AI has been with us for over 2000 years. When Apollonius described Talos in The Argonautica, he was calling on an older idea. In the older Liezi, a humanoid robot astonished a king, and—in perhaps the earliest description of an unintended consequence of AI—infuriated him by winking at his favourite mistress.
Modern AI has been on the agenda ever since computers were built in the 1940s. After alternating decades of boom and bust, we stand once more at a point of cautious optimism. Thanks to a combination of advances in hardware, huge investments by industry, and of course, sustained academic research, we now think that data-driven software can contribute usefully to one of the two roles for AI anticipated by Alan Turing, as a tool for assisting advances in the Sciences, Engineering, Business and even the Humanities. At APPCAIR we want to be part of shaping this future. Our mission is to conduct high-quality, focused research in AI, and to be a nursery for training future generations of skilled and responsible data scientists.