Recent theoretical and practical advances are currently driving a
renaissance in the fields of universal learners
and optimal search [56].
A new kind of AI is emerging.
Does it really deserve the attribute *``new,''* given that
its roots date back to the 1960s, just two decades
after Zuse built the first general purpose
computer in 1941?
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:

*1640:*first mechanical calculator (Pascal, France).*Two centuries later:*concept of a programmable computer (Babbage, UK).*One century later:*first working programmable computer (Zuse, Berlin), plus fundamental theoretical work on universal integer-based programming languages and the limits of proof and computation (Gödel, Austria, reformulated by Turing, UK). (The next 50 years saw many theoretical advances as well as faster and faster switches--relays were replaced by tubes, tubes by transistors, 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:*the World Wide Web (UK's Berners-Lee, Switzerland).