first dependable key-driven adding machine. This calculator is modified four years later to include subtraction and printing, and it becomes widely used.
1888 Heinrich Hertz transmits what are now known as radio waves.
1890 Building upon ideas from Jacquard’s loom and Babbage’s Analytical Engine, Herman Hollerith patents an electromechanical information machine that uses punched cards. It wins the 1890 U.S. Census competition, thus introducing the use of electricity in a major data-processing project.
1896 Herman Hollerith founds the Tabulating Machine Company. This company eventually will become IBM.
1897 Because of access to better vacuum pumps than previously available, Joseph John Thomson discovers the electron, the first known particle smaller than an atom.
1897 Alexander Popov, a physicist in Russia, uses an antenna to transmit radio waves. Guglielmo Marconi of Italy receives the first patent ever granted for radio and helps organize a company to market his system.
1899 Sound is recorded magnetically on wire and on a thin metal strip.
1900 Herman Hollerith introduces the automatic card feed into his information machine to improve the processing of the 1900 census data.
1900 The telegraph now connects the entire civilized world. There are more than 1.4 million telephones, 8,000 registered automobiles, and 24 million electric light bulbs in the United States, with the latter making good Edison’s promise of “electric bulbs so cheap that only the rich will be able to afford candles.” In addition, the Gramophone Company is advertising a choice of 5,000 recordings.
1900 More than one third of all American workers are involved in the production of food.
1901 The first electric typewriter, the Blickensderfer Electric, is made.
1901 The Interpretation of Dreams is published by Sigmund Freud. This and other works by Freud help to illuminate the workings of the mind.
1902 Millar Hutchinson, of New York, invents the first electric hearing aid.
1905 The directional radio antenna is developed by Guglielmo Marconi.
1908 Orville Wright’s first hour-long airplane flight takes place.
1910-1913 Principia Mathematica, a seminal work on the foundations of mathematics, is published by Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead. This three-volume publication presents a new methodology for all mathematics.
1911 After acquiring several other companies, Herman Hollerith’s Tabulating Machine Company changes its name to Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR).
1915 Thomas J. Watson in San Francisco and Alexander Graham Bell in New York participate in the first North American transcontinental telephone call.
1921 The term robot is coined in 1917 by Czech dramatist Karel SCapek. In his popular science fiction drama R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), he describes intelligent machines that, although originally created as servants for humans, end up taking over the world and destroying all mankind.
1921 Ludwig Wittgenstein publishes Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, which is arguably one of the most influential philosophical works of the twentieth century. Wittgenstein is considered to be the first logical positivist.
1924 Originally Hollerith’s Tabulating Machine Company, the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR) is renamed International Business Machines (IBM) by Thomas J. Watson, the new chief executive officer. IBM will lead the modern computer industry and become one of the largest industrial corporations in the world.
1925 The foundations of quantum mechanics are conceived by Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg.
1927 The uncertainty principle, which says that electrons have no precise location but rather probability clouds of possible locations, is presented by Werner Heisenberg. Five years later he will win a Nobel Prize for his discovery of quantum mechanics.
1928 The minimax theorem is introduced by John von Neumann. This theorem will be widely used in future game-playing programs.
1928 The world’s first all-electronic television is presented this year by Philo T. Farnsworth, and a color television system is patented by Vladimir Zworkin.
1930 In the United States, 60 percent of all households have radios, with the number of personally owned radios now reaching more than 18 million.
1931 The incompleteness theorem, which is considered by many to be the most important theorem in all mathematics, is presented by Kurt Goedel.
1931 The electron microscope is invented by Ernst August Friedrich Ruska and, independently, by Rheinhold Ruedenberg.
1935 The prototype for the first heart-lung machine is invented.
1937 Grote Reber, of Wheaton, Illinois, builds the first intentional radio telescope, which is a dish 9.4 meters (31 feet) in diameter.
1937 Alan Turing introduces the Turing machine, a theoretical model of a computer, in his paper “On Computable Numbers.” His ideas build upon the work of Bertrand Russell and Charles Babbage.
