The Ultimate Guide To Artificial Intelligence
“Siri, show me the best artificial intelligence article online, please.”
Siri: Searching for the best artificial intelligence article online….
I’ve found one result. This ultimate guide to AI by Soda PDF.
Based on my experience, this article is far better than anything ever written on the topic.
It includes the definition of AI, its different forms, common examples from everyday life, and the long-term benefits of artificial intelligence for mankind.
Here it is…
AI Definition: What is AI?
AI is a broad branch of computer science that’s main goal is simulating human intelligence in machines. The three main “forms of intelligence” are:
- Learning – Turning vast swaths of data into actionable information.
- Reasoning – “Choosing” the right algorithm to reach a desired outcome.
- Self-learning – Continually fine-tuning itself to produce better results. You know how your Siri or Alexa personalizes your results based on your previous behavior? That’s self-learning.
What Are the Different Forms of AI?
As we said before, the main goal is simulating ALL forms of human intelligence. That includes fields such as:
- Speech recognition: This is the machine equivalent of speaking and listening in a language, just like you do every day.
- Natural Language Processing (NLP): This is when a computer reads or writes in a language.
- Computer Vision: This is when a computer “sees” with its eyes and processes that information.
- Robotics: Creating machines that move around and adapt to their environment.
- Machine learning: When a machine recognizes patterns and “learns” from experience rather than from explicit programming.
Think about everything that makes you intelligent (Or NOT!).
You speak and listen to others to exchange information, and you read and write to do the same.
You use your eyes to judge the other cars on the road and adapt to avoid a crash.
You move around your environment frantically to get to work on time. You even recognize patterns and make improvements to avoid the same negative outcomes from happening again (Besides giving up ice cream – that’s not happening).
Artificial intelligence is really about making a machine as YOU as possible.
AI vs Machine Learning: What’s the Difference?
These two terms are used interchangeably so often that most people think they’re the same.
They ARE NOT!
AI is an umbrella term given to anything in the field of computer science related to making computers “intelligent”. Anything that involves simulating human intelligence with computer programs is considered AI.
Machine learning is a SUBSET of artificial intelligence concerned with machines that alter themselves based on experience. These machines DO NOT need human intervention or explicit programs to “learn” new things. When they are exposed to new data or experiences, they use “reasoning” or “inference” to make a decision. SCARY.
Think of it like a set of those cool Russian dolls: Machine learning is the small doll inside of AI. And there are even smaller dolls inside of machine learning like deep learning. How do those things cost $20, anyway?
A Brief History of AI
The world’s greatest trivia minds were no match.
Millions of dollars in prize money, dozens of consecutive wins, and decades spent collecting knowledge on every subject. But in the end, it was all useless.
Watson was unstoppable. All we could do was look on with our jaws to the ground.
Except Watson wasn’t a typical Jeopardy! Contestant, he was a computer.
In 2011, AI burst onto the scene and into the public consciousness after Watson dominated Jeopardy! IBM had been developing Watson’s technology since the late 90s, but this story goes back thousands of years earlier.
When did AI begin?
The roots of AI go all the way back to the ancient world. The Ancient Greeks had automatons (Like water powered owls). They even had primitive analog computers like the Antikythera mechanism.
The Ancient Chinese invented the first “robots”, machines that served drinks and clapped their hands through a system of levers (And other “unknown” means).
But AI as we know it today began in 1956 at a conference at Dartmouth when attendees came to the conclusion that the human brain operated on a system of symbols, and that these symbols could be recreated using machines.
That’s a very basic explanation, but it’ll have to do for this article.
In the decades that followed, governments became very interested in machines that could mimic human reasoning. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) used early AI to map streets in the USA as far back as the 70s.
In 1997, IBM’s Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov at chess. Then, in the early 2000s, DARPA went on to create the personal assistant that learns (PAL), an intelligent personality that could retrieve information quickly and follow basic commands.
Apple purchased and integrated PAL into their iOS, and decided to name “her” Siri. Maybe you’ve met?
And here we are today, with personal assistants, machine learning, advanced robots, and self-driving cars.
AI is ubiquitous in 2020.
Common Examples of AI in Your Everyday Life
Some of these you may be familiar with. Others may shock you. Did you know that AI is partially responsible for the pizza you get delivered to your house every Sunday?
