It might be a stretch to suggest that there'd be no AI without John McCarthy, but at the very least, we'd likely be discussing the concept much differently. The computer scientist, who died on Sunday at 84, is credited with coining the term "Artificial Intelligence
" as part of a proposal for a Dartmouth conference on the subject. The event, held in 1956, is regarded as a watershed moment for the subject. Early the following decade, McCarthy pioneered LISP, a highly popular programming language amongst the AI development community. In 1971, he won a Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery and 20 years later was awarded National Medal of Science. A more complete obituary for McCarthy can be found in the source link below.