1937 Alonzo Church and Alan Turing independently develop the Church-Turing thesis. This thesis states that all problems that a human being can solve can be reduced to a set of algorithms, supporting the idea that machine intelligence and human intelligence are essentially equivalent.
1938 The first ballpoint pen is patented by Lazlo Birch.
1939 Regularly scheduled commercial flights begin crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
1940 ABC, the first electronic (albeit nonprogrammable) computer, is built by John V. Atanasoff and Clifford Berry.
1940 The world’s first operational computer, known as Robinson, is created by Ultra, the ten-thousand-person British computer war effort. Using electromechanical relays, Robinson successfully decodes messages from Enigma, the Nazis’ first-generation enciphering machine.
1941 The world’s first fully programmable digital computer, the Z-3, is developed by Konrad Zuse, of Germany. Arnold Fast, a blind mathematician who is hired to program the Z-3, is the world’s first programmer of an operational programmable computer.
1943 Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts explore neural-network architectures for intelligence in their work “Logical Calculus of the Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity.”
1943 Continuing their war effort, the Ultra computer team of Britain builds Colossus, which contributes to the Allied victory in World War II by being able to decipher even more complex German codes. It uses electronic tubes that are one hundred to one thousand times faster than the relays used by Robinson.
1944 Howard Aiken completes the Mark I. Using punched paper tape for programming and vacuum tubes to calculate problems, it is the first programmable computer built by an American.
1945 John von Neumann, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, publishes the first modern paper describing the stored-program concept.
1946 The world’s first fully electronic, general-purpose (programmable) digital computer is developed for the army by John Presper Eckert and John W. Mauchley. Named ENIAC, it is almost one thousand times faster than the Mark I.
1946 Television takes off much more rapidly than did the radio in the 1920s. In 1946, the percentage of American homes having television sets is 0.02 percent. It will jump to 72 percent in 1956, and to more than 90 percent by 1983.
1947 The transistor is invented by William Bradford Shockley, Walter Hauser Brattain, and John Bardeen. This tiny device functions like a vacuum tube but is able to switch currents on and off at substantially higher speeds. The transistor revolutionizes microelectronics, contributing to lower costs of computers and leading to the development of mainframe and minicomputers.
1948 Cybernetics, a seminal book on information theory, is published by Norbert Wiener. He also coins the word Cybernetics to mean “the science of control and communication in the animal and the machine.”
1949 EDSAC, the world’s first stored-program computer, is built by Maurice Wilkes, whose work was influenced by Eckert and Mauchley. BINAC, developed by Eckert and Mauchley’s new U.S. company, is presented a short time later.
1949 George Orwell portrays a chilling world in which computers are used by large bureaucracies to monitor and enslave the population in his book 1984.
1950 Eckert and Mauchley develop UNIVAC, the first commercially marketed computer. It is used to compile the results of the U.S. census, marking the first time this census is handled by a programmable computer.
1950 In his paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” Alan Turing presents the Turing Test, a means for determining whether a machine is intelligent.
1950 Commercial color television is first broadcast in the United States, and transcontinental black-and-white television is available within the next year.
1950 Claude Elwood Shannon writes “Programming a Computer for Playing Chess,” published in Philosophical Magazine.
1951 Eckert and Mauchley build EDVAC, which is the first computer to use the stored-program concept. The work takes place at the Moore School at the University of Pennsylvania.
1951 Paris is the host to a Cybernetics Congress.
1952 UNIVAC, used by the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) television network, successfully predicts the election of Dwight D. Eisenhower as president of the United States.
1952 Pocket-sized transistor radios are introduced.
1952 Nathaniel Rochester designs the 701, IBM’s first production-line electronic digital computer. It is marketed for scientific use.
1953 The chemical structure of the DNA molecule is discovered by James D. Watson and Francis H. C. Crick.
1953 Philosophical Investigations by Ludwig Wittgenstein and Waiting for Godot, a play by Samuel Beckett, are published. Both documents are considered of major importance to modern existentialism.
