What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

The Impact of AI on our Lives and Its Role in our Future

Artificial intelligence already has a wide-ranging impact on our lives; it powers our smart appliances, helps us shop and do research, and assists doctors with diagnoses. But how did we get here? To get the full picture, we’ve dug into the history, benefits, key concepts, and future projections for the use of AI. Here are the basics, from Alan Turing to machine learning.

Defining Artificial Intelligence

We’ve all heard the term, but just what exactly is artificial intelligence (or AI)? AI is the concept of non-human entities possessing human-level intelligence and performing intelligent tasks, a concept that dates back to the ancient world. However, the version of AI we’re most familiar with today is that of computers performing tasks that normally require human intelligence.

There are two versions of AI floating around: the “narrow” AI that we deal with more and more in our everyday lives—think search engines, spam filters, and robotic floor cleaners—and then there is the concept of a fully developed or “general” AI that will someday operate independently of human beings. Narrow AI is geared toward a host of tasks that AI can perform today to varying degrees of success, including facial and voice recognition, pattern recognition, and research capabilities. The second concept of general AI is still the stuff of science fiction, but as an idea it’s an important component of the history of artificial intelligence.

 

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