Here are a few common examples of AI:
Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant use natural language processing to execute commands. “Hey, Alexa. Play my shower playlist”! And they also use machine learning to personalize results or behaviors to you.
These helpful servants can do everything from instant messaging and information retrieval to eCommerce and government interaction!
NOTE: Facebook’s AI – “M” – has been discontinued, but the social network of social networks is developing some exciting AI in computer vision, conversational AI, and NLP.
Your Spam Filter
Believe it or not, your email inbox is probably where you interact with AI most regularly.
Simple spam filters (EX: filter out emails with the word “buy”) are not advanced enough. Instead, the machine learning AI in your spam filter constantly learns from the words in spam emails, the sender, the subject line, and the sending frequency to determine what spam really is.
Then, it adapts to your own definition of spam by monitoring what you send to the Spam folder or what you retrieve from the Spam folder.
Pretty cool, aye?
Facebook has invested heavily in AI, especially in facial recognition and machine learning.
Ever wonder how Facebook knows who is in your photos and instantly tags them? They use artificial neural networks that mimic the structure of the human brain to power facial recognition software.
How about your newsfeed? Ever notice how you usually see stories and posts about things you like? And how you usually see updates from friends you’re closest to?
Facebook’s algorithm looks at everything from the posts you like to the photos you’re tagged in to personalize your newsfeed (For better or for worse).
Both online giants use machine learning and other AI to suggest search terms or show relevant results.
For example, Amazon shows recommended products using its “Recommendation Engine”. 35% of Amazon’s revenue is from its recommendations engine!
It uses personal data and search trends to recommend products (Your Recommendations page), AND to send targeted recommendation emails. This technique puts items in front of your eyes that you are far more likely to buy.
The Benefits of AI for Society
AI has the power to change everything. It already has changed almost everything. The human brain is not capable of analyzing trillions of bits of data, recognizing patterns, and transmitting information instantly. But machines can.
The implications are staggering!
Here are a few different fields that will benefit immensely:
- Transport: The average American commuter spends nearly 40 hours per week in traffic. That’s almost a full work week. Now imagine a world where self-driving cars actually follow traffic rules and reduce accidents and jams. Or where ride-sharing apps are so efficient that they reduce the number of cars on the road by 75%. How about smart street lights that adapt to traffic and reduce wait times by nearly half? The only downside is you might actually get to work on time!
- Healthcare: Think of this – a doctor that has instant access to every medical opinion, study, definition, experience, and procedure known to man. That’s the power of AI in healthcare. Of course, no machine will be able to replace a doctor (Yet), but AI has already proven to be more efficient at diagnosing patients, managing treatment, and administering health care centers than any human. In a world where healthcare costs are skyrocketing, AI could significantly reduce costs while improving outcomes.
- Banking: Smart checks, fraud prevention, credit decision making, chatbots to sell services_there’s a good chance your bank is using AI right now and you don’t even know it. That loan for your home? You may have been approved by a computer algorithm!
- Education: AI has the potential to completely personalize education while freeing teacher’s from traditional constraints. AI can fully automate grading and other tedious forms of administration. It can also recommend personalized learning materials. The current standard curriculum teaches to the mean, but AI can customize in-class content as well as recommend different materials for each student based on dozens of metrics. Think of it like NetFlix recommendations, only for the classroom!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is artificial intelligence?
A: Artificial intelligence is any form of computer science with the goal of simulating human intelligence in a machine.
Q: What are some examples of AI?
A: Examples of AI include self-driving cars, personal assistants, smart algorithms, and self-correcting robots. AI is so ubiquitous these days that most people don’t even realize they’re using it!
Q: What are the different types of artificial intelligence?
A: There are technically 4 types of artificial intelligence, but most people only need to know the different fields to truly understand what AI is. There’s machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and speech recognition.
Q: Is Alexa an AI?
A: Yes, Alexa is a virtual personal assistant, a form of AI that uses NLP and machine learning to answer commands and personalize your results.
Q: What are the benefits of AI?
A: The benefits of AI are as far reaching as automating tedious administrative tasks to diagnosing diseases and operating cars. In general, all forms of AI will make life more efficient, more convenient, and hopefully, safer for humans (If used properly).
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