Definition of Artificial Intelligence
When thinking about AI or Artificial Intelligence, voice-powered personal assistants — Siri and Alexa, for example — often come to mind. However, to truly understand the powerful capabilities within our reach in today’s world, we need to first understand the overall Artificial Intelligence definition. So, what is Artificial Intelligence? The simplest way to define Artificial Intelligence is to say that it’s the imitation of intelligent human behavior through the use of a machine.
Artificial Intelligence, coined as such in 1956 by John McCarthy during the first conference on this particular topic, has been a subject of interest for decades. We can trace the most basic idea of Artificial Intelligence back to the Greek myths. There we find stories of mechanical men, like the manufactured robotic servants of Hephaestus. During this era, Artificial Intelligence was considered to be anything from the first printing press to the first clocks, the first automatic calculator, the first mechanical toys, and so on.
It wasn’t until 1956 that a new era of Artificial Intelligence officially began. This was due to the new computer technology that was still in its infancy at the time. This modern era spawned a number of computer-related breakthroughs, many subtle advances like those made in logarithms and analytical tactics. Although these advancements went largely unnoticed by the general public, the blossoming technology was moving forward nonetheless. Recent years have seen the rise of more drastic advances in various areas. Virtual reality, data mining, and intelligent tutoring are just a few examples. Only recently have people begun to realize just how important AI is. They’ve now aware how powerful it is, and how greatly it affects even some of the smallest daily tasks.
Examples of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is indeed capable of incredible things. That being said, some of the more common uses of AI might seem a bit mundane to the average person. We live in a world where dreams can become reality. One of these sought-after dreams consists of the fantastic display of Artificial Intelligence shown in HBO’s stunning series Westworld; it features lifelike versions of robots. Although we may likely achieve that level of AI one day in the future, we’re not quite there yet.
We can find some of the most innovative, but realistic, applications in Artificial Intelligence in a variety of industries today. For instance, if you’ve played a video game or two before, you’ve experienced AI firsthand. Games known as first-person shooters equip their AI enemies with the ability to run rampant on their own accord, analyzing environments to figure out how best to stay alive; they might look for a hiding spot or team up with another AI in order to increase their chances of survival. Although a more simple form of Artificial Intelligence, it is incredibly impressive nonetheless.
Another example of AI is found in smart home devices, such as lighting that will adjust and dim or brighten based on your location around the house and what you’re doing. There’s also the predictive technology of Netflix, which gets smarter and smarter each year. This AI analyzes billions of listings. Based on your streaming history and ratings of films, it provides you with smart suggestions that you are almost guaranteed to love. Finally, there’s Siri, Apple’s voice-activated personal assistant that took the world by storm upon release. She handles all of our daily tasks and is getting smarter every day.
Breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence
Various breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence have been made in recent years. Nonetheless, one of the most innovative applications by far is that of a self-driving car. Google has developed an algorithm that could allow self-driving cars to learn how to drive through experience, just as humans do, rather than with the aid of pre-loaded maps. These self-driving cars will eventually be able to take into account the road ahead and make proper decisions based on what it sees. The Tesla, for instance, is one of the smartest cars currently on the market and has self-driving capabilities.
Another incredibly innovative application with the ability to potentially change the world was is a device that wraps around one’s ear and works in combination with a smartphone to give sight to the blind, in a sense. A tiny camera within the device captures whatever might be in front of the user. This includes written words or a person’s face, and sends the photo to a smartphone app. This app then analyzes the photo and offers an audio description to the user through the earpiece.
Even further still, we have AI applications that serve to make the Internet a safer place, a better place for humanity. For instance, a dating app utilizes technology that filters out nudity and other potentially offensive photos. No longer requiring users to flag something as offensive, this algorithm instead learns from examples and does the work itself. Artificial Intelligence is also capable of monitoring what users list for sale online. When users upload a photo of an illegal item, the AI will prevent the listing from going live.
The future of Artificial Intelligence is quite a controversial topic. Ask anyone their opinion and it will fall on either side of the spectrum — for or against. The creation of a truly human-like machine is certainly a possibility but a far-off one at that. As the gap between human and machine closes, the elements of which remain exclusively human, like true interpersonal relationships, will be increasingly valued. Meanwhile, it’s important to take a step back and appreciate the incredible AI that is currently our reality. Feel free to share your own thoughts on the subject below!