Every day, a large portion of the population is at the mercy of rising technology, yet few actually understand what it is? Artificial Intelligence. We have been conditioned to except flying cars that steer clear of traffic and robotic maids whipping up our weekday dinner. But if the age of Artificial Intelligence is here, why don’t our lives look more like the Jetsons?
Well, for starters, that’s a cartoon. And really, if you’ve ever browsed Netflix movie suggestions or told Alexa to order a pizza, you’ve probably interacted with Artificial Intelligence more than you realize. And that’s kind of the point. AI is designed so you don’t realize there is a computer calling the shots. But that also makes understanding what AI (Artificial Intelligence) is, and what it’s not, a little complicated.
In basic terms, AI (Artificial Intelligence) is a broad area of computer science that makes machines seem like they have human intelligence. So it is not only programming a computer, but it is when that program also learns to exhibit signs of humans. As intimidating as it may seem, this technology is not new. Actually, for the past half-a-century, it is been an idea ahead of its time.
The term Artificial Intelligence (AI) was first coined back in 1956 by Dartmouth Professor John McCarthy. He called together a group of mathematicians and computer scientists to see if machines
Since then Artificial Intelligence has remained for the most part in university classrooms and super secret labs, but that’s changing. Like all exponential curves, it is hard to tell when a line that is slowly ticking upwards is going to skyrocket. But during the past few years, a couple of factors have led to AI (Artificial Intelligence) becoming the next big thing. First, huge amounts of data are being created every minute.
In fact, 90% of the world’s data has been generated in the past two years. And now thanks to the advance in processing speeds, computers can actually make sense of all this information more quickly. Because of this, tech giants and venture capitalists have bought into AI and are infusing the market with cash and new applications.
Artificial Intelligence will become a little less artificial, and a lot more intelligent very soon. Now the question is, Should you brace yourself for yet another Terminator movie, live on your city streets?
Not exactly, In fact, stop thinking of robots. When it comes to Artificial Intelligence, a robot is nothing more than the shell concealing what’s actually used to power the technology. That means Artificial Intelligence can manifest itself in many different ways. Let’s break down the options.
First, you have your bots. They are text-based and incredibly powerful, but they have limitations. Ask a weather bot for the forecast, and it will tell you it’s partly cloudy with a high of 57 or something else. But ask that same bot what time it is in Tokyo, and it will get a little confused. That’s because the bot only programmed to give you the weather by pulling from a specific data source.
Natural language processing makes these bots a bit more sophisticated. When you ask Siri or Cortana where the closest gas station is, it’s really just translating your voice into text, feeding it to a search engine, and reading the answer back in human syntax. So, in other words, you don’t have to speak in code.
What is Machine Learning?
At the far end of the spectrum is machine learning, and honestly, it’s one of the most exciting areas of Artificial Intelligence. The machine retains information and becomes smarter over time, like a human. But unlike in humans, it’s not susceptible to things like short-term memory loss, information overload, sleep deprivation, and distractions. But how do these machines actually learn?
Well, while it may be easy for a human to know the difference between a cat and a dog, for a computer, not so much. You see, when you are only considering the physical appearance, the difference between cats and dogs can be a little gray. You can say cats have pointed ears and dogs have floppy ears, but those rules are not universal. Between tail length, fur texture, and color, there are a lot of options, and that means a lot of boring rules someone would have to program manually to help a computer spot the difference between a cat and a dog.
But remember, Machine learning is all about making machines learn like humans. With Machine Learning, programs analyze thousands of examples to build an algorithm. It then tweaks the algorithm based on if it achieves its goal. Over time, the program actually gets smarter. That’s how machines like IBM’s Watson can diagnose cancer, compose classical symphonies.
Some programs even mimic the way the human brain is structured, complete with neural networks that help humans, and now machines solve problems. However, the question is, How will Artificial Intelligence affect your job? Will it make your work obsolete?
Just like the Industrial Revolution, It’s not human versus machine. It’s human and machine versus the problem. The point is that AI (Artificial Intelligence) helps you accomplish more in less time, taking on the repetitive tasks of your job while you master the strategy and relationships. That way, humans can do what they do best, be human.
So, what’s your opinion on Machine Learning, let me know in the comments.