John McCarthy, father of AI, dies at 84

John McCarthy, the American computer scientist who first coined the term 'artificial intelligence' (AI), has died at the age of 84.

McCarthy was most noted for inventing the concept of artificial intelligence in 1955, and creating a powerful programming language, Lisp, in 1960, which remains in use today.

McCarthy spent most of his academic career at Stanford University, where he was Professor of Computing Science, but it was while at Dartmouth College in 1955 that coined the term 'artificial intelligence' in his proposal for the seminal 1956 Dartmouth Summer Research Conference on Artificial Intelligence, which effectively kicked off development of AI as a scientific field.

McCarthy received a number of honours during his career, including the Turing Award in 1971 and the National Medal of Science in 1991.

Following his retirement the previous year, in 2001 McCarthy wrote a short story, The Robot and The Baby, a light-hearted exploration of whether robots should have emotions, which anticipated a number of aspects of internet and social networking culture.