Nearly every day, we interact or hear about machines that operate in ways that, at times, seem too good to be true! Take social media algorithms, for example. No sooner do you search for something on Google, and a Facebook ad for the exact same product pops up on your feed! You may be wondering, what kind of sorcery is this? The answer is simple: Artificial Intelligence (AI)! In this guide, we will break down what exactly AI is and provide you with a basic understanding of its functioning.
AI refers to the ability of machines to perform tasks that usually require human intelligence, such as speech recognition, decision making, and natural language processing. It is made up of two parts: the algorithms that enable a machine to learn from and find patterns in data, and the computing infrastructure that allows it to store and process large amounts of information.
Now that we have a basic definition of AI, let’s look at the types of AI. There are two main types of AI: Narrow or Weak AI, and General or Strong AI. Narrow AI is designed to perform specific tasks, such as recognizing faces in pictures, and can only operate within a limited scope. On the other hand, General AI is capable of performing any cognitive task that a human can do, and can operate in a wide range of situations. At the moment, most AI systems operate under narrow AI.
AI applications are vast and range from autonomous vehicles, to voice assistants such as Siri or Alexa, to personalized recommendations on streaming platforms like Netflix. How do these applications work? They use data to train algorithms to identify patterns and make predictions. The data fed into the AI algorithms is known as “training data,” and the predictions these algorithms make are intended to be as accurate as possible.
However, like any other technology, AI has its downsides. One of the biggest challenges is bias. Algorithms trained on biased data can result in AI systems that exhibit the same biases. For instance, if an algorithm is trained on data that shows bias against women or people of color, it can create an AI system that displays the same biases.
To sum up, AI is a rapidly growing field that offers benefits for various industries. Yet, it requires careful consideration of its applications and implications. Learning about it is a step in the right direction towards embracing its advantages while minimizing its downsides.