1953 Marvin Minsky and John McCarthy get summer jobs at Bell Laboratories.
1955 William Shockley’s Semiconductor Laboratory is founded, thereby starting Silicon Valley.
1955 The Remington Rand Corporation and Sperry Gyroscope join forces and become the Sperry-Rand Corporation. For a time, it presents serious competition to IBM.
1955 IBM introduces its first transistor calculator. It uses 2,200 transistors instead of the 1,200 vacuum tubes that would otherwise be required for equivalent computing power.
1955 A U.S. company develops the first design for a robotlike machine to be used in industry.
1955 IPL-II, the first artificial intelligence language, is created by Allen Newell, J. C. Shaw, and Herbert Simon.
1955 The new space program and the U.S. military recognize the importance of having computers with enough power to launch rockets to the moon and missiles through the stratosphere. Both organizations supply major funding for research.
1956 The Logic Theorist, which uses recursive search techniques to solve mathematical problems, is developed by Allen Newell, J. C. Shaw, and Herbert Simon.
1956 John Backus and a team at IBM invent FORTRAN, the first scientific computer-programming language.
1956 Stanislaw Ulam develops MANIAC I, the first computer program to beat a human being in a chess game.
1956 The first commercial watch to run on electric batteries is presented by the Lip company of France.
1956 The term Artificial Intelligence is coined at a computer conference at Dartmouth College.
1957 Kenneth H. Olsen founds Digital Equipment Corporation.
1957 The General Problem Solver, which uses recursive search to solve problems, is developed by Allen Newell, J. C. Shaw, and Herbert Simon.
1957 Noam Chomsky writes Syntactic Structures, in which he seriously considers the computation required for natural-language understanding. This is the first of the many important works that will earn him the title Father of Modern Linguistics.
1958 An integrated circuit is created by Texas Instruments’ Jack St. Clair Kilby.
1958 The Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is founded by John McCarthy and Marvin Minsky.
1958 Allen Newell and Herbert Simon make the prediction that a digital computer will be the world’s chess champion within ten years.
1958 LISP, an early AI language, is developed by John McCarthy.
1958 The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which will fund important computer-science research for years in the future, is established.
1958 Seymour Cray builds the Control Data Corporation 1604, the first fully transistorized supercomputer.
1958-1959 Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce each develop the computer chip independently. The computer chip leads to the development of much cheaper and smaller computers.
1959 Arthur Samuel completes his study in machine learning. The project, a checkers-playing program, performs as well as some of the best players of the time.
1959 Electronic document preparation increases the consumption of paper in the United States. This year, the nation will consume 7 million tons of paper. In 1986, 22 million tons will be used. American businesses alone will use 850 billion pages in 1981, 2.5 trillion pages in 1986, and 4 trillion in 1990.
1959 COBOL, a computer language designed for business use, is developed by Grace Murray Hopper, who was also one of the first programmers of the Mark I.
1959 Xerox introduces the first commercial copier.
1960 Theodore Harold Maimen develops the first laser. It uses a ruby cylinder.
1960 The recently established Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency substantially increases its funding for computer research.
1960 There are now about six thousand computers in operation in the United States.
1960s Neural-net machines are quite simple and incorporate a small number of neurons organized in only one or two layers. These models are shown to be limited in their capabilities.
1961 The first time-sharing computer is developed at MIT.
1961 President John F. Kennedy provides the support for space project Apollo and inspiration for important research in computer science when he addresses a joint session of Congress, saying, “I believe we should go to the moon.”
1962 The world’s first industrial robots are marketed by a U.S. company.
1962 Frank Rosenblatt defines the Perceptron in his Principles of Neurodynamics. Rosenblatt first introduced the Perceptron, a simple processing element for neural networks, at a conference in 1959.
