A Timeline of Technology and Intelligent Watsons

CoHo Productions presents
The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence

by Madeleine George

CoHo Season 22

September 8 – September 30, 2017

How Did We Get Here? Wires, Wisdom, and Watsons.

January 6, 1838
Samuel Morse sends America’s first telegram across two miles of wiring.

July 27, 1866
The first translatlantic telegraph is completed, allowing the first transatlantic telegraphy communications.

March 10, 1876
Alexander Graham Bell places the first telephone call, answered by his assistant Thomas A. Watson. 

The first manual switchboard for telephone communication debuts in Boston.

The first long distance phone service is available in the USA.

Winter 1887                    
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle publishes A Study in Scarlet, the first Sherlock Holmes story, with narration from Dr.  John Watson.

June 16, 1911                 
Thomas J. Watson, Sr. founds the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR).

CTR becomes International Business Machines (IBM)

IBM co-develops its first computer, the Automated Sequence Controlled Calculator (Mark I) with Harvard University.

IBM provides a translation system for the Nuremberg trials.
The first mobile car-based telephone system is introduced. It weighed 80 lbs.

Thomas J. Watson, Jr. becomes president of IBM.

The term “artificial intelligence” is coined. 


ELIZA, and early natural language processing computer program, is created at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory by Joseph Weizenbaum. ELIZA simulated conversation by using pattern matching to create the illusion that the program understood and could respond appropriately to human language.

The first non-car mobile phone (DynaTAC) appears.

The IBM Personal Computer 5150 debuts, a landmark in the transition of computing from the province of the military and big government to everyday people.

The first flip phone is released. It cost $3,000.

The first Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system is introduced, allowing telephone calls to be made via the internet instead of analog telephone lines. There will be 1 billion VoIP users by the end of 2017.

IBM’s Deep Blue beats Garry Kasparaov in a chess match.

2007        The iPhone debuts.

February 16, 2011        
IBM’s Watson computing platform defeats human champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter on Jeopardy!

2014 and beyond         
IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence technology is being used in automobiles, healthcare, education, retail, business, and law enforcement applications around the world. 


Don’t Stop Here

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