June 2, 2016

AI Platform: We’re Making AI Programming as Basic as BASIC | Bonsai

AI Platform: We’re Making AI Programming as Basic as BASIC | Bonsai

“There are two keys to the new computer revolution. One is that computers must be inexpensive, and the other is that computers must be understandable”
- David Bunnell’s 1975 MITS’ Computer Notes Newsletter

Two Dartmouth professors, John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz, made computers understandable in 1964. Sensing the increasing importance of computers, they wanted a program that every student could use without getting too bogged down in technical mathematics.

Kemeny and Kurtz built BASIC, a programming language so simple that just about anyone could write programs ranging from games to complex calculations. BASIC quickly spread across the computing community and was so accessible that a 13-year-old in Seattle used it to write a tic-tac-toe game at school. That teenager was, of course, Bill Gates and eventually he used BASIC to launch one of the world’s largest software companies and kick start personal computing.

The right tools and a good idea

Other revolutionary technologies — the Internet, mobile applications — have followed this same path. They are born in the labs of universities and tech giants, but they are given life in the hands of hackers with imagination.

Just look at some of the most popular apps today. Instagram was first coded in a Mexican BnB, Snapchat started in a dorm room, and the glorious though briefly-lived Flappy Bird came to us from Vietnam. All they needed was a Wi-Fi connection and the tools to control exactly what they wanted to build from anywhere in the world.

Democratizing AI

Artificial intelligence must follow this trajectory to reach its real potential. Incredible advancements are being made by huge tech companies and PhDs, but there are only about 18,000 people in the world who have the skillset to really control what an artificially intelligent agent is taught to accomplish. Comparatively, there are more than 18 million developers in the world, but they lack the tools to easily experiment with the possibilities of AI.

At Bonsai, we are building those tools because, as history has shown time and again, the most creative, fun and important contributions often come from unexpected individuals with the right resources.

If a developer wants to apply AI to their code today, there are certainly options depending on their skill level and ultimate objective. But the AI space hasn’t made that crucial leap in ease of use and accessibility, and only then will we see the greatest possibilities of AI start to be explored.

It is one of our core beliefs as a company that there are unlimited use cases for artificial intelligence and unlimited potential for AI to improve and enhance our world. We’re building the tools; we can’t wait to see what you do with them.

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