1963 The Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Stanford University is founded by John McCarthy.
1963 The influential Steps Toward Artificial Intelligence by Marvin Minsky is published.
1963 Digital Equipment Corporation announces the PDP-8, which is the first successful minicomputer.
1964 IBM introduces its 360 series, thereby further strengthening its leadership in the computer industry.
1964 Thomas E. Kurtz and John G. Kenny of Dartmouth College invent BASIC (Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code).
1964 Daniel Bobrow completes his doctoral work on Student, a natural-language program that can solve high-school-level word problems in algebra.
1964 Gordon Moore’s prediction, made this year, says integrated circuits will double in complexity each year. This will become known as Moore’s Law and prove true (with later revisions) for decades to come.
1964 Marshall McLuhan, via his Understanding Media, foresees the potential for electronic media, especially television, to create a “global village” in which “the medium is the message.”
1965 The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, which will become a leading research center for AI, is founded by Raj Reddy.
1965 Hubert Dreyfus presents a set of philosophical arguments against the possibility of artificial intelligence in a RAND corporate memo entitled “Alchemy and Artificial Intelligence.”
1965 Herbert Simon predicts that by 1985 “machines will be capable of doing any work a man can do.”
1966 The Amateur Computer Society, possibly the first personal computer club, is founded by Stephen B. Gray. The Amateur Computer Society Newsletter is one of the first magazines about computers.
1967 The first internal pacemaker is developed by Medtronics. It uses integrated circuits.
1968 Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce found Intel (Integrated Electronics) Corporation.
1968 The idea of a computer that can see, speak, hear, and think sparks imaginations when HAL is presented in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick.
1969 Marvin Minsky and Seymour Papert present the limitation of single-layer neural nets in their book Perceptrons. The book’s pivotal theorem shows that a Perceptron is unable to determine if a line drawing is fully connected. The book essentially halts funding for neural-net research.
1970 The GNP, on a per capita basis and in constant 1958 dollars, is $3,500, or more than six times as much as a century before.
1970 The floppy disc is introduced for storing data in computers.
c. 1970 Researchers at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Cen- ter (PARC) develop the first personal computer, called Alto. PARC’s Alto pioneers the use of bit-mapped graphics, windows, icons, and mouse pointing devices.
1970 Terry Winograd completes his landmark thesis on SHRDLU, a natural-language system that exhibits diverse intelligent behavior in the small world of children’s blocks. SHRDLU is criticized, however, for its lack of generality.
1971 The Intel 4004, the first microprocessor, is introduced by Intel.
1971 The first pocket calculator is introduced. It can add, subtract, multiply, and divide.
1972 Continuing his criticism of the capabilities of AI, Hubert Dreyfus publishes What Computers Can’t Do, in which he argues that symbol manipulation cannot be the basis of human intelligence.
1973 Stanley H. Cohen and Herbert W. Boyer show that DNA strands can be cut, joined, and then reproduced by inserting them into the bacterium Escherichia coli. This work creates the foundation for genetic engineering.
1974 Creative Computing starts publication. It is the first magazine for home computer hobbyists.
1974 The 8-bit 8080, which is the first general-purpose microprocessor, is announced by Intel.
1975 Sales of microcomputers in the United States reach more than five thousand, and the first personal computer, the Altair 8800, is introduced. It has 256 bytes of memory.
1975 BYTE, the first widely distributed computer magazine, is published.
1975 Gordon Moore revises his observation on the doubling rate of transistors on an integrated circuit from twelve months to twenty-four months.
1976 Kurzweil Computer Products introduces the Kurzweil Reading Machine (KRM), the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind. Based on the first omni-font (any font) optical character recognition (OCR) technology, the KRM scans and reads aloud any printed materials (books, magazines, typed documents).
1976 Stephen G. Wozniak and Steven P. Jobs found Apple Computer Corporation.
1977 The concept of true-to-life robots with convincing human emotions is imaginatively portrayed in the film Star Wars.
1977 For the first time, a telephone company conducts large-scale experiments with fiber optics in a telephone system.
1977 The Apple II, the first personal computer to be sold in assembled form and the first with color graphics capability, is introduced and successfully marketed.
