ProjectBlog: What is Artificial Intelligence ?

Blog: What is Artificial Intelligence ?

Some worry about an “almighty” AI that will take over the world, and some think that AI is just a buzzword. The truth is somewhere in the middle.


There has been lot of buzz around artificial intelligence in the recent times and the term AI seems to be thrown around a lot but what exactly is AI? To answer that let’s go back to the time when it was first coined. The official idea and definition of AI was first coined by John McCarthy, he proposed —

“Every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can be in principal be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it. An attempt will be made to find how make machines use language, form abstractions and concepts, solve kinds of problems now reserved for humans, and improve themselves.”

In essence, AI is a machine with the ability to solve problems that are done by us humans with our natural intelligence. A computer would demonstrate a form of intelligence when it learns how to improve itself. A proposal for the Dartmouth Research Project on AI in 1955 focused on seven aspects of AI

  1. Simulating higher functions of the human brain
  2. Program a computer to use general language
  3. Arranging hypothetical neurons in a manner so that they can form concepts
  4. A way to determine and measure problem complexity
  5. Self improvement
  6. The quality of dealing with ideas rather than events
  7. Randomness and creativity

After 60 years, realistically speaking we have managed to successfully work on language, measure of complexity and self-improvement at-least to some degree. However randomness and creativity is just starting to be explored and as a result, it is leading to exponential growth in ideas and implementation on different use cases.

According to Jack Copeland who has written many books on AI says some of the most important aspects of intelligence are :

  1. Generalisation learning : Learning that enables the learner to perform better in situations not previously encountered
  2. Reasoning : To draw conclusions appropriate to the situation in hand
  3. Problem Solving : With given data computing required outputs
  4. Perception : Analysing a scanned environment, features, and relationships between objects and react accordingly. Example :crossing the road only when it green signal
  5. Understanding Language : Interpret human language and make sense of the sentences given as input similar to a human

There are different types of Artificial Intelligence in terms of approach:

Strong AI : It is simulating human brain by building system that can think and give us some in-site on how the brain works. We are currently no where near this stage yet!

Weak AI : It is a system that behaves like a human but doesn’t give us any in-site into how the brain works. IBM’s Deep Blue a chess playing AI is an example. It processed millions of moves before it made a actual move on the chessboard.

Why the buzz?

Although the hysteria of machines becoming sentient and taking over humans has been widespread since the terminator movies, in reality, artificial intelligence is nearly nothing like what the movie portrays. We aren’t digging our own graves but building effective tools to catapult the human race forward. “AI will automate everything and put people out of work.” “AI is a science-fiction technology.” “Robots will take over the world.” The hype around AI has produced many myths, in mainstream media, in board meetings and across organizations.

But every new piece of technology is subject to its own set of issues. Let’s now take a close look at the common myths that lurk around AI.

AI would lead to breach of privacy

This is, in fact, a policy issue rather than being a technological one as it depends on how the companies use the data they collect. The technology that we are using currently is not so advanced enough to think and make decisions on it’s own to use the data. Thus lowering the above claim and shifting the concern to security issues.

AI will replace only mundane tasks

Many companies and businesses across the globe have adopted AI and ML techniques and have witnessed incresed marketing. These abilities have enabled AI-based solutions to reach deep into work environments, not only replacing mundane tasks, but also augmenting those that are more complex.

Take, for example, the use of AI in complex data analytics. The designed algorithms take over the data and do the analysis and then present the information using various visualisation techniques. It takes into account the various relationships between the parameters that must be taken into account. Thus automating the process.

There exist machines that are far more intelligent than their creators

Humans are the ones who create these machines and even if super intelligent computers are invented, they would remain under the control of their creators thereby ensuring the safety and cost benefits of developing them.

Computers, from a certain point of view, are already better, smarter and brighter than normal human minds but they would never become preeminent. Humans are beings that are gifted with consciousness which at the moment are too complex to be incorporated into machines.

AI will take over the world

With the current technology we are using it is highly unlikely that this will ever occur. The truth is that we have just scratched the surface. It requires more research and development.

It is highly unlikely that machines which match the intelligence, creativity, and intellectual of humans can be synthesised. Computers having high level intelligence will only remain a dream as of now.

That being so, the future of AI is really mysterious and filled with hope and innovation.

Source: Artificial Intelligence on Medium

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