What is AI, artificial intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence, a fascinating technology!

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is probably the most exciting and fascinating branch in today’s world of technology. This area of computer science is already under rapid development and is creating interest because it is here right now.

It would usually be thought that 3D or holographic immersion would be a far more exciting field than AI, or perhaps that physical transportation of objects would excite the technological community more? But AI is harbouring great interest because it is a fast-developing arm of technical science.

artificial intelligence
Phone credits: pixabay

We Are Actually Using AI in the Home and Workplace

It seems that every day, thousands of virtual assistants like Google Home, Alexa (from Amazon) and the Apple assistant Siri are being sold and used in homes and offices all over the world. 

These small and affordable devices recognise voice, images in a photograph and have an ability to learn and develop, just as we humans do. But it is not just in small, hand-held devices where AI is being used. 

Cars that drive without the aid of a human have been in the prototype stage now for more than a decade. It is still too early for the general public and various departments of transport to get on board and use these vehicles to transport us up and down the country. But soon, they will. We await the infrastructure, but not the technology.

AI systems can be defined by typical behaviours: 

  • The ability to plan – Just like humans who schedule a criteria or a to-do list for the day, so too does artificial intelligence. 
  • Reasoning – If you were to ask an imperial weight question to an AI system like: How many pounds in a stone? You should reasonable expect the answer to return the value 14. It should reason with itself not to confuse “stone” or “pounds” with other meanings.
  • Knowledge Representation – AI should demonstrate that is knows enough knowledge and the capacity within to develop new skills.
  • Perception – As in self-driving vehicles, AI must demonstrate it knows what is behind, to the side and in front of the vehicle. Therefore, motion and manipulation skills must also be at the forefront of this branch of technology. 
artificial intelligence
Photo credits: Oleksandr Pidvalnyi

What stage are we at now? AI is often split into two distinct categories: narrow and general. Narrow AI is where we are at now with our virtual assistants, drones, X-ray machines that can spot tumours, web spiders that search for inappropriate online content and search engine algorithms

General AI is perhaps where we are going with all this. The future, the ideas in the making or the concept of machines showing intellect only found in humans. Indeed, it has been predicted by scientists that Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is now less than a century away from being used in everyday living. 

Artificial Intelligence is no new concept and was first under study in the early 1950s. But there is a clear resurgence in this field, fuelled by computer science and its own rapid development, the availability of data and major tech companies creating chips designed for AI experience and usage on a mass scale. 

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