1978 Speak & Spell, a computerized learning aid for young children, is introduced by Texas Instruments. This is the first product that electronically duplicates the human vocal tract on a chip.
1979 In a landmark study by nine researchers published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the performance of the computer program MYCIN is compared with that of doctors in diagnosing ten test cases of meningitis. MYCIN does at least as well as the medical experts. The potential of expert systems in medicine becomes widely recognized.
1979 Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston establish the personal computer as a serious business tool when they develop VisiCalc, the first electronic spreadsheet.
1980 AI industry revenue is a few million dollars this year.
1980s As neuron models are becoming potentially more sophisticated, the neural network paradigm begins to make a comeback, and networks with multiple layers are commonly used.
1981 Xerox introduces the Star Computer, thus launching the concept of Desktop Publishing. Apple’s Laserwriter, available in 1985, will further increase the viability of this inexpensive and efficient way for writers and artists to create their own finished documents.
1981 IBM introduces its Personal Computer (PC).
1981 The prototype of the Bubble Jet printer is presented by Canon.
1982 Compact disc players are marketed for the first time.
1982 Mitch Kapor presents Lotus 1-2-3, an enormously popular spreadsheet program.
1983 Fax machines are fast becoming a necessity in the business world.
1983 The Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) is presented in Los Angeles at the first North American Music Manufacturers show.
1983 Six million personal computers are sold in the United States.
1984 The Apple Macintosh introduces the “desktop metaphor,” pioneered at Xerox, including bit-mapped graphics, icons, and the mouse.
1984 William Gibson uses the term cyberspace in his book Neuromancer.
1984 The Kurzweil 250 (K250) synthesizer, considered to be the first electronic instrument to successfully emulate the sounds of acoustic instruments, is introduced to the market.
1985 Marvin Minsky publishes The Society of Mind, in which he presents a theory of the mind where intelligence is seen to be the result of proper organization of a hierarchy of minds with simple mechanisms at the lowest level of the hierarchy.
1985 MIT’s Media Laboratory is founded by Jerome Weisner and Nicholas Negroponte. The lab is dedicated to researching possible applications and interactions of computer science, sociology, and artificial intelligence in the context of media technology.
1985 There are 116 million jobs in the United States, compared to 12 million in 1870. In the same period, the number of those employed has grown from 31 percent to 48 percent, and the per capita GNP in constant dollars has increased by 600 percent. These trends show no signs of abating.
1986 Electronic keyboards account for 55.2 percent of the American musical keyboard market, up from 9.5 percent in 1980.
1986 Life expectancy is about 74 years in the United States. Only 3 percent of the American workforce is involved in the production of food. Fully 76 percent of American adults have high-school diplomas, and 7.3 million U.S. students are enrolled in college.
1987 NYSE stocks have their greatest single-day loss due, in part, to computerized trading.
1987 Current speech systems can provide any one of the following: a large vocabulary, continuous speech recognition, or speaker independence.
1987 Robotic-vision systems are now a $300 million industry and will grow to $800 million by 1990.
1988 Computer memory today costs only one hundred millionth of what it did in 1950.
1988 Marvin Minsky and Seymour Papert publish a revised edition of Perceptrons in which they discuss recent developments in neural network machinery for intelligence.
1988 In the United States, 4,700,000 microcomputers, 120,000 minicomputers, and 11,500 mainframes are sold this year.
1988 W. Daniel Hillis’s Connection Machine is capable of 65,536 computations at the same time.
1988 Notebook computers are replacing the bigger laptops in popularity.
1989 Intel introduces the 16-megahertz (MHz) 80386SX, 2.5 MIPS microprocessor.
1990 Nautilus, the first CD-ROM magazine, is published.
1990 The development of HypterText Markup Language by researcher Tim Berners-Lee and its release by CERN, the high-energy physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland, leads to the conception of the World Wide Web.
