What is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a field dedicated to giving computers the qualities of human intelligence. AI can focus on simulating a specific intelligent process, such as problem-solving, or be more general with simulations of overall intelligence. Researchers simulate many aspects of intelligence with AI.
Aspects of intelligence simulated
In AI, several main aspects of intelligence are the focus of research. One of these is the ability to reason from facts. An intelligent system can use logic or heuristics to extrapolate new information from a set of facts. Another aspect of intelligence is learning. An intelligent agent can learn by either processing data or from experiencing an environment. Making plans and solving problems are other intelligent processes simulated with AI. This makes it useful for many applications.
AI includes many interesting subfields that are developing rapidly. Natural Language Processing (NLP), for example, is the ability to process language and determine what it means. Intelligent assistants like Siri or Alexa use NLP along with speech recognition to understand what you want them to do. Machine learning is a subfield of AI in which a machine receives data and learns to recognize patterns in it. As the machine learns, it gets feedback, which determines how it categorizes future data. Robotics is another active field of AI in which intelligent machines do specific tasks, such as cleaning a floor or assembling a product.
AI examples include the algorithms that determine what products or TV shows you may like. These systems analyze data from your online interactions to predict your future desires. Another example of AI is IBM Watson. Watson learns from a large data set and is so good at identifying facts that it beat top Jeopardy players in a 2011 game. Watson now has health care applications in analyzing patient data to come up with suggestions for medical professionals.
Artificial intelligence is a rapidly progressing field. While no AI has come close to simulating all aspects of human intelligence, they can simulate specific aspects in useful ways. As the subfields of AI develop, consumer-facing interfaces are beginning to reflect the new technologies. In the future, expect to see even more development in AI.
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