What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
While movies and science fiction novels depict AI as the cruel machines or robots that take over the world, travel across space and time, can track and has answers to every query, can cause mass destruction, etc these are only over-imaginative science fiction. In reality AI is not that horrific – or that advanced either. In current times, AI has evolved and is evolving to provide numerous benefits in every industry be it medicine, technology, stock markets, manufacturing, travel, knowledge management, etc.
Unlike the hype of AI, you do not have to be an Einstein or have a data science degree or tech background to understand AI. What is more important is to understand its benefits and the ROI it can provide. AI does not actually mean making the machines intelligent, it means making the machines smart to help humans work smarter and make life simpler.
Defining intelligence and artificial intelligence
The talent and problem solving skills possessed by humans to make decisions – simple or complex, the knowledge and experience which helps you in your life is natural intelligence, which is present in every living thing. As one gains more experience and insight, their ability to judge better, make accurate and more informed decisions grows.
Artificial intelligence is the way machines mimic human intelligence and decision making functions. The machines are programmed in such a way that it takes in all information, separates it into relevant data and learns from the data behavior like the human brain would. It also applies the logic of random probability and patterns. Artificial intelligence makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and involves decision making to perform tasks like a human being would. Like the human brain, exposure to more data can help AI in machines to estimate more accurate decisions.
When did the idea for AI first come into existence?
In the first half of the 20th century Alan M Turing reasoned that like humans use available information and logical reasoning to solve problems and make decisions, machines too should be build in such a way that they too can do the same thing. Initially AI used to work on logic which was similar to the method of reasoning that resembles human reasoning, known as Fuzzy Logic. Fuzzy logic was defined on a set of user-supplied human language rules. The fuzzy systems convert these rules to their mathematical equivalents so that computers and systems understood how to utilize the logic behind them.
AI implementations experienced in the current age
AI is becoming the latest trend in all fields of life to increased data volumes, advanced algorithms, progressing technology and improvements in computing power and storage. Most AI examples that you experience in today’s world – from Apple’s Siri, IBM’s Watson to Google’s Alexa and Echo, AI cloud technologies, information gathering drones, unmanned flights, and chess-playing computers to medical breakthroughs in surgical procedures carried out by robots – rely heavily on deep learning, pattern recognition and natural language processing NLP. Successful AI application is visible in many verticals like technology, marketing, banking, healthcare, smart-phones, smart devices, finance, entertainment, etc.
AI is not limited specifically to select industries or domains but can be viewed as a smarter archetype of work, research, and productivity. Advantages of AI include that it adds intelligence to products for example
- Siri, the new AI add-on to new generation of Apple products keeps getting more accurate the more we use them as it is based on deep learning.
- Similar is the case with Alexa, Google Search and Google Photos. Here too learning, structure and regularities in data helps the algorithm to acquire new skills.
- In the field of healthcare, AI not only provides options like Fitbit to check your physical activity but also provides Personal health care assistants which monitor pulse readings, personalized medicine reminders, etc.
- In manufacturing AI helps predict demands, forecasts sales and expected load and demand though factory IoT data as it streams from connected equipments. Stock Management and virtual designing of sites and architecture of machinery can also be predicted and implemented realistically using AI.
- AI applications provide virtual shopping capabilities and keep searching and updating retail offers as per customer interests. These include personalized recommendations and purchase options, payment flexibility and virtual scenarios, etc.
AI is not the sole domain of the IT industry anymore but is being sought after across all streams of life in various applications and verticals. The day is not far when AI will be visible across all walks of life, in business, environments and personal life. And as we wait expectantly for these AI babies, we should not forget that the storks (technologies) delivering these also drop bundles of simplified smartness, prosperity, better management and luxuries.