Artificial Intelligence

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What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is the design, implementation, and use of programs, machines, and systems that show human intelligence, with its major activities being knowledge representation, reasoning, and learning. Although it is important to note there is no one agreed upon definition of artificial intelligence and it can vary according to the disciplines it works within. Artificial intelligence includes a number of important sub-fields:

  • Voice recognition
  • Image identification
  • Natural language processing
  • Expert systems
  • Neural networks
  • Planning
  • Robotics
  • Intelligent agents.


From: Salem Encyclopedia of Science. (2020). Artificial intelligence. Retrieved from

This video on artificial intelligence introduces you to the topic with a fun and simple approach.  It defines artificial intelligence, how it's different from machine learning and deep learning and discusses its features, types and scope.  The video also looks at some of the interesting applications of artificial intelligence.

What is Artificial Intelligence
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Picture this; a machine that could organize your cupboard just as you like it. Or serve every member of the house a customized cup of coffee makes your day easier doesn't it? These are the products of artificial intelligence. But why use the term artificial intelligence?

Well, these machines are artificially incorporated with human-like intelligence to perform tasks as we do. This intelligence is built using complex algorithms and mathematical functions. But AI may not be as obvious as in the previous examples. In fact, AI is used in smartphones, cars, social media feeds, video games, banking, surveillance and many other aspects of our daily life. The real question is, what does an AI do at its core?

Here is a robot we built in our lab which is now dropped onto a field. In spite of a variation in lighting, landscape and dimensions of the field, the AI robot must perform as expected. This ability to react appropriately to a new situation is called generalized learning. The robot is now at a corssroad. One that is paved and the other rocky. The robot must determine which path to take based on the circumstances. This portrays the robots reasoning ability.

After a short stroll, the robot now encounters a stream that it cannot swim across. Using the plank provided as an input, the robot is able to cross the stream. So our robot uses the given input and finds the solution for a problem. This is problem solving

These three capabilities (generalized learning, reasoning, problem solving) make the robot artificially intelligent. In short, AI provides machines with the capability to adapt, reason and provide solutions.

Well, now that we know what AI is, let's have a look at the two broad categories that AI is classified into. Weak AI, also called narrow AI, focuses solely on one task. For example, alphago is a maestro of the game Go, but you can't expect it to be even remotely good at chess. This makes alphago a weak AI.

You might say Alexa is definitely not a weak AI since it can perform multiple tasks. Well, that's not really true. When you ask Alexa to play "Despacito," it picks up the keywords "play" and "Despacito" and runs a program and is trained to. Alexa cannot respond to a question it isn't trained to answer. For instance, try asking Alexa the status of traffic from work to home. Alexa cannot provide you this information as she is not trained to.

And that brings us to our second category of AI -- strong AI. Now this is much like the robots that only exist in fiction as of now. Ultron from Avengers is an ideal example of a strong AI. That's because it's self-aware and eventually even develops emotions. This makes AI's response unpredictable.

You must be wondering, "well how is artificial intelligence different from machine learning and deep learning?" We saw what AI is. Machine learning is a technique to achieve AI. And deep learning in turn is a subset of machine learning.

Machine learning provides a machine with the capability to learn from data and experience through algorithms. Deep learning does this learning through ways inspired by the human brain. This means, through deep learning, data and patterns can be better perceieved.

Ray Kurzweil, a well known futurist, predicts that by the year 2045, we would have robots as smart as humans. This is called the point of singularity. Well, that's not all. In fact, Elon Musk predicts that the human mind and body will be enhanced by AI implants which would make us partly cyborgs. So here's a question for you -- which of the below AI projects don't exist yet? A. an AI robot with citizenship. B. a robot with a muscular skeletal system. C. AI that can read its owner's emotions. D. AI that develops emotions over time. Give it a thought and leave your answers in the comments section below (in youtube). Three lucky winners will receive Amazon gift vouchers.

Since the human brain is still a mystery, it's no surprise that AI too has a lot of unventured domains. For now, AI is built to work with humans and make our tasks easier. However, with the maturation of technology, we can only wait and watch what the future of AI holds for us. Well, that is artificial intelligence for you in short. Do not forget to leave your answer to the quiz in the comment section below. Also, like share and subscribe to our (youtube) channel. If you enjoyed this video, stay tuned and keep learning.[Music]

Artificial Intelligence Resources

These eBooks provide an overview of some of the concepts, skills and issues involved in artificial intelligence.  EBooks on more specific topics within artificial intelligence will be provided in the AI Topics section of this research guide.  Besides reading books, the most current and leading edge information is derived from conference proceedings.  The IEEE Xplore Digital Library and the ACM Digital Library databases offer the latest conference proceedings on artificial intelligence.

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