Artificial intelligence is the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to execute tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings.
Our needs never end. First it was to keep us save, then to keep us warm, provide food, move us around and so on. Today it’s about an assistant, humanoid or otherwise which can think, act and react, suggest and interpret just like us. Sci-fi and its movie-avatar apart, we have achieved this to an admirable level though a lot remains to be done, and given the very depth of the subject, it could be a while before we could bring something like our humanoid duplicate and introduce it as our alter ego.
In the meantime, what we have is AI, short for Artificial Intelligence, the outcome of nearly half-a-century of efforts to come up something which matches our i.e. human ability to do complex tasks and also hunger for more, all the while learning to do things better.
This brings us to the question, is AI the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to execute tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings?
Today, 37% percent of organizations have implemented AI in some form. That’s a 270% increase over the last four years – Gartner reports. Another interesting fact is 44% of executives believe artificial intelligence’s most important benefit is to provide data that can be used to make business decisions.
We could say a firm YES for the following reasons mentioned below with the rider that a lot needs to be done if these machines are to be anywhere near humans in their ability to think and act radical and innovate and discover drastically different things.
1. The range of activity a system can now do surpasses what they have ever done on their own
AI-assisted Robots and Computers can do a lot more than they could ever have done till a few years back. Example abound these days like those of care-givers to the old and the infirm in Japan and food being delivered in the west through robotized machines which can locate addresses. At home too, one can see chatbots like Alexa and Siri which work on voice command and bring forth required information over the gadget. Voice-assisted systems have started to take over keyboards with computers being no exception and so too entertainment avenues like DTH connections where one needs to voice-in the command instead of using the keyboard. Behind all these is AI in no small ways which assists them to understand commands and predict what may come next.
2. Their response is very human-like in terms of engagement and understanding
Witness what a voice-assisted system puts forth when it seems confused. Siri would say “I’m not sure I understand” which in a similar situation could be the response of most humans. This, and a myriad many messages may seem stereo-typed and pre-recorded but come to the fore only after the system has done its home-work (of checking with past samples) and knows it cannot process a request. Such a thing was never a possibility till a few years back. It has been made possible because of AI, assisted with big data, which in most cases is a collection of organized information in humongous volumes which tell the system what to do out of many existing possibilities. It could have just shown “Error” and ended the engagement which was the norm a few years back but systems today have the ability to go beyond- a confirmed characteristic of AI!
3. With AI what works in the background is “neural networks”, a system that mimics the way we grow our levels of understanding and has the ability to get better with time
Our brains are made up of a humongous 100 billion nerve cells, called neurons that get inputs from varied sources including our five senses. These arrive (and depart) in the form of electrochemical signals. Processed by the brains, these go back to the respective organ coded for relevant action. All these happen at lightning speeds. Also, this sending and receiving of information isn’t unidirectional. Neurons process signals in every direction and are the reason why we think and act so fast.
AI assisted systems too have layers of neural networks which process information quite like us i.e. vertical and horizontal, and thus have (though not as prolific) the human-like ability to react in multiple ways.
Best of all, like human neuron network, AI’s neural networks too learn with time and experiences, though their output as of now could be a factor of their underlying system’s capacities and capabilities which only enhances in the presence of information i.e., BIG DATA.
4. Like humans gain knowledge thru varied means including touch, smell, hearing and seeing sensation, AI-assisted systems get activated using voice commands, visual clues, and data that’s been typed in
AI like intelligent systems of organic origins, get their inputs from varied sources. For humans and others in the animal world, the 5 senses get us information which is processed by our brains. For AI, there is a big-data crunching system which decides the next course of action, and which with time shall only get sharper and quicker!
5. Like humans, though to a very limited extent, they can predict what needs to be done next like robot-assisted cars, and robots in factory lines, or robots on the shop-floors
The best example of how neural networks are that of a traffic signal. Even before arriving there, the vehicle has to reduce speed and come to a stop. When the light turns green, the reverse needs to be done. All these result thousands of signals going to the brain which in turn processes and sends the response as to what needs to be done next. The AI system too works quite like our brains and the neural networks send signals to the central system which taking cue from all that has already been fed-in gives out the right response. If by chance, there is a sudden change, the AI system shall get the inputs and recalibrate its response- something that humans too do but much, much faster!
Yes, the wheels of human ingenuity have gone quite far from the time we got out of the jungles and used it to our advantage. Today we are into another jungle though of a very different kind. What shall take us out of it safe and sound remains the same as before. Ingenuity. And in that our creation, the AI shall greatly assist us.
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