Recent theoretical and practical advances are currently driving a
renaissance in the fields of universal learners
and optimal search [59].
A new kind of AI is emerging.
Does it really deserve the attribute *``new,''* given that
its roots date back to the 1930s, when
Gödel published the fundamental
result of theoretical computer science [16]
and Zuse started to build the first general purpose computer
(completed in 1941), and the 1960s, when Solomonoff and
Kolmogorov published their first relevant results?
An affirmative answer seems justified, since
it is the recent results on practically feasible computable
variants of the old incomputable methods
that are currently reinvigorating the long dormant field.
The ``new'' AI is new in the sense that it abandons the mostly
heuristic or non-general approaches of the past decades,
offering methods that are both general and theoretically
sound, and provably optimal in a sense that *does*
make sense in the real world.

We are led to claim that the future will belong to universal or near-universal learners that are more general than traditional reinforcement learners / decision makers depending on strong Markovian assumptions, or than learners based on traditional statistical learning theory, which often require unrealistic i.i.d. or Gaussian assumptions. Due to ongoing hardware advances the time has come for optimal search in algorithm space, as opposed to the limited space of reactive mappings embodied by traditional methods such as artificial feedforward neural networks.

It seems safe to bet that not only computer scientists but also
physicists and other inductive scientists will start to pay more
attention to the fields of universal induction and optimal search, since
their basic concepts are irresistibly powerful and general and simple.
How long will it take for these ideas to unfold their full impact? A very
naive and speculative guess driven by wishful thinking might be based
on identifying the
*``greatest moments in computing history''*
and extrapolating from there. Which are those ``greatest moments''? Obvious
candidates are:

*1623:*first mechanical calculator by Schickard starts the computing age (followed by machines of Pascal, 1640, and Leibniz, 1670).*Roughly two centuries later:*concept of a*programmable*computer (Babbage, UK, 1834-1840).*One century later:*fundamental theoretical work on universal integer-based programming languages and the limits of proof and computation (Gödel, Austria, 1931, reformulated by Turing, UK, 1936); first working programmable computer (Zuse, Berlin, 1941).*(The next 50 years saw many theoretical advances as well as faster and faster switches--relays were replaced by tubes by single transistors by numerous transistors etched on chips--but arguably this was rather predictable, incremental progress without radical shake-up events.)**Half a century later:*World Wide Web (UK's Berners-Lee, Switzerland, 1990).