What Is Artificial Intelligence? (+Basics to Help You Learn About AI)

Rebecca Reynoso
Rebecca Reynoso  |  March 29, 2019

As surprising as it may seem, artificial intelligence is not a new concept. Where it may seem like something straight out of the modern age, AI has actually been in existence for centuries, with the majority of its growth occurring from 1950 onward.

What is artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is a buzzword that people toss around without knowing much about what it means or entails. A facet of computer science, artificial intelligence focuses specifically on computer systems performing tasks with intelligence akin or reflective to that of a human.

Because there are so many elements of artificial intelligence that expand into smaller, denser categories, it can be difficult to keep on track when trying to learn more about AI. To streamline your learning process, click on any of the links below to read a small, introductory blurb that can then take you further on your AI knowledge journey:

History of AI

Before diving further into the depths of AI, it’s important to read up on the history of artificial intelligence to better understand its evolution and current place in the modern world.

Learning about AI’s history will give you some insight into how rapidly the field has grown and why it’s become such a hot topic over the course of the past decade. For instance, trailblazers like John McCarthy and Alan Turing opened doors to the study of artificial intelligence, which helped ramp up modern research in the field. McCarthy coined the phrase "artificial intelligence" based on a workshop he gave, while Turing developed the Turing Test, which tested machines to see if they could exhibit humanlike intelligence. 

With tech innovations like self-driving vehicles, humanoid robots, and chatbots on every website imaginable, AI technology has invaded every sector – business and beyond.

Types of AI

Unlike the applications of AI, which houses a wide array of elements within the field, the four types of artificial intelligence are the main categories that sift larger chunks of AI into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Reactive machines, limited memory, theory of mind, and self-awareness are four types of AI that encompass the systems and kinds of intelligence being used in various sectors. Currently, we sit somewhere between types I and II, with type I being the most commonly used AI system format.

Types III and IV are still somewhat of a reach, with IV teetering on pipe dream territory, but with the rapidity of such advancements in the past, who’s to say we won’t get there in our lifetime? 

four types of AI

Terms in AI

For every one word or phrase you fully comprehend in the seemingly endless glossary of AI terms, there are hundreds more to learn. Some AI terminology, especially for non-tech-savvy people, can sometimes make the whole topic of artificial intelligence feel inaccessible.

Imagine an endless series of drop-down menus on a webpage. You’d eventually get tired of hovering over the menus and give up, right? Despite this, there are many user-friendly components of artificial intelligence that make sifting through the jargon worth it. 

Applications of AI

While the term AI doesn’t provide any insight into what kind of applications of artificial intelligence actually exist, there are tech and business sectors – as well as other places – where AI is applied in the real world that are important to learn about.

Entertainment systems like Netflix, for instance, utilize artificial intelligence on a daily basis by applying big data to their systems to improve user experience. Another fun application of AI is computer vision, which helps systems process raw visual input (e.g. it helps driverless cars see and actually be able to drive on vehicle-filled streets!).

Benefits and risks of AI

As with anything, there are fears about the risks of artificial intelligence – some warranted...and others? Well, let’s just say that sometimes people are easily influenced by sci-fi horror stories.

Learning about the tangible benefits and risks of artificial intelligence can make even the most stubborn, opinionated person more open to seeing both sides and understanding how they affect certain business sectors and individuals.

Discover the Easiest-to-Use AI Platforms...

Have you fallen down the AI rabbit hole yet?

If you aren’t intrigued by artificial intelligence beyond your wildest dreams by now, then there’s no pleasing you. However, if you feel compelled to keep learning about AI so you have an arsenal of useful information to integrate in your business strategies and personal life, then Drinky the Robot and I say cheers to that! 

GIF of Drinky the Robot "cheers-ing"GIF courtesy of Motherboard.com

To keep reading about AI-adjacent content, check out: 

Rebecca Reynoso
Author

Rebecca Reynoso

Rebecca Reynoso is a Content Marketing Associate at G2. Her passion for writing led her to study English, receiving a BA and MA from UIC and DePaul, respectively. In her free time, she enjoys watching and attending Blackhawks games as well as spending time with her family and cat.