Artificial Intelligence Pioneer John McCarthy Dies at 84

by Stan Schroeder

John McCarthy, the inventor of programming language Lisp and the man who coined the term “artificial intelligence,” has died at the age of 84.

Born in 1927, McCarthy had a PhD in mathematics and was a long-standing professor at Stanford University. He was the first to use the term “artificial intelligence” at a conference at Dartmouth College in 1956 and is one of the founders of the field of A.I. research.

His programming language, Lisp, together with its dialects, is often the language of choice for artificial intelligence applications.

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Robotic truck could haul supplies in combat zones

No driver required
Robotic truck could haul supplies in combat zones
Posted: Jan. 24, 2006

First there was Terramax, an unmanned robotic truck that completed a 150-mile race through the Mojave Desert.

Now, Oshkosh Truck Corp. has developed a second version of Terramax that could be used to haul supplies in dangerous war zones. The 10-wheel-drive truck was tested this week in the desert near Yuma, Ariz.

The tests were done on an off-road course, with U.S. military officials watching from a sport utility vehicle.

It was "quite a viable demonstration," said John Stoddart, president of Oshkosh Truck's defense division.

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Teaching computers to read no simple task

Creating algorithms to convert text so machines can learn
The Associated Press
Updated: 9:34 a.m. ET Jan. 31, 2005TROY, N.Y. - Among the handiest villains in science fiction are Computers That Know Too Much. Think of the dream-weaving despots of "The Matrix" or murderous HAL in "2001: A Space Odyssey." But in reality, even the most super supercomputer lacks the reasoning capacity of a child engrossed in a Dr. Seuss book. Computers can't read the way we do. They can't learn or reason like us.

Narrowing that cognitive gap between humans and machines — creating a computer that can read and learn at a sophisticated level — is a big goal of artificial intelligence researchers.

The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, or DARPA, granted a contract worth at least $400,000 last fall to two Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professors who are trying to build a machine that can learn by reading.

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