If I asked you to describe the first thing that pops into your head if I said Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), what would it be?  Do you imagine a world where the machines take over the planet like Skynet in the Terminator movie series?  Or maybe something simpler like when you ask Siri, on your iPhone, or Alexa, on your echo speaker, what the weather will be like today?

History

Regardless of what first pops into your head, most of you probably imagine a world where a machine thinks and acts like a human autonomously.   In reality, A.I. is a computing device that can mimic human thought and decision-making ability.  The device can perceive its own environment and act on its own to reach the goal.

The field of A.I. has been around since 1956.  The field was built upon the idea that human intelligence “can be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it.” Taken from a Dartmouth College research project during at the time.  There is an extensive list of A.I. research that includes: reasoning, knowledge, planning, learning, and perception.  Using approaches and tools like:  statistics, probability, economics, mathematics, psychology, and neuroscience.

Basics

A.I. in its simplest form is gathering data points, recognizing a pattern, then act upon the pattern to achieve the desired result.  If you are on Facebook you already see the results of this with the ads in your news feed.  Facebook has so many data points on you and your interests that when a company places an ad buy, Facebook knows which audience to serve the ad to.  And then over a period of time as the ad is being delivered and people respond, Facebook will fine-tune the audience to similar types of people that will find the ad relevant.  Afterward if the company chooses to run another ad buy it can select what is called a lookalike audience.  Lookalike audiences are brand new people that share similar traits (data points) as existing customers.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is going thru a renaissance now with advances in A.I. Cloud-hosted security programs can now detect irregular patterns in data traffic that represent a variety of new types of viruses or intrusions relatively on the fly.  Within in a couple of hours, a new zero-day virus will be automatically stopped in its tracks from spreading and the rest of the computer network protected from infection as the system is continually learning.  Stopping a new threat like this may take days to resolve if not longer and that’s if it was detected in the first place.

Self-Driving Vehicles

The biggest change we will see in our day to day life in the next couple of years will be self-driving cars.  Autonomous vehicles have been getting a lot of main stream media attention with leaps in technology by Google, Tesla, and Uber.  This is a field that has been running experiments since the 1920s.  You read that right.   Virginia and Washington D.C. have allowed autonomous car testing on public roads since 2015.  The A.I. involved for driverless vehicles includes sensors to detect the vehicles environment, tracking other objects around the vehicle, GPS positioning, even visual object recognition.

The computer in the car must interpret all those data points and continually make its own decisions to get from point A to point B while monitoring other traffic around them, unexpected obstacles like a pedestrian or a child that loses a ball in the street, and follow the general rules of the road.  Not quite android level, but getting there.

“Original” Content Creation

And most recently the release of ChatGPT that has been described by as “the calculator for English” can easily mimic humans in writing essays, blogs, tweets, you name it.  Be warned, not always accurately, but confidently wrong.  And other A.I. are tools, such as Mid-Journey, allow non-artists to create new images just by typing out what they would like to see and have the tool create the image automatically in just a few seconds.

As computing power increases the advances in A.I. will also make huge strides.  Honestly, a show of hands, who wouldn’t prefer to sleep on their commute to work in the morning or stream a show that Netflix A.I. recommends to you instead of fighting road rage-inducing traffic anymore?

Bring it on!

 

You can find John Barker linkedin.com/in/johnbarker78 or twitter.com/johnbarker78

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John Barker

John Barker

John has over 25 years of technology experience and earned a Bachelor’s in Business Management & MBA.  He also holds CISSP and PMP certifications.

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