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Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is currently one of the hottest buzzwords in tech and with good reason. The last few years have seen several techniques that have previously been in the realm of science fiction slowly transform into reality [1]. 

A Brief History of Artificial Intelligence

Here’s a brief timeline of the past six decades of how AI evolved from its inception.

1956 – John McCarthy coined the term ‘artificial intelligence’ and had the first AI conference.

1969 – Shakey was the first general-purpose mobile robot built. It is now able to do things with a purpose vs. just a list of instructions.

1997 – Supercomputer ‘Deep Blue’ was designed, and it defeated the world champion chess player in a match. It was a massive milestone by IBM to create this large computer.

2002 – The first commercially successful robotic vacuum cleaner was created. 

2005 – 2019 – Today, we have speech recognition, robotic process automation (RPA), a dancing robot, smart homes, and much more to come. 

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Computer science defines AI research as the study of “intelligent agents”: any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of successfully achieving its goals [2]. Artificial Intelligence is a method of making a computer, a computer-controlled robot, or a software think intelligently like the human mind. AI is accomplished by studying the patterns of the human brain and by analyzing the cognitive process. The outcome of these studies develops intelligent software and systems. Researchers extend the goals of AI to the following:

  1. Logical Reasoning  AI programs enable computers to perform sophisticated tasks. On February 10, 1996, IBM’s Deep Blue computer won a game of chess against a former world champion, Garry Kasparov.
  2. Knowledge Representation Smalltalk is an object-oriented, dynamically typed, reflective programming language that was created to underpin the “new world” of computing exemplified by “human-computer symbiosis.”
  3. Planning and Navigation  The process of enabling a computer to get from point A to point B. A prime example of this is Google’s self-driving Toyota Prius.
  4. Natural Language Processing  Set up computers that can understand and process language.
  5. Perception  Use computers to interact with the world through sight, hearing, touch, and smell.
  6. Emergent Intelligence  Intelligence that is not explicitly programmed, but emerges from the rest of the specific AI features. The vision for this goal is to have machines exhibit emotional intelligence and moral reasoning.

Some of the tasks performed by AI-enabled devices include:

  • Speech recognition 
  • Object detection
  • Solve problems and learn from the given data 
  • Plan an approach for future tests to be done

Let us look at the types of AI in the next section of What is Artificial Intelligence article.

Types of Artificial Intelligence 

Below are the various types of AI:

1. Purely Reactive

These machines do not have any memory or data to work with, specializing in just one field of work. For example, in a chess game, the machine observes the moves and makes the best possible decision to win. 

2. Limited Memory

These machines collect previous data and continue adding it to their memory. They have enough memory or experience to make proper decisions, but memory is minimal. For example, this machine can suggest a restaurant based on the location data that has been gathered.

3. Theory of Mind

This kind of AI can understand thoughts and emotions, as well as interact socially. However, a machine based on this type is yet to be built. 

4. Self-Aware

Self-aware machines are the future generation of technology. They will be intelligent, sentient, and conscious.

Applications of Artificial Intelligence

Machines and computers affect how we live and work. Top companies are continually rolling out revolutionary changes to how we interact with machine-learning technology.

Some of the more common commercial business uses of AI are:

1. Banking Fraud Detection 

From extensive data consisting of fraudulent and non-fraudulent transactions, the AI learns to predict if a new transaction is fraudulent or not. 

2. Online Customer Support

AI is now automating most of the online customer support and voice messaging systems.

3. Cyber Security 

Using machine learning algorithms and ample sample data, AI can be used to detect anomalies and adapt and respond to threats. The cybersecurity arena faces significant challenges in the form of large-scale hacking attacks of different types that harm organizations of all kinds and create billions of dollars in business damage. Artificial intelligence and Natural Language Processing (NLP) has begun to be used by security companies – for example, SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) solutions. The more advanced of these solutions use AI and NLP to automatically sort the data in networks into high risk and low-risk information. This enables security teams to focus on the attacks that have the potential to do real harm to the organization, and not become victims of attacks such as Denial of Service (DoS), Malware and others.

4. Virtual Assistants 

Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and Google now use voice recognition to follow the user’s commands. They collect information, interpret what is being asked, and supply the answer via fetched data. These virtual assistants gradually improve and personalize solutions based on user preferences.

The next section of What is Artificial Intelligence article discusses the future of AI.

The Future of Artificial Intelligence

Considering the growing adoption and popularity of AI, we can imagine how things would change for humans in the future. 

  • Automated transportation will become more common, even as early as 2020. 
  • Humans will be able to augment themselves with robots. Robots could bring a cup of coffee, prepare reports, control home appliances, and handle other tasks. 
  • There will be more smart cities as vehicles, phones, and home appliances that will be run by AI. 
  • Home robots will help older people with their day-to-day work. Japan, for instance, already has an in-depth program where they’ve begun to integrate robots to help. Tasks like contacting a doctor in case of emergency can now be done with AI. 
  • Robots will take over hazardous jobs like bomb defusing, welding, etc. 

Some of these robotic uses are already in development, and companies are trying to bring them to common people in a commercial business fashion. Your imagination can take this to the next level.


Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has already received a lot of buzz in recent years, but it continues to be a trend to watch because its effects on how we live, work, and play are only in the early stages. In addition, other branches of AI have developed, including Machine Learning, which we will go into below. AI refers to computer systems built to mimic human intelligence and perform tasks such as recognition of images, speech or patterns, and decision making. AI can do these tasks faster and more accurately than humans.


[1] Nikita Duggal (2020) “What is Artificial Intelligence: Types, History, and Future” [Online] Available: Retrieved 20 Jul 2020.