Report: Slave and Expert Systems

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  1980s: Artificial Intelligence (AI) - From Lab to Life

Following the commercial success of expert systems, which started in the 1970s, also other AI technologies began to make their way into the marketplace. In 1986, U.S. sales of AI-related hardware and software rose to U.S.$ 425 million. Especially expert systems, because of their efficiency, were still in demand. Yet also other fields of AI turned out to be successful in the corporate world.

Machine vision systems for example were used for the cameras and computers on assembly lines to perform quality control. By 1985 over a hundred companies offered machine vision systems in the U.S., and sales totaled U.S.$ 80 million. Although there was a breakdown in the market for AI-systems in 1986 - 1987, which led to a cut back in funding, the industry slowly recovered.

New technologies were being invented in Japan. Fuzzy logic pioneered in the U.S. and also neural networks were being reconsidered for achieving artificial intelligence. The probably most important development of the 1980s was, that it showed that AI technology had real life uses. AI applications like voice and character recognition systems or steadying camcorders using fuzzy logic were not only made available to business and industry, but also to the average customer.

browse Report:
Slave and Expert Systems
    Introduction: The Substitution of Human Faculties with Technology: Early Tools
-3   1960s - 1970s: Expert Systems Gain Attendance
-2   1970s: Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (CIM)
-1   Late 1970s - Present: Fourth Generation Computers
0   1980s: Artificial Intelligence (AI) - From Lab to Life
Mass production
The term mass production refers to the application of the principles of specialization, division of labor, and standardization of parts to the manufacture of goods. The use of modern methods of mass production has brought such improvements in the cost, quality, quantity, and variety of goods available that the largest global population in history is now sustained at the highest general standard of living. A moving conveyor belt installed in a Dearborn, Michigan, automobile plant in 1913 cut the time required to produce flywheel magnetos from 18 minutes to 5 and was the first instance of the use of modern integrated mass production techniques.