What is artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is the development of computer systems which can perform tasks that usually require human intelligence to complete.

Examples include:

  • Speech recognition
  • Translation
  • Facial / image recognition
  • Decision making

AI development is nothing new – as far back as 1997 IBM’s Deep Blue super computer beat chess master Gary Kasparov, but the systems that have been developed in the past have had very narrow and well defined parameters (each chess piece can only perform a very narrow set of moves and the objective of the game is very clear and never changes). ┬áDeveloping AI that can have a wider use is much more difficult.

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Narrow AI

Most current AI systems are narrow AI. These systems perform one specific task very well, but they cannot perform other tasks at all. They can’t ┬álearn like humans do.

Examples of Narrow AI

  • Air traffic control
  • Chess game AI
  • Facebook face recognition software.

General AI

The task of creating a general purpose AI is extreme difficult. The human brain is one of the most complex structures in the universe, and replicating its neural network functionality is incredibly difficult, if not impossible.

Also. if we do successfully develop General purpose AI, it is entirely possible that it could pose a danger to the human race (think terminator…)

Advantages

  • AI can perform some jobs far better than humans can. This is incredibly useful for situations where there is little room for error ( e.g. Air traffic control)
  • It would allow computers to perform difficult but repetitive jobs that humans do.
  • AI robots in the home could help elderly people or people with disabilities.

Disadvantages

  • If the AI makes a mistake accidentally, it could pose a danger to humans.
  • As AI becomes more widespread, it will mean that many jobs for humans will be lost(e.g. translation jobs)
  • If AI develops beyond the capability of human beings, it could mean the end of mankind.

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