AI (pronounced AYE-EYE) or artificial intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. These processes include learning (the acquisition of information and rules for using the information), reasoning (using the rules to reach approximate or definite conclusions), and self-correction. Particular applications of AI include expert systems, speech recognition and machine vision.

AI was coined by John McCarthy, an American computer scientist, in 1956 at The Dartmouth Conference where the discipline was born. Today, it is an umbrella term that encompasses everything from robotic process automation to actual robotics. It has gained prominence recently due, in part, to big data, or the increase in speed, size and variety of data businesses are now collecting. AI can perform tasks such as identifying patterns in the data more efficiently than humans, enabling businesses to gain more insight out of their data.

Types of artificial intelligence

  • Type 1 : Reactive machines

    An example is Deep Blue, the IBM chess program that beat Garry Kasparov in the 1990s. Deep Blue can identify pieces on the chess board and make predictions, but it has no memory and cannot use past experiences to inform future ones. It analyzes possible moves — its own and its opponent — and chooses the most strategic move. Deep Blue and Google’s AlphaGO were designed for narrow purposes and cannot easily be applied to another situation.

  • Type 2 : Limited memory

    These AI systems can use past experiences to inform future decisions. Some of the decision-making functions in autonomous vehicles have been designed this way. Observations used to inform actions happening in the not-so-distant future, such as a car that has changed lanes. These observations are not stored permanently.

  • Type 3 : Theory of mind

    This is a psychology term. It refers to the understanding that others have their own beliefs, desires and intentions that impact the decisions they make. This kind of AI does not yet exist.

  • Type 4 : Self-awareness

    In this category, AI systems have a sense of self, have consciousness. Machines with self-awareness understand their current state and can use the information to infer what others are feeling. This type of AI does not yet exist