An artificial intelligence software definition: once confined to science and the movies, today’s Artificial Intelligence is in your pocket, on your computer and coming soon to a variety of devices and technologies that you use every day. What does artificial intelligence really mean?
The term itself was coined by Dartmouth College’s John McCarthy in 1955 in a proposal to university researchers for its summer research project on AI. According to the cognitive scientist Marvin Minsky, one of the field’s most famous practitioners, AI is “the science of making machines do things that would require intelligence if done by men.”
In practice, artificial intelligence – also simply defined as AI – has come to represent the broad category of methodologies that teach a computer to perform tasks as an “intelligent” person would. This includes, among others, neural networks or the “networks of hardware and software that approximate the web of neurons in the human brain” (Wired); machine learning, which is a technique for teaching machines to learn; and deep learning, which helps machines learn to go deeper into data to recognize patterns, etc. Within AI, machine learning includes algorithms that are developed to tell a computer how to respond to something by example. Deep learning is a type of machine learning that uses a structure as close as possible to the human brain—neural networks—as a model for learning. As to what it does, I’ll leave that to the MIT Technology Review: “Deep-learning software attempts to mimic the activity in layers of neurons in the neocortex, the wrinkly 80 percent of the brain where thinking occurs. The software learns, in a very real sense, to recognize patterns in digital representations of sounds, images, and other data.”
In the movies, we’ve seen AI depicted as both good and evil (but mostly not good), in supercomputers (HAL 9000, Colossus and Skynet to name a few) and in robots (the Machines, Sonny and ED-209). Thanks in part to the availability of large amounts of information/big data, today’s AI is at work in a variety of applications that are less science fiction and more oriented to solving business problems and charting new territory. In Rolling Stone, tech entrepreneur Jason Calcanis calls AI the new buzzword: “You just use the phrase ‘Artificial Intelligence’ in your business plan and everyone pays attention.” In fact, the AI sector attracted $310 million in funding in 2015, up from $45 million in 2010, according to research from CB Insights.
Artificial intelligence software definition and applications
Artificial intelligence software definition: “Software that is capable of intelligent behavior.” In creating intelligent software, this involves simulating a number of capabilities, including reasoning, learning, problem solving, perception, knowledge representation.
Today, Artificial intelligence software is at work in applications such as your smartphone assistant, ATMs that read checks, voice and image recognition software on your favorite social network, and in the software that serves up ads on many of the websites you use. These are just a sample of the growing number of applications of artificial intelligence software that we’ll see in the future.