International Definitions of Artificial Intelligence

Report by IAPP: “Computer scientist John McCarthy coined the term artificial intelligence in 1955, defining it as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.” He organized the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence a year later — an event that many consider the birthplace of the field.

In today’s world, the definition of AI has been in continuous evolution, its contours and constraints changing to align with current and perhaps future technological progress and cultural contexts. In fact, most papers and articles are quick to point out the lack of common consensus around the definition of AI. As a resource from British research organization the Ada Lovelace Institute states, “We recognise that the terminology in this area is contested. This is a fast-moving topic, and we expect that terminology will evolve quickly.” The difficulty in defining AI is illustrated by what AI historian Pamela McCorduck called the “odd paradox,” referring to the idea that, as computer scientists find new and innovative solutions, computational techniques once considered AI lose the title as they become common and repetitive.

The indeterminate nature of the term poses particular challenges in the regulatory space. Indeed, in 2017 a New York City Council task force downgraded its mission to regulate the city’s use of automated decision-making systems to just defining the types of systems subject to regulation because it could not agree on a workable, legal definition of AI.

With this understanding, the following chart provides a snapshot of some of the definitions of AI from various global and sectoral (government, civil society and industry) perspectives. The chart is not an exhaustive list. It allows for cross-contextual comparisons from key players in the AI ecosystem…(More)”