Artificial Intelligence: What it is and why you should embrace it

It’s no secret that Artificial Intelligence has seen a great resurgence over the past few years. From Netflix to self-driving cars, it’s clear that AI is not only here to stay, but it’s bound to make our lives a whole lot easier.

Without knowing it, we are using Artificial Intelligence more and more in our everyday lives. In a typical household, everything from smart assistants in the form of smart speakers, vacuum cleaners and streaming services are all powered by AI. 

While there are still a lot of sceptics out there, AI seems to be gaining popularity at an immense rate, but we can’t help wondering, how much do we really know about it?

Let’s start with the basics, shall we?

What is Artificial Intelligence?

In a nutshell, Artificial Intelligence (AI), is based on the idea that machines can be built to think and execute tasks as humans do. The goals of artificial intelligence therefore include learning, reasoning, and awareness.

When was it discovered?

Artificial Intelligence can be traced back to the pre-20th century. 

The most notable dates in more recent times, however, was in 1950 and 1956 respectively.

In 1950, Alan Turing published “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” in which he proposed “the imitation game”. This was later known as the “Turing Test” which is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to that of a human.

But, it is was in 1956, at a workshop held on the campus of Dartmouth College that AI research was ultimately founded.

The conference was organised by John McCarthy with the main objective being to clarify and develop ideas about thinking machines. It lasted about six to eight weeks and it is believed that McCarthy coined the term artificial intelligence specifically for the conference.

For a more detailed timeline on AI, click here.

The categorisation of Artificial Intelligence

According to Investopedia, artificial intelligence can be divided into two different categories: weak and strong.

Weak artificial intelligence embodies a system designed to carry out one particular job. Weak AI systems include video games and personal assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri.

Strong artificial intelligence systems are systems that carry out tasks considered to be human-like. These tend to be more complex and complicated systems. The machines are programmed to solve a problem without the assistance or intervention of a human. Examples of these applications are self-driving cars or hospital operating rooms.

What is it Artificial Intelligence used for?

AI is continuously evolving and benefits many different industries.

Below are just a few examples of how AI has infiltrated our everyday lives.

Web search
Search engines learn from the vast input of data from users to provide relevant and matched search results.

Online shopping
Artificial Intelligence provides personalised recommendations to people, based on their previous searches and purchases, or other online behaviours. 

Advertising
Forward-thinking marketers are all introducing AI to their strategies for its ability to increase revenue, save time and reduce costs. AI can process your ad spend and targeting data, look at your results, then learn what actions (spending changes, targeting changes, etc.) will drive better performance. (Source: marketingaiinstitute)

Automated Translation Tools
AI translators are digital tools that use advanced artificial intelligence to translate written or spoken words. They can also translate the meaning (and sometimes the sentiment) of the message. This results in greater accuracy and fewer misunderstandings than when using simple machine translation.

Here are a few examples of how AI is set to change our lives.

AI can improve Health

Technology applications and apps encourage healthier behaviour in individuals and help with the day to day management of a healthy lifestyle.

It puts consumers in control of health and well-being. Additionally, AI increases the ability for healthcare professionals to better understand the day-to-day patterns and needs of the people they care for, and with that understanding, they are able to provide better feedback, guidance and support for staying healthy. (Source: pwc.com)

Self-sufficiency

Autonomous delivery bots can ensure the delivery of vitally important goods to those in need. They can also be used to ensure that vulnerable people like senior citizens get their essentials on time, especially during a crisis like COVID-19.

Can help farmers

AI-powered drones can help farmers gather critical information on their crops in record time. Drones can quickly fly over a farm and take pictures and videos that highlight potential threats to crops. 

The technology can help farmers make decisions about what to plant and when, how to irrigate more effectively, how to deploy fertilizers and supplements, and when to harvest. (Source: prnewswire)

It offers Dynamic Insights

AI’s ability to analyse large quantities of data at speed and scale allows it to deliver actionable insights in real-time.

In pulling data from customer demographics, past transactional data, and external sources, AI helps workflows make better business decisions. (Source: Businesstech)

Conclusion

Combining the best of human ability with the best of machine automation can enable us to lead more efficient, productive and even healthier lives.

Do you need advice on adding AI to your website? Get in touch.

Photo by Daniel Frank on Unsplash

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