The Child Program and the History of AI


In this contribution I try to illustrate some of the most significant moments in the history of AI (Artificial Intelligence), imagining that they have been a series of subsequent stages in the development of the so called “Child Program.” With this name Alan Turing – in Computing machinery and intelligence (1950) – described for the first time the idea of an algorithm ‟capable of being educated.” After discussing Turing’s prophecy, I will present some milestones of research in AI considering that each is a piece of a ‟learning scheme” of extended intelligence, i.e. an intelligence ascribable not only to humans beings, but also to any subject able to support thinking functions. I propose that from the elements of this scheme it is possible to draw useful suggestions for human education in general. In the final part of the contribution, I will collect the elements into a synoptic vision, which I will call “the educational protocol of the extended intelligence.” This will define the minimum requirements that a training course should possess in order to conduct a ‟child program” at the ‟adult program” stage.

Article history

Received 09 December 2022. Revised 29 December 2022. Accepted 03 January 2023. Published online 16 January 2023