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Artificial Intelligence

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence or AI is not so easily defined as you might think.  Minsky and McCarthy were the fathers of AI, in the 1950's. They defined AI as any task performed by a machine or programme that, if a human performed the task, would require intelligence to perform it. AI is all around us today.  When we receive an email recommending what we buy next. Or we visit a website and also see these recommendations based on what we have bought in the past. AI can detect credit card fraud, spot spam, respond to us via virtual assistants.

AI systems usually demonstrate some behaviours that we would typically associate with human intelligence, such as –

  • Learning
  • Planning
  • Problem solving
  • Reasoning
  • Knowledge representation
  • Motion
  • Perception
  • Manipulation
  • and sometimes, creativity.

AI can be split into two types –

  • Narrow AI – found in most computers today. Systems that can be taught or learn how to carry out specific tasks without being programmed to do them. They can only be taught to do specific tasks, hence narrow AI.
  • General AI – This is adaptable intellect that is similar to that found in humans.  This is the type of intelligence we saw in the film Terminator with Skynet. Researchers argue that this type of superintelligence does not exist today or whether it will ever exist. However, in 2013 a survey of experts reported a 50% chance of a superintelligence from 2040 to 2075!  Whilst others argue that a superintelligence is centuries away.

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