We hear a lot about artificial intelligence and its prowess. However, the way it works is often misunderstood. This article will help you to better understand the principles on which AI is based, as well as the issues related to its development.
What is artificial intelligence?
Artificial intelligence, AI, encompasses computer processes that simulate and reproduce the functioning of the human brain. Machines are programmed to acquire different information. The algorithms are developed according to certain rules of use that the computer systems gradually assimilate. Thanks to this, the machines learn to reason and draw conclusions. This leads to self-correction or action in response to given instructions.
- Weak or narrow artificial intelligence is when the algorithms focus on a specific task. This limits the capabilities of the AI, which sometimes, if not often, requires human intervention. Virtual assistants like Cortana and Siri are concrete examples.
- On the other hand, strong artificial intelligence is endowed with much more developed cognitive capacities. It is then able to find a solution in an autonomous way when faced with a situation that is still unknown to it.
What is artificial intelligence used for?
Artificial intelligence is developed to simplify our daily life since it relieves human beings of many recurrent tasks. Moreover, AI allows machines to perform tedious and time-consuming tasks by processing large volumes of data (Big Data) that arrive at very high speed. The applications are therefore constantly multiplying, here are some examples.
AI is used to refine commercial strategies based on consumer behavior: search history, regularly purchased products, average budget, purchase frequency…
Artificial intelligence can also be used to filter the results of online searches by order of relevance, based on the data provided by the user. This can be his location, the interests he communicates on social networks and any others informations that computer systems have.
AI is also used to generate subtitles and automatic translations in many languages. This contributes to the development of communication and multimedia on an international scale and simplifies access to information by Internet users from different horizons.
Individuals and professionals alike are taking advantage of personal virtual assistants that leverage artificial intelligence. These assistants answer questions, make recommendations and provide reminders, among other common tasks. In the same vein, AI is helping to develop connected solutions: ambient temperature analysis, identification of the shortest routes…
Artificial neurons are also being used to strengthen cybersecurity. Indeed, computer systems equipped with AI are able to detect threats upstream, to trace their source but also to identify response strategies that guarantee the security of recorded data.
How does artificial intelligence work?
The functioning of AI is based on different complementary axes. It is a multitude of processes that are constantly evolving.
Artificial neural networks
Human intelligence results from the interconnection between a multitudes of neurons. The same principle is applied to machines that should function like a human brain. To achieve such a goal, experts in the field have established complex equations that include an incalculable number of variables. All these equations are interconnected to each other to complete each other and enrich the data exploitable by the machine’s “brain”.
The artificial neural network is responsible for identifying the data that must be processed. Thanks to the equations created upstream, the machine is able to sort the information and extract those that are considered relevant. From there, the artificial neurons determine the appropriate outcome.
This process, which seems complex at first glance, takes very little time thanks to the performance of the algorithms integrated into the various forms of artificial intelligence.
Different ways of working in AI
The neural network previously mentioned is evolutionary in the sense that it progresses continuously. This is possible thanks to machine learning. In simple terms, the machine acquires new skills as it is stimulated. Machine learning consists in giving a certain autonomy to the computer system which learns to analyze data and to exploit them judiciously.
Machine learning requires human intervention. It is necessary to submit many data by diversifying them to the maximum to exercise the machine. The human must know the result in order to be able to make the necessary corrections to improve the AI.
Deep learning is derived from machine learning which is closer to the functioning of the human brain. The machine is equipped with several neural layers that allow it to analyze and interpret the data from another angle. For example, the machine will be able to determine that a file contains letters and recognize them before focusing on the text itself.
The Turing test
All artificial intelligence is subject to the Turing test, named after Alan Turing who created the concept of AI. The machine must pass various evaluations during which it must demonstrate its ability to think, react and interact like a human being. The test takes the form of a conversation. If the machine fails, it will be necessary to make the necessary adjustments and submit it to a new test.
Artificial intelligence is intended to be practical and revolutionary. While it is not yet capable of fully replacing human actions, it is developing promising capabilities that presage continued progress.