The history of AI winters
The first AI winter happened in the 1970s and followed years of heavy investment in AI technologies, especially by the US military.
Projects had ranged from physical robots to machine translation of Russian documents, and yet none had achieved anything like their proposed functionality in the real world. A number of reports were commissioned by different countries and funding agencies, and all reported poor prospects for many areas of AI technology. Research funding was duly slashed around the world.
Interest in AI picked up again in the 1980s as computing became more widespread across businesses. This created new use cases for AI, as well as more computing power, data and commercial investment. However, again, expectation exceeded reality and there was a further dip in funding and research as a result.
Given the amount of money being poured into AI by the tech sector, and others, current times are often described as an AI spring – but is there a danger of overinflated expectations and another crash in confidence?