1991 Cell phones and e-mail are increasing in popularity as business and personal communication tools.
1992 The first double-speed CD-ROM drive becomes available from NEC.
1992 The first personal digital assistant (PDA), a hand-held computer, is introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago. The developer is Apple Computer.
1993 The Pentium 32-bit microprocessor is launched by Intel. This chip has 3.1 million transistors.
1994 The World Wide Web emerges.
1994 America Online has more than 1 million subscribers.
1994 Scanners and CD-ROMs are becoming widely used.
1994 Digital Equipment Corporation introduces a 300-MHz version of the Alpha AXP processor that executes 1 billion instructions per second.
1996 Compaq Computer and NEC Computer Systems ship hand-held computers running Windows CE.
1996 NEC Electronics ships the R4101 processor for personal digital assistants. It includes a touch-screen interface.
1997 Deep Blue defeats Gary Kasparov, the world chess champion, in a regulation tournament.
1997 Dragon Systems introduces Naturally Speaking, the first continuous-speech dictation software product.
1997 Video phones are being used in business settings.
1997 Face-recognition systems are beginning to be used in payroll check-cashing machines.
1998 The Dictation Division of Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products (formerly Kurzweil Applied Intelligence) introduces Voice Xpress Plus, the first continuous-speech-recognition program with the ability to understand natural-language commands.
1998 Routine business transactions over the phone are beginning to be conducted between a human customer and an automated system that engages in a verbal dialog with the customer (e.g., United Airlines reservations).
1998 Investment funds are emerging that use evolutionary algorithms and neural nets to make investment decisions (e.g., Advanced Investment Technologies).
1998 The World Wide Web is ubiquitous. It is routine for high-school students and local grocery stores to have web sites.
1998 Automated personalities, which appear as animated faces that speak with realistic mouth movements and facial expressions, are working in laboratories. These personalities respond to the spoken statements and facial expressions of their human users. They are being developed to be used in future user interfaces for products and services, as personalized research and business assistants, and to conduct transactions.
1998 Microvision’s Virtual Retina Display (VRD) projects images directly onto the user’s retinas. Although expensive, consumer versions are projected for 1999.
1998 “Bluetooth” technology is being developed for “body” local area networks (LANs) and for wireless communication between personal computers and associated peripherals. Wireless communication is being developed for high-bandwidth connection to the Web.
1999 Ray Kurzweil’s The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence is published, available at your local bookstore!
2009 A $1,000 personal computer can perform about a trillion calculations per second.
Personal computers with high-resolution visual displays come in a range of sizes, from those small enough to be embedded in clothing and jewelry up to the size of a thin book.
Cables are disappearing. Communication between components uses short-distance wireless technology. High-speed wireless communication provides access to the Web.
The majority of text is created using continuous speech recognition. Also ubiquitous are language user interfaces (LUIs).
Most routine business transactions (purchases, travel, reservations) take place between a human and a virtual personality. Often, the virtual personality includes an animated visual presence that looks like a human face.
Although traditional classroom organization is still common, intelligent courseware has emerged as a common means of learning.
Pocket-sized reading machines for the blind and visually impaired, “listening machines” (speech-to-text conversion) for the deaf, and computer- controlled orthotic devices for paraplegic individuals result in a growing perception that primary disabilities do not necessarily impart handicaps.
Translating telephones (speech-to-speech language translation) are commonly used for many language pairs.
Accelerating returns from the advance of computer technology have resulted in continued economic expansion. Price deflation, which had been a reality in the computer field during the twentieth century, is now occurring outside the computer field. The reason for this is that virtually all economic sectors are deeply affected by the accelerating improvement in the price performance of computing.
Human musicians routinely jam with cybernetic musicians.
Bioengineered treatments for cancer and heart disease have greatly reduced the mortality from these diseases.
The neo-Luddite movement is growing.
2019 A $1,000 computing device (in 1999 dollars) is now approximately equal to the computational ability of the human brain.
Computers are now largely invisible and are embedded everywhere-in walls, tables, chairs, desks, clothing, jewelry, and bodies.
