The Weekend Assignment: Food Holidays

The Weekend Assignment is back, and the theme this weekend is food holidays.

What holidays in the world revolve around food? Is the food being celebrated, or is the food being used to celebrate something else? What is the history of food holidays?

These are a few questions you could explore.


Before we start salivating over holiday food let’s explore the last Weekend Assignment on Artificial Intelligence.

Definition of Artificial Intelligence:

  1. a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers
  2. the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior

The idea of artificial intelligence began in Ancient Greece with stories of robots such as Talos. Talos was a giant automaton made of bronze and was created to protect Europa and Crete from invaders.

The stories of automata permeated throughout history, from Ancient Greece, China, and Egypt. Most of the stories had the automata as soldiers and protectors programed with one specific purpose.

It wasn’t until around the 17th century that the idea of AI shifted from mechanical men to mechanical objects that performed various functions such as mathematical calculations. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, a German mathematician, invented the Stepped Reckoner, a machine designed to perform multiplication and division. This was one of the earliest calculators.

Jumping to the 20th century we have Alan Turing who invented the Turing Machine that is considered to be one of the first general purpose computers. He later formulated the Turing Test to potentially determine machine intelligence.

During the early days of the Space Race NASA had computer departments that consisted of women who poured over vast amounts numbers and data, they became known as ‘Human Computers’. When NASA began using the early IBM computers the women went from performing calculations to programing the machines.

The first home computers were introduced in the late 1970’s and became popular during the 80’s.

In 1997 IBM’s Deep Blue chess machine defeats the world champion, Garry Kasparov.

Now we have AI in almost all areas of our lives, from our phones, our TVs, and even our vacuums. The next question in the world of AI is how/when will we invent an AI that becomes self aware.


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