by Robert Haas (IBM Research Europe) and Michael Pfeiffer (Bosch Center for Artificial Intelligence)
The origins of artificial intelligence (AI) can be traced back to the desire to build thinking machines, or electronic brains. A defining moment occurred back in 1958, when Frank Rosenblatt created the first artificial neuron that could learn by iteratively strengthening the weights of the most relevant inputs and decreasing others to achieve a desired output. The IBM 704, a computer the size of a room, was fed a series of punch cards and after 50 trials it learnt to distinguish cards marked on the left from cards marked on the right. This was the demonstration of the single-layer perceptron, or, according to its creator, "the first machine capable of having an original idea".