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Arthur Samuel

Law 1: A Robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

So in the Data and Analytics community there is a forward focus to the work: what can we do tomorrow with the information gained today, however it is equally important to look back to where we have been, and on that note I would like to reintroduce Arthur Lee Samuel.

Born in 1901 Arthur Samuel was, it could be argued, the pioneer of artificial intelligence research. From 1949 through to the 1960’s Arthur worked on machine learning and is credited with creating the first self-learning program, namely the Samuel Checkers playing program. Many say that this program was the starting point of AI.

Arthur liked to play Checkers and wrote a computer program so that he could play against the computer. The problem, however, was that whenever he played he won. Thinking about the situation Arthur wrote a program that would learn strategy from previous games, and those that lose. He then made the computer play itself over and over again…you can see what’s coming!

Arthur then engaged the computer in several games…losing every one! This is credited as the birth of machine learning.

So that’s a brief look into the past and hopefully I have made you curious, his papers on machine learning are still studied today, so go take a look!

Here’s to Arthur Lee Samuel.

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