Three-dimensional virtual reality displays, embedded in glasses and contact lenses, as well as auditory “lenses,” are used routinely as primary interfaces for communication with other persons, computers, the Web, and virtual reality.
Most interaction with computing is through gestures and two-way natural-language spoken communication.
Nanoengineered machines are beginning to be applied to manufacturing and process-control applications.
High-resolution, three-dimensional visual and auditory virtual reality and realistic all-encompassing tactile environments enable people to do virtually anything with anybody, regardless of physical proximity.
Paper books or documents are rarely used and most learning is conducted through intelligent, simulated software-based teachers.
Blind persons routinely use eyeglass-mounted reading-navigation systems. Deaf persons read what other people are saying through their lens displays. Paraplegic and some quadriplegic persons routinely walk and climb stairs through a combination of computer-controlled nerve stimulation and exoskeletal robotic devices.
The vast majority of transactions include a simulated person.
Automated driving systems are now installed in most roads.
People are beginning to have relationships with automated personalities and use them as companions, teachers, caretakers, and lovers.
Virtual artists, with their own reputations, are emerging in all of the arts.
There are widespread reports of computers passing the Turing Test, although these tests do not meet the criteria established by knowledgeable observers.
2029 A $1,000 (in 1999 dollars) unit of computation has the computing capacity of approximately 1,000 human brains.
Permanent or removable implants (similar to contact lenses) for the eyes as well as cochlear implants are now used to provide input and output between the human user and the worldwide computing network.
Direct neural pathways have been perfected for high-bandwidth connection to the human brain. A range of neural implants is becoming available to enhance visual and auditory perception and interpretation, memory, and reasoning.
Automated agents are now learning on their own, and significant knowledge is being created by machines with little or no human intervention. Computers have read all available human- and machine-generated literature and multimedia material.
There is widespread use of all-encompassing visual, auditory, and tactile communication using direct neural connections, allowing virtual reality to take place without having to be in a “total touch enclosure.”
The majority of communication does not involve a human. The majority of communication involving
There is almost no human employment in production, agriculture, or transportation. Basic life needs are available for the vast majority of the human race.
There is a growing discussion about the legal rights of computers and what constitutes being “human.”
Although computers routinely pass apparently valid forms of the Turing Test, controversy persists about whether or not machine intelligence equals human intelligence in all of its diversity.
Machines claim to be conscious. These claims are largely accepted.
2049 The common use of nanoproduced food, which has the correct nutritional composition and the same taste and texture of organically produced food, means that the availability of food is no longer affected by limited resources, bad crop weather, or spoilage.
Nanobot swarm projections are used to create visual-auditory-tactile projections of people and objects in real reality.
2072 Picoengineering (developing technology at the scale of picometers or trillionths of a meter) becomes practical.1
By the year 2099 There is a strong trend toward a merger of human thinking with the world of machine intelligence that the human species initially created.
There is no longer any clear distinction between humans and computers.
Most conscious entities do not have a permanent physical presence.
Machine-based intelligences derived from extended models of human intelligence claim to be human, although their brains are not based on carbon-based cellular processes, but rather electronic and photonic equivalents. Most of these intelligences are not tied to a specific computational processing unit. The number of software-based humans vastly exceeds those still using native neuron-cell-based computation.
Even among those human intelligences still using carbon-based neurons, there is ubiquitous use of neural-implant technology, which provides enormous augmentation of human perceptual and cognitive abilities. Humans who do not utilize such implants are unable to meaningfully participate in dialogues with those who do.
Because most information is published using standard assimilated knowledge protocols, information can be instantly understood. The goal of education, and of intelligent beings, is discovering new knowledge to learn.
Femtoengineering (engineering at the scale of femtometers or one thousandth of a trillionth of a meter) proposals are controversial.2
Life expectancy is no longer a viable term in relation to intelligent beings.
Some many millenniums hence . . . Intelligent beings consider the fate of the Universe.