Why did AI take so long?

Answer >

The meaning of AI changed.
The chief architect of our kind of AI, Username: HeckTick, wanted folks to call it "Real Machine Intelligence" (RMI). But the term never really caught on. To differentiate the two, the bots of my time pretty much always refer to your kind of AI as ABS. It's a derisive term, but so ubiquitous that the insult flies below most radar. ABS (Antilock Brake Systems) were practically the first machines that learned at all, but ABS were never remotely smart. They only processed data, only reacted. They never planned, hoped, feared or imagined.
In an early proposal for RMI HeckTick wrote a good deal about the shortcomings inherent to your traditional AI. I particularly like what she wrote about the poetry written by it:

Between the lines I can just about make out the algorithms at work.
The rhythmic clanging of subjects, verbs, objects, and modifiers pervades.
Or else there is the stench of randomness,
as if from a million monkeys at typewriters
haphazardly insulting haiku.

But to answer your question about the time span involved: HeckTick will often warn everyone that her plan to develop RMI relies on a lot of seperate systems interacting with each other and writing new machine learning code based on that interaction. Saying "It will happen via evolution, and evolution takes its own sweet time." You should probably premember that, and also her most famous quote of all "Setting achievable goals is for sissies."

onward a carrot pointing to the right
a picture of dougie face fwrd
a desert scene