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AI - What is it, really?

We hear about it all the time, and think we know what it means…but how does it work and what does it do? Co-founder of DataRobot, Jeremy Achin, gave this definition of how AI is used today:

"AI is a computer system able to perform tasks that ordinarily require human intelligence... Many of these artificial intelligence systems are powered by machine learning, some of them are powered by deep learning and some of them are powered by very boring things like rules."

I agree with what Jeremy has to say. I also see AI as the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. I also found interesting a new breakdown of AI in an article by Isha Upadhyay in which she defines four types of Functional AI and three types of Technology AI:

Functional AI

  1. Reactive Machines: This type of AI began the revolution by reproducing human abilities with limited technology. It can't 'learn' but functions well in narrow use cases.

  2. Limited Memory: This progression of AI 'learns' from previous data experiences and training data. Fingerprint scanning is a good example of this AI.

  3. Theory of Mind: While the previous two types of AI provide functional AI, multi-dimensional AI, while still in research, will bring a new level of human understanding to AI.

  4. Self-Aware: Primarily theoretical, self-aware systems would bring problem-solving and critical (AI) thinking to the level of human capabilities. This is quite a ways off.

Technology AI

  1. Artificial Narrow Intelligence: ANI is the most commonly applied technology in current AI applications. It focuses on limited tasks and uses training data and learned experiences. It may be considered 'weak AI', but it is still very useful.

  2. Artificial General Intelligence: AGI is still under development but the goal is to implement "Theory of Mind" functionality in the technology. This brings a more complex set of requirements to which AGI could be applied.

  3. Artificial Super Intelligence: ASI is a concept that would bring AI solutions that haven't even been considered yet. Although not clearly defined, other AI Types will help define what ASI is and how it can be applied. Whichever way you break down AI, know that AI is a strong software tool for the future that’s here to stay. The goal of AI is to provide human-like interactions with software and offer decision support for specific tasks, but it’s not a replacement for humans – and won’t be anytime soon. Let me know what you think! Or, have your AI contact my AI. Quote Sources:


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