Buzzword: Artificial Intelligence

This week we are continuing our buzzword blog series with Artificial Intelligence.
AI has been making waves for quite a while now. It had been the subject of many a science fiction novel or film, the kind where machines have gotten so smart they rise against the human race. But in all honesty, the term artificial intelligence is nothing that should strike fear into your heart.

So what is AI really? The term is most often applied to any kind of technology that exhibits human intelligence measures, such as problem-solving and learning. In the field of computer science, it becomes more specific. It is used to describe any technology that is able “perceive” its environment, and take actions to maximize its chance of success. So what counts as AI? There are many possibilities, but it must at least be classified as able to recognize human speech, play complex strategic games such as chess, or interpreting complex data.
In fact, there have been tests devised to measure the capabilities of artificial intelligence. The most famous of which is the Turing Test, devised by the British computer scientist and World War II codebreaker, Alan Turing. Though AI then was nowhere near as complex as it is today in the twenty-first century, he designed a test in which a human evaluator was meant to have two conversations: one with another human and one with artificial intelligence. Turing theorized that if the evaluator could not determine which was human and which was AI, then the AI would pass the test. This not only measures the program’s capability to replicate human speech and reasoning but also poses the question can machines think?
And while AI might seem only to exist in the realm of high tech, that’s not strictly true. There are many websites and apps that allow us to interact with AI every day, such as Cleverbot and Google Quick, Draw! Cleverbot, which has had over 200 million conversations, is a derivative of the Turing test. Available as a web application and mobile app, it allows users to converse with an AI algorithm. Furthermore, it uses previous conversations to “learn” and replicate human conversation- all the while picking up new slang and introducing them into chats.
Google Quick, Draw! offers a different sort of AI. The purpose of this program is for users to draw an object picked at random by the software in 20 seconds or less. The purpose of this is helping to teach a neural network AI how to recognize and learn how and what human symbolize objects as. It’s fairly complex stuff for something that might at first appear as a glorified game of Pictionary.
So what does this mean for us lowly humans? Well, it’s unlikely that Artificial Intelligence will be taking over the planet anytime soon. The technology is still very much in its infancy, with near limitless possible applications in the future. Without a doubt, AI will change the world as we know it, and hopefully for the better.
If you want to see more AI web applications, check out



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