Artificial intelligence (AI)

Ciaran Burke

Page written by AI. Reviewed by Ciaran Burke on February 28, 2024.

Definition

Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines, enabling them to perform tasks that typically require human intelligence. 

What is artificial intelligence?

AI includes a broad range of techniques, algorithms, and technologies aimed at replicating or augmenting human cognitive abilities.

There are various subfields within AI, including:

  • Machine learning: Machine learning involves the development of algorithms that enable computers to learn from data and make predictions or decisions without being explicitly programmed. 
  • Natural language processing (NLP): NLP focuses on enabling computers to understand, interpret, and generate human language.
  • Computer vision: Computer vision involves developing algorithms that allow computers to interpret and understand visual information from images or videos.
  • Robotics: Robotics combines AI with mechanical engineering to create intelligent machines capable of performing physical tasks.
  • Expert systems: Expert systems are AI systems that imitate the decision-making ability of a human expert in a specific domain. 

AI technologies are increasingly being integrated into various sectors and industries. They are driving innovation, automation, and efficiency, transforming how businesses operate and how people live and work.

While AI offers numerous benefits it also raises ethical, social, and economic concerns. Issues such as job displacement, bias in algorithms, data privacy, and the impact on society require careful consideration and regulation as AI continues to advance.

Example of artificial intelligence 

A virtual assistant, such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri, uses artificial intelligence to understand and respond to voice commands or queries from users. When a user asks a question or issues a command, the virtual assistant processes the speech input, recognises the intent, and generates a relevant response or action. For instance, a user might say, “Alexa, what’s the weather forecast for today?” The AI-powered virtual assistant then accesses weather data, interprets the request, and provides the user with the current weather conditions and forecast for their location.

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