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What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

6 months ago by Andrea Amato

In computer science, AI refers to the mimicry of human intelligence exhibited by machines, robots, and computers.

AI stems from a branch of computer science whereby machines and applications alike are designed to perform tasks that require human intelligence to complete. In other words, it applies processes such as decision-making, problem-solving, and learning as would a human being. As AI can be applied to a number of smart machines, it is considered an interdisciplinary science that applies a variety of practical approaches for a variety of software developer jobs in Malta and worldwide.

How does AI work?

At its core, AI is tasked to simulate human intelligence and perception. As it is an expansive technology, the definition of AI is widely disputed. As a consensus, AI is defined by its rationale towards adopting human processes, including:

• Learning from past examples and experiences
• Recognising objects
• Understand and respond to a common language
• Decision-making
• Problem-solving

Aside from these, AI is often expected to combine the above capabilities to influence other performance roles as a human would. The sudden availability of large quantities of data and technological advancements has left AI the responsibility to efficiently manage data better than a human could. Its technology is what allows your smart home appliances to speak to you, are responsible for self-driving cars, among other unimaginable inventions, leaving a diverse field for computer software engineers and developers alike.

Types of AI

AI can be confusing and complex to understand due to its wide applicability in technology. Anything that is made to resemble human intelligence, be it a large, engineered robot or simple phone application, is considered AI. Regardless of the machine’s complexity, commonalities in AI persist within simulating human processes.

Machine Learning

Machine learning (also known as machine learning models) is a subset of AI where an application learns to perform tasks by itself. In performing, machines learn from experiences, in that they regenerate new decisions to perform and execute a task more efficiently.

In mimicking human intelligence, machines learn through neural networks; an algorithm designed to model human thought processes and perception. Simply put, neural networks are made up of the following:

• An input level where data enters the network
• At least one hidden level where input data is processed and apply weights, biases, and thresholds
• An output level which exhibits data performed by the machine, with various degrees of confidence

The complexity of an algorithm (among other factors) can be viewed depending on the number of hidden levels within a neural network. Algorithms featuring many hidden levels displays a deeper learning machine than an algorithm with only one hidden level. Humans can oversee machine learning, and this is known as supervised learning, a key role in some IT jobs in Malta where some learning takes place through human intervention.

Deep Learning

Deep learning is a subset of machine learning in that specific tasks are performed with greater accuracy without the need for human intervention. What differentiates deep learning from machine learning is that their neural networks are more complex. These are known as deep neural networks; multiple hidden layers are included to perform specific tasks. This allows for greater confidence in data output, in that decisions made are more refined.

For more sophisticated technologies developed by software engineers, such as facial recognition systems, deep learning is preferred over simple machine learning. In other words, the “deep” in deep learning refers to the intricate depth of neural networks. These are typically referred to as such when there are more than three layers. Deep learning and machine learning differ in the way they learn, in that deep learning automates a lot of the learning process, removing the need for human intervention.

Common examples of AI today

Although AI can virtually be seen everywhere especially due to work from home and remote jobs, it is worth understanding common AI applications that have existed within technology for a while.

• Neural language processing (NLP): AI is used to help interpret and understand human language, such as in applications Apple’s Siri or Google’s Alexa
• Speech recognition: AI recognises spoken words and converts these into digital text. For example, software that allows you to speak, rather than type out a message on your phone
• Image recognition: Technology that can recognise images, objects, humans, among others. Self-driving cars utilise this AI
• Household appliances: Software developers create robots such as vacuums, and these apply AI to help track room size and obstacle avoidance

The above portrays a simple overview of what AI entails in today’s technological society. It’s complex and diverse applicability can help create a better user experience for a myriad of technologies, leaving it as prominent and important to adopt in technology now more than ever.