Artificial Intelligence for Dummies

Artificial intelligence (AI) is being mentioned all around us. Showing up in movies, books, casual daily conversations and on social media, one could say that it is a broadly used and understood term. But what is AI actually, and what are the basics everyone should know?

What is Artificial Intelligence?

The scope of AI is very vast and has many uses, from Siri on our phones telling us where to find the closest coffee shop, vacuum cleaners that clean by themselves, to human-like robots participating in game shows and AI programs making art or music. AI is basically the simulation of human intelligence inside a machine.
Being named artificial “intelligence”, people logically equate AI with something very intelligent. In the past AI started as more basic advancements of technical and computer processes, automating some jobs and helping process data, but it has reached very high levels today, being able to process and analyze thousands of information or photos in mere seconds, or perform more complicated tasks such as having an actual conversation and mimicking human behavior.
However, we also need to understand the current limits of artificial intelligence. Humans have many forms of intelligence, including logical and mathematical but also emotional, interpersonal, creative and others. AI is able to do some things as well or better than humans, but only in certain intelligence fields, such as mathematical, and can’t compete with us in the areas like emotion or creativity, where even we don’t completely understand where these aspects come from and how they work.

Is AI always something extremely advanced?

We need to beware of the use of the “AI” label today. Even though it does mean intelligence, there can be an overuse or misuse of the term for promotional purposes. The general correlation of AI with “smart” and the mere basic knowledge people have about the vast abilities of AI right now leads to a lot of regular technology in our daily lives being promoted as having great AI, such as phones and cameras. And while this is true since the gadgets do have more advanced abilities than ever before, and can enhance our photos and videos or help us in other areas, this is also used as a marketing tool to attract more attention. We need to understand the basics of AI and where it came from in order not to be fooled by the label of AI on items that are now quite widespread and used in everyday life. AI can mean super advanced programs and technologies, but today it is also a part of most everyday tech items. Some of the confusion about AI also comes from the fact that AI is not ONE thing. There exists a whole range of AI technologies that can do a lot of different things. This is also the reason why there is not ONE commonly shared definition of AI, as it can not be so easily classified.

So how should we approach AI?

We are living in the age of fast digital transformation and constant innovation. AI has been here for a long time to help us enhance and speed up many processes, but it is reaching new heights every day. We need to be aware of how AI evolved and how we can work with it to make our lives better and make our jobs more efficient. AI is not a replacement of human intelligence that will one day overtake us, but an amazing tool we should use and respect in order to reach solutions that might not be possible without it. From simple everyday programs on our phones to amazing robots with unbelievable capabilities, the world of AI is all around us, ready to be explored by anyone